Reading more non-fiction texts teaching pack

Last updated: 15/11/2023
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If you loved our GCSE teaching pack Reading non-fiction texts, then try our follow-up pack – Reading more non-fiction texts.

This 20-lesson pack is full of practical and creative lesson ideas to support your KS4 students with analysing and decoding language. It features texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries and looks at themes such as technology, poverty, imprisonment, travel and censorship.

'Practising a range of different approaches to close analysis, especially when comparing texts, can help students get to grips with the skills they will need in the exam. Also, choosing from such a variety of interesting texts can really draw students in to imagining, for example, how awful life must have been for the poor living in 19th century London … or the grim practicalities of being held captive in 1980s Beirut.’

Linda Newton, writer

The pack includes exam-style questions for all exam boards.

What's included?

  • 10 non-fiction text excerpts with a thematically linked ‘partner’ text
  • 20 lesson plans and ideas along with 51 bespoke resources
  • exam-style questions for AQA, Edexcel, OCR and WJEC Eduqas.

There are 10 text extracts, including articles, letters and essays, including A Passage to Africa by George Alagiah (2001), Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup (1853), An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan (1991), American Notes by Charles Dickens (1842) and The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell (1937).

What's inside?

Introduction (page 3)

Text 1: All About the Telephone and Phonograph by Alexander Graham Bell (1878) (pages 4-20)

  • Resource - Who invented what and when?
  • Vocabulary bingo
  • Understanding the text - PowerPoint
  • Marvels!
  • Resource - Word sorting
  • Resource - Which technological advancement excites you?

Text 2: ‘Tim Peake can be a catalyst for more UK space missions’ by Andrew Wade (2016) (pages 21-35)

  • Resource - Space race!
  • Resource - Meanings in context
  • Resource - Text analysis grid
  • Resource - True or false?
  • Resource - Facts and opinions
  • Resource - Text comparison grid

Text 3: ‘A visit to the cholera districts of Bermondsey’ by Henry Mayhew (1849) (pages 36-50)

  • Resource - Bermondsey - PowerPoint
  • Resource - ‘Life in the cholera districts’
  • Resource - Analysing techniques
  • Resource - Analysing an eye-witness account: group task

Text 4: A Passage to Africa by George Alagiah (2001) (pages 51-65)

  • Resource - Close look at the vocabulary
  • Resource - Characters in the text
  • Resource - Terminology quick check
  • Resource - Comparing the texts

Text 5: Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup (1853) (pages 66-81)

  • Resource - Creating empathy
  • Resource - Making a summary
  • Resource - Point of view in autobiography
  • Resource - Conveying the horror of the scene

Text 6: An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan (1991) (pages 82-96)

  • Resource - Finding meaning through structure
  • Resource - 'That most dismal of places’
  • Resource - Hostages in Beirut
  • Resource - Text purpose
  • Resource - Implied meanings
  • Resource - Language comparison grid

Text 7: American Notes by Charles Dickens (1842) (pages 97-112)

  • Resource - Facts and opinions
  • Resource - The men on the train (Boston to Lowell)
  • Resource - Charles Dickens: true or false quiz
  • Resource - Describing places
  • Resource - Describing people: Boston to Lowell
  • Resource - Describing a place: Cairo, Illinois

Text 8: The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell (1937) (Pages 113-133)

  • Resource - Fiction or non-fiction? - PowerPoint
  • Resource - Social and political observation
  • Resource - Creating atmosphere for the reader
  • Resource - Danger and pollution language analysis
  • Resource - True or false?
  • Resource - Analysing an eye-witness account
  • >li>Resource - Sorting, sequencing and comparing

Text 9: ‘A witch in the nursery’ by Richard Horne (1851) (pages 133-146)

  • Resource - Vocabulary time travel
  • Resource - Summary statements
  • Resource - ‘Taffy was a Welshman’
  • Resource - Writing to …?
  • Resource - Language techniques

Text 10: Letter from Kurt Vonnegut to Charles McCarthy, Drake High School (1973) (Pages 147-160)

  • Resource - Why was the book burned?
  • Resource - Structure of the letter
  • Resource - Sounding persuasive?

Example task from the teaching pack: 

Analysis grid for non-fiction text:

Features of the text

Ideas and evidence

What is/are the purpose(s) of the text?


Who do you think is the intended audience for the text?


Information and ideas in the text:

  • explicit – what does it say directly?
  • implicit – what suggested other meanings are there?


How does the writer use language to:

  • create effects?
  • influence the reader?


How does the structure of the piece affect your understanding?


What do you learn about the writer’s ideas, perspectives and attitudes?


Reading more non-fiction texts
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All reviews

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An excellent resource. Thank you.

Donna Henry


Looks fabuous and effective for helping student sto read nonfiction. Will use it next school year with pleasure. Especially important is the concept of paired texts and the possibility of aligning these to fiction texts.

Diana AuBuchon


Fantastic resource. Very useful. Many thanks,


Very useful for my tutoring, thank you.


Absolutely brilliant especially the texts and skills - using with students at all Key Stages. Thank you :)


This is a fantastic resource, super useful for helping students towards their GCSEs. Would you consider making one with unseen fiction in mind, such as in the OCR language GCSE?