Writing

Aims

We follow the new English curriculum for writing to enable pupils:

  • to learn the main rules and conventions of writing English;
  • to explore how the English language can be used to express meaning in different ways;
  • to compose a variety of fiction and non-fiction writing, choosing the appropriate form and contents to suit a particular purpose;
  • to use the planning, drafting and editing process to improve and up-level their work.

Implementation

In the Early Years, early mark making is celebrated and encouraged to emerge as pupils become more skilled in pencil control and confident in their phonic knowledge. Children learn through play, speaking and listening activities, teacher modelling, group work and self-direction. The early learning goals for Communication and Language and Literacy outline what most children will be able to achieve in writing by the end of the Foundation Stage.

In Key Stage 1 and 2 the skills of writing are taught through the English lessons, following the new English curriculum. The writing will sometimes be factual, imaginative or based on children’s experiences. As children mature with their writing, they will be expected to write in various ways for different purposes and audiences. These may include:

  • Fiction – stories, diaries, play-scripts, letters, poems
  • Non-fiction – reports, recounts, explanations, instructions, arguments or persuasive texts

Writing is taught through 3 stages - ‘modelled, shared and guided writing’ which enables the compositional skills essential to independent writing to be broken down and ‘scaffolded’ in a progressively structured approach.

Modelled Writing – This is where the teacher explicitly models the writing process to the children. They talk about the language they have used and why and also how they have organised the text. Questions and discussions may be used to ensure the children are listening and understand. This process may also be modelled through Teacher Demonstration, where the same process takes place but the teacher ‘talks out loud’ the process whilst the children watch.

Shared Writing – During the shared writing process, the teacher will still scribe the words, but the children are now invited to contribute to the piece of writing. This may involve lots of discussion, questions and answers. In Supported Composition children may be asked to work individually or in pairs to practise the skills being taught on a whiteboard or large sheet of paper.

Guided Writing – This is the final step between teacher-directed and independent writing so in this stage the teacher uses prompts or clues to develop ideas and organisation of the text. The teacher can work with small groups or individuals to achieve this.

Independent Writing – This final stage of writing is where the children utilise ideas from shared writing to produce their own independent piece of writing. This stage still includes opportunities for children to share and feedback on their own and their peer’s writing.

Other writing approaches

Talk for Writing is an approach to teaching writing which enables children to imitate, analyse and learn the key language and text structure before writing their own version. It builds on 3 key stages:

  • Imitation - This is where the teacher establishes a creative context to help the children internalise the pattern of language required for a certain text type e.g. story, non-chorological report, letter, newspaper, poem. The teacher will select a good exemplar text and the children will learn this text off by heart, supported by a visual text map and physical actions. Once the children have internalised the text they can think about the key ingredients that help to make it work.

  • Innovation - Once the children have internalised the text, they are ready to start innovating on the pattern of the text. This could be as simple as changing the characters, setting or plot in a story, or adapting the event they are going to report on in a newspaper or non-chronological report. Sometimes it may be necessary to write one together first as a shared write with the teacher or teaching assistant

  • Invention - Now the children have learnt the features of the text type e.g. story, non-chronological report, letter, poem; they are ready to invent or write their own from scratch.

Talk for Writing is a pedagogy built into our English curriculum for teaching certain genres of writing and typically takes a 2 or 3 week cycle.