Making planning personal!

Mike Gould

Planning is an essential step in the writing process. But it is one that learners often struggle with. It is easy to say, but harder to do! Besides, plans (whether ones provided by you or ones that students create) will vary according to the needs of the task and the level of the learner.

Here is a quick check list of six key points to make sure the sorts of plans students use are useful. And below, we have some downloadable planning sheets you can use with your students! 


My recommendation is to have four types of planning template ready. These can be summed up as:

Type Features Advantages
A Starter – linear Section headings/labels
Numbers to help sequence paragraphs
Writing prompts
Vocabulary bank
Less for the student to do
Builds confidence
Is more like a model essay
B Improver – linear Section headings/labels
Fewer or no writing prompts
Provides the basic steps
Gives some support
More independent
C Improver – palette Grid but no headings
Menu or palette of ideas and vocabulary
Gives a lot of content
Lets students decide the order to use it in
D Advanced – linear or non-linear Note area or diagram
Blank page
Student applies skills completely independently in the plan

Let us take an example of writing a personal or autobiographical account of a memorable funny moment. How would this look as a set of four plans in the style of those above? 

Download planning templates

Check these out and use them as you wish. These are just examples – you can tweak or amend them to suit you.

In the meantime, happy planning!

About the author:

Mike Gould is an author of over 150 books and resources for students and teachers. He has been a Subject Leader for English in two UK secondary schools, lectured in English and Education, and worked as an adviser for the National Literacy Trust and Office for Qualifications (Ofqual) in the UK. He is co-author of the Cambridge Grammar and Writing Skills series.