At Silverdale Primary Academy, Reading is prioritised as a key tool for life. We believe that a love of and an ability to Read is a key indicator of success in the future. We are determined to develop lifelong readers and effective communicators through the provision of language rich learning environments, systematic and creative approaches to teaching.
We believe that success in writing is partly determined by your experience of reading. A child who has heard many stories and is familiar with a wide range of conventions in different text types will be able to draw on them in their own writing. We aim to provide a wide range of high-quality model texts and a rich vocabulary, that pupils can accurately apply and creatively innovate from. Furthermore, we aim to provide frequent, purposeful and varied opportunities to write across the curriculum, enabling the children to make judgements concerning the tone, style, format and vocabulary appropriate to the audience.
Based on the National Curriculum, we teach writing using Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing approach, employing the three stages of imitation, innovation and invention to a range of non-fiction, fiction and poetry genres.
Our long-term English plan ensures that all genres are mapped out across each year group. High quality texts, linked to our class topics, current affairs, our children’s interests and needs, model the language, vocabulary, structure, punctuation and grammar that we expect our pupils to independently apply in their own speaking and writing. Our progression document carefully plans for progression in genres and toolkits such as setting, tension and characterisation. Basic skills and non-negotiables underpin writing in all areas of the curriculum.
We link our writing context to our curriculum topics, finding real life reasons for children’s writing to enthuse them with purpose; recent examples include letters to our governors and reports for a newspaper.
The three stages of Talk for Writing
1) Imitation – getting to know the model text really well:
All units begin with a hook for writing. The children complete a cold write, which is used to assess prior knowledge and understanding of the genre and to plan the next steps in the teaching and learning sequence. In addition, pupils are given personalised targets based upon their cold write. Through oral retelling of the model text, children internalise:
• memorable blueprints
• building blocks – character, setting, action etc
• syntactical patterns
• vocabulary e.g. conjunctions
• images in the mind
Children learn the model text word by word –sentence by sentence using actions and pictures to help them remember key vocabulary. Initially the retelling is led by the teacher - communal, leading to group story circles and then paired retelling of a story.
The children then read as reader. They read for meaning, finding out, for example, about any vocabulary that they do not understand. They discuss the ingredients of the genre and think about the effect on the reader and how writers create this. This enables pupils to co-construct with the teacher a writers’ toolkit of the conventions that they can apply in their own writing. Pupils magpie (steal) words and phrases that they can use or innovate in their own writing.
Then the children read as a writer and box up the underlying structure/pattern of the text.
2) Innovation - substitution, addition, alteration, change a viewpoint of the basic text pattern:
Once the children know the model text really well, they use the model text and boxing up plan to innovate/make changes to the original. During this phase, it is vital that teachers model the writing process and demonstrate the ambitious high standards expected of all children. Wherever possible explicit teaching of grammar, punctuation and spelling is taught through use of the shared text and modelled writing. Guided Writing and differentiated group work are also used to further consolidate and develop writing skills.
Moreover, we encourage pupils to plan, draft, ‘read back’, edit and revise their writing through the compositional process. Pupils use peer and self-feedback to edit and improve their writing.
When children have completed their first innovation of a text, they then independently apply the skills taught into a hot write. This is then assessed against their cold write targets.