15 Outdoor Literacy Books, Packs and Downloads

16 January 2018 · 0 comments

in 10 Outdoor Ideas Series, Early Years Outdoors, Literacy Outdoors

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Often I am asked about resources for outdoor literacy. Thus it seemed to make good sense to put these into a blog post for anyone to access. It would be helpful, if you know of others, to get in touch so that the list is kept up-to-date.

Please note – this blog post is for information and awareness-raising so that you know what is out there to support your outdoor literacy work. It is not a recommended reading list or set of resources. Use your professional judgement to decide whether a resource is fit for purpose.


 1. Developing Early Literacy Skills Outdoors  by Marianne Sargent Published in 2015 – suitable for early years. This book has been less widely-publicised and is part of a series , which focus on literacy, science and maths outside.

2. Outdoor Literacy by Ros Bailey, Helen Bromley and Lynn Broadbent Published in 2006 – suitable for early years. A spiral bound book with 50 exciting starting points for outdoor literacy experiences.

3. Let’s Take a Story Book Outside by Ruth Ludlow Published in 2008 – suitable for early years

Exciting ways to promote outdoor creativity. I don’t know this one, but I presume it’s about using a story book as a springboard to other experiences.

4. Learning on your Doorstep by Isabel Hopwood-Stevens Published in 2012 – suitable for KS1

Stimulating writing through creative play outdoors with 5-9 year olds. It has six projects each with six outdoor sessions, ideally suited for a woodland but adaptable to other spaces. The themes include, amongst others, the Enchanted Forest, Celtic Life and Animal World. There is a springboard suggestion to begin each week, a suggested activity to take place in the woodland or outdoor space and ideas for writing activities back in the classroom. Many of the topics involve reading a simple story – which is provided – or receiving and sending messages to various imaginary characters. Most of the activities outside involve an element of reading and practical tasks such as making natural dyes from plants, creating story sticks and building mini shelters. I particularly enjoyed the behaviour advice where it arose as it painted a good picture in my head!

5. Literacy in Forest School – Self-published by Patrick Harrison. Most suitable for those developing early literacy skills in particular letters and sounds, EYFS2 and KS1. Beautiful, friendly, inspiring book with drawn illustrations.

6. Celebrating Nature by Gordon MacLellan Published in 2003 – suitable for primary school. This book is not easy to get hold of and is not strictly a book about literacy. However Gordon aka Creeping Toad’s ideas are creative and seeped in language. For me this book was the gateway into outdoor literacy with older children. Try Gordon’s website to purchase a book in the first instance.

7. KS1 Go Teach Outdoors and KS2 Go Teach Outdoors Published in 2017 – Author Unknown

This is a 64-page combination of literacy and maths activities for those who work in KS1 or KS2.  I have not purchased a copy of either but you can look inside each one on Amazon.

8. English in the School Grounds By Brian Keaney Published in 1993 – suitable for all primary

This is a really dated book but in many ways the first one published about using literacy outside. It would be brilliant if the publishers could do a 2nd edition that is up-to-date.


9. Poetry in Motion by Roger Butt and Juliette Green Published in 2003 – suitable for primary school

This is a CD of reliable outdoor literacy activities. You can get a free sample from TES.

10. Thinking Child – Over 100 Ideas for Outdoor Literacy Published in 2012 – suitable for all primary

This digital download is super for those who like structured lessons to follow. The suggestions are doable in a school playground. This is one that I show on my courses as it’s very different to my approach and therefore complements and extends what I do nicely.

11. Learning through Landscapes literacy downloads Published as and when, suitable for many age ranges from early years to early secondary. For many years, this national UK school grounds charity have produced lesson plans and ideas to help you with maths outside. Most are free to download, but some require you to be a member, which is less than £15 per year.

12.  Twinkl Published as and when, suitable for many age ranges from early years to early secondary. Recently Twinkl have produced more outdoor plans and activities which include literacy outside. Use the search engine to narrow down to what you are looking for.

Useful Resources

13. Tales in Your Pocket and Songs from the Wood – This CD and card pack is literacy rich. Created by storyteller and Forest School practitioner, Grace Banks, they collectively make a lovely addition to any outdoor educator or teacher’s backpack.


14. Wild About Learning – An Outdoor Literacy and Numeracy Pack for Years 1-6. Clear photos and illustrations and a range of suggested activities for each year group. Free to download, 90 pages (yay!)

15. Wildtime Learning – Free collection of resources, many very simple and doable in a range of subjects. Use the filter to find the literacy suggestions.

16. RSPB Outdoor Literacy Resources. Mainly for KS2 and KS3. Limited range but worth a quick look. Free



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