Our teaching of English includes Phonics, Reading, Writing, Handwriting and EGPS (English, punctuation, grammar and spelling). Children in Key Stages One and Two have a daily writing lesson. Children in EYFS have a daily lesson that will feed into the writing curriculum, though the structure and timing of this will depend on the topic and the time of year.
This academic year, we have begun to use the Talk for Writing programme as a method of teaching writing in English lessons. It is founded on the ideas that children need to speak in full sentences to be able to write in sentences, and that children need to know the structures of texts well before they can write extended pieces. The Talk for Writing sequence moves through three sections:
Imitation: Children commit to memory and analyse a quality model text in the genre of the unit. Their oral rehearsal and performance help them to understand where sentences of different structures begin and end. They read their model text as a reader and as a writer.
Innovation: With their teacher, children alter their model text to create a new version. They generate ideas collaboratively and write with guidance to practise creating a text with their own elements. Vocabulary and grammar are taught alongside extended writing sessions.
Independent Application: Children move further away from the model text, making the text ‘their own’. They independently plan, draft, edit and publish their final piece.
Writing is always taught in the context of a rich stimulus, often (but not always!) from a curriculum area that the children have already studied or linked to a text that the children have already read. We do not make tenuous, topic-based links to writing: children need a solid understanding of what they’re writing about before they begin to write!
The requirements for English, grammar and punctuation are taught in writing lessons. Each lesson begins with a short grammar bite that recaps previously taught grammar or explicitly teaches grammatical ideas that don’t fit into longer writing units. Most of the grammar we learn is taught in the context of the larger unit of writing work. Children will practise grammatical techniques and sentence structures discretely and in short bursts of structured writing before applying their skills to longer, final pieces. Children continually see editing, redrafting and the craft of writing across a unit of work.
Spelling is taught discretely after children have graduated from the ‘Read, Write, Inc.’ phonics programme, following the long term plan provided by Spelling Shed.
Our planning for Writing includes the grammatical features for each unit, and suggestions about how teachers and pupils may wish to innovate their model texts. Over the course of the year, we will also include the linguistic features and authorial techniques beyond those prescribed in the National Curriculum.
For further information on the Writing curriculum, please speak to Miss Moran and Mr Asquith.