We take a mixed approach to the teaching of writing in our school: Each term, pupils spend 3 weeks on a ‘Talk for Writing’ unit and the remaining weeks using humanities, science and most importantly, novels as the stimulus for writing.
Talk for Writing
During the Talk for Writing units, children are taught genre-specific texts in which they are encouraged to learn the text by heart before trying to innovate it and gradually apply more independent changes to the model until they can freely write on their own. The “Writer’s Toolkit” section of the sequence of lessons provides input on grammar, punctuation and sentence structures. Pupils are given opportunities to write independently throughout the unit through “short burst” writes but the most independent writing is produced during the ‘invention’ phase.
Imitation Phase - Pupils are immersed in a model text which is pitched just above the cohort. Pupils learn this text to learn the structure of the text genre, acquire new vocabulary, embed sentence structures and get exposure to the uses of punctuation. The imitation phase features:
Innovation Phase - Pupils move away from the model text. The model text provides the story line onto which they can hang embellishments and writing tools.
Independent Application - Pupils write independently, using the stimulus of the unit and skills taught through the previous weeks. The genre of writing could be the same or it could be different.
Invention - An opportunity for pupils to truly invent a text in the genre of their choice based off the stimulus.
Non- Talk for Writing Units
We have moved to a model of teaching 1 unit of talk for writing each half term with much more of an emphasis on teaching writing through immersion in high quality texts or writing linked to the humanities curriculum. Children are motivated and engaged to write and are able to draw on their knowledge of the class novels and picture books they are studying in their reading lessons. Likewise, pupils, having been taught a knowledge-rich curriculum in humanities, are able to draw on this and apply it to their writing in creative and interesting ways. Our pupils are given access to high quality literature from which they can write; write for meaningful reasons to understand purpose and audience; they evaluate, re-draft, edit and proof- read with the understanding that a first draft is only the beginning of the writing process; pupils peer edit and assess.
To view our whole-school writing currculum map, click here