Writing at Shears Green Infant School
The programmes of study for writing at key stage 1 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
- transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.
The National Curriculum in England
Key Stages 1 and 2 Framework Document, Sept. 2013
At Shears Green Infant School we develop children's writing in a number of ways:
Talk for Writing
From Reception we use Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’. This encourages the children to talk about their ideas and the key features of different genres. The children learn texts in the first week using visual text maps as a prompt and then practice the texts by incorporating drama and games. They then ‘box up’ the text which acts as a plan for later independent writing. During the process the children are able to ‘magpie’ ideas from the original text that they would like to include in their own writing later in the week.
Following this, the children are then encouraged to change aspects of the original text to produce a new piece of writing. Again, the same procedure is followed; text map, boxing up, magpie key words and phrases, identifying key features etc.
In the final week, it is hoped that the children will have a secure knowledge of the genre and be able to produce a piece of work entirely independently.
We have found that the children are enthusiastic about this new approach and the results we have seen are very encouraging. This approach gives the children the tools they need to be able to write any genre confidently.
In EYFS, the children begin to learn the actions to stories that they listen to. They are able to follow a story map and will quite often begin to attempt their own story maps.
Talk for Writing is a daily activity in all reception classes. Please see the link below for an example of how a story is told using Talk4Writing actions.
Key Stage One
Children begin the ‘Talk for Writing’ process by internalising a text. This is done in a range of ways including story maps or paths, inventing actions for parts of the text and drama. The children learn the text by heart. They are able to identify key features of the text, sometimes independently and other times as a group or class.
Following on from this, the children then have to imitate the text they have learnt. They may make simple changes to the original text to alter it slightly. Once they have internalised the reworked text, they then use a story map or path to plan a story. This simply helps them to organise their ideas and acts as a plan for their writing towards the end of the week.
The final part of the Talk for Writing process is ‘innovation’. Over the previous weeks the children will have been equipped with the skills required for inventing their own text from beginning to end. They will come up with their own ideas and be able to record these via their own story map or path. They will then be able to produce an independent piece of writing showcasing their text.
Children in years 1 and 2 further develop their writing skills by studying books from the 'Power of Reading' programme. "Use high quality texts as models of rich language to shape and develop talk and enhance and enrich children’s writing." Power of Reading
In Reception children are taught to form their letters using the 'Read, Write, Inc' scheme. In terms 5 and 6 they are introduced to a cursive letter formation.
Children in years 1 and 2 have regular handwriting lessons where the cursive script is taught. They are encouraged to join their letters in all work.