At Mere Green, we are committed to ensuring every pupil will gain the knowledge and skills to write independently, creatively and with purpose. This year we have adopted Talk for Writing across school.
Why Talk for Writing?
Talk for Writing enables all children to achieve and retain the skills to become proficient story tellers and writers (for more information see link for website below). Texts are internalised throughout oral practice in order to support all learners and scaffold where needed. It also gives opportunities for confident writers to flourish and use their own ideas and imagination often based on their own reading. This approach enables children to read and write for a variety of audiences and purposes, moving from dependence towards independence. The three main stages are outlined below.
The Stages of Talk for Writing
The teaching begins with some sort of creative ‘hook’ which engages the pupils, often with a sense of enjoyment, audience and purpose. The model text is pitched well above the pupils’ level and has built into it the underlying, transferable structures and language patterns that students will need when they are writing. This is learned using a ‘text map’ and actions to strengthen memory and help students internalise the text.
All of this first phase is underpinned by rehearsing key vocabulary and grammatical patterns. Short-burst writing is used to practise key focuses such as description, persuasion or explanation.
Once students are familiar with the model text, then the teacher leads them into creating their own versions. With younger pupils, this is based on changing the basic map and retelling new versions. Older students use boxed-up planners and the teacher demonstrates how to create simple plans and orally develop ideas prior to writing. Shared and guided writing is then used concentrating on bringing all the elements together, writing effectively and accurately. Feedback is given during the lessons, utilising iPad, so that students can effectively be taught how to improve their writing and make it more accurate. Teachers will also guide children to edit in pairs and independently, allowing students to contribute to the success of others.
Students will then move on to the third phase, which is when they apply independently what has been taught and practised. Students are guided through planning, drafting and revising their work independently. With non-fiction, students will apply what they have been taught across the curriculum.
Our Writing Curriculum
Spoken language is a prerequisite to literacy; therefore oracy is at the heart of our writing curriculum. In every lesson, children are given the opportunity to experiment with language orally to enable them to ‘tune in’ to the style of the text.
This begins in Early Years where children are immersed in a range of stories and nursery rhymes which they orally rehearse, explore and respond to. These foundations are built upon throughout our progressive Writing Curriculum which explores a variety of story types, non-fiction and poetry. We ensure progression each year by using the Talk for Writing Skills document which includes all national curriculum aims (see below). Each year, previous non-fiction and story types are revisited and built on to ensure retention and progression. This enables children to make progress every year and thrive as writers: children will know more, remember more and do more.
Within our writing curriculum, we use technology to enhance both the engagement of the pupils and effective teaching through a variety of apps on iPad.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar
Grammar and punctuation is embedded within units and taught in context for purpose and effect. Retrieval SPaG tasks are used three times a week to ensure retention and to support assessment. Additionally, a weekly spelling focus is taught, practised and tested, using the online platform Spelling Shed (year group overviews can be found below.)
We expect high levels of presentation across all pieces of work, and as such, we follow the Nelson handwriting scheme. We progressively teach children to form letters correctly using the following main joins:
· To letters without ascenders
· To letters with ascenders
· Horizontal joins
· Horizontal joins to letters with ascenders
Handwriting is assessed throughout the year using our bespoke handwriting ladder. This is to make the children aware of their next steps to become proficient in their handwriting.
In Year 2, if children show consistency in joining their letters accurately and neatly, they are awarded a handwriting pen. All KS2 children are provided with a pen; this is to promote pride and inclusivity for all writers.
See Handwriting ladder and Nelson Handwriting Reference Guide below.