Exeter Extending Literacy (EXEL)

Directors: David Wray and Maureen Lewis

This 1990s project produced ways of helping primary school teachers develop KS1 and KS21 pupils’ reading and writing skills, scaffolding writing using joint text construction and writing frames. They developed strategies for helping pupils to interact with non-fiction texts.

The approach built on Australian work in classifying literary genres, focusing on the non-fiction genres of recount, non-chronological report, explanation, instruction, persuasion, and discussion.


The work of the team was incorporated into the National Literacy Strategy. The EXEL approach became an integral part of the Literacy Hour in every primary school in England without further Nuffield assistance.

However the focus on helping pupils develop their reading and writing skills tended to be confined to the Literacy Hour where contexts such as history were used. Other subject areas continued to focus on the content of their subject rather than how pupils would access and present information.