We teach writing through Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’ approach. Talk for Writing is used to teach fiction, non-fiction and poetry through a multisensory approach. There are three main stages:
IMITATION – familiarisation
This involves retelling a story or text until it can be told fluently. It also involves analysing the text and understanding the structural and language features.
INNOVATION – adapting the text
This involves using the model from the ‘imitation’ phase and developing the text even further.
INDEPENDENT APPLICATION – creating your own text.
This involves building up a new story or text independently and applying the features taught throughout the unit.
To support this we use a range of high quality texts, some of which are linked closely to our curriculum topics to engage all pupils and allow them to write for a purpose.
We strongly agree with the statement by James Britton that ‘Reading and writing float on a sea of talk’. We are ‘Vocabulary Ninjas’ and introduce and explore new words daily, and all adults use aspirational vocabulary when talking to children – ‘never dodge a good word’, Our lessons, English and across the curriculum, are drenched in vocabulary – the introduction of new words, the discerning gathering of wordbanks, practise and application. Every class from Y2 upwards has thesauruses and dictionaries on tables during lessons and the children are encouraged to use them to enrich their writing. We encourage the correct use of Standard English.
Spelling: We are Spelling Stingers! Our Spelling programme has a wasp theme, to link to our local rugby team Wasps. We launched this initiative to raise the profile of spelling with a visit from the rugby mascot Sting himself! Each week there is a taught spelling focus in lessons which follows the NC Appendix of spelling rules, and teach Common Exception Words. Every child has a Spelling Journal where they practise their spellings at home, ready for their weekly test. The Journal includes advice for parents and ideas on how to learn rules and words. The class with the highest weekly average score wins a prize. Within written work, teachers identify three spelling errors for children to correct.
Grammar, punctuation: Grammar and punctuation are taught within lessons, through direct teaching and within the modelling of writing. Teachers use our NC-aligned Grammar trackers to ensure progression. Every class has the appropriate Grammar tracker displayed for quick reference. We have high expectations of correct grammar and punctuation and this is reflected in the marking of work.
Handwriting: we teach handwriting using the Nelson Handwriting scheme, with correct letter formation as the initial focus, leading to the introduction of cursive handwriting in Y2. We teach specific lessons every week with practise time. For those children for whom handwriting presents difficulties, we provide small group handwriting activities using warm-up techniques.