The use of engaging, relevant and high quality texts is central to our writing curriculum. These act as stimuli for children to develop and extend their writing skills. Children write for purpose wherever possible on a theme linked to their half termly topic, and they complete writing activities both within English lessons and in the wider curriculum. Again, the class text supports the children in their writing. The ‘Talk-for-Writing’ approach ensures that our children are fully immersed in learning. Each text type is taught in three distinct phases as explained below.
The Imitation Stage
|The class begin by ‘warming up’ to the tune of the text with creative and interactive activities that will help children internalise the pattern of the language required. This is then followed by learning and acting out an example text, supported visually by a text map and physical movements to help the children recall the story or non-fiction piece. In this way the children hear the text, say it for themselves and enjoy it before seeing it written down.
Once they have internalised the language of the text, they are in a position to read the text and start to think about the key ingredients that help to make it work. This stage often includes a range of reading as-a-reader and as-a-writer activities.
A range of techniques are then used to help children to analyse the features that have helped to make the text work. In this way the class starts to construct a ‘toolkit’ together for this type of text so that they can talk about the ingredients themselves – a key stage in internalising the toolkit in their heads.
The Innovation Stage
|Once the children have internalised the text, they are then ready to start playing around with the pattern of the text. Pupils complete warm-up activities focused around key words and phrases of the text type. Activities such as these support children with the development of their own ideas. Younger children and less confident writers alter their text maps and orally rehearse what they want to say, creating their own version.
The key activity in this stage is shared writing, helping the children to write their own by “doing one together” first. This allows the children to see how you can innovate on the exemplar text and select words and phrases that really work. This process enables the children to write their own versions through developing their ability to generate good words and phrases.
Once they have finished their own paragraph/s children should be encouraged to check their work and polish it in light of feedback given and class discussions.
The Invention Stage
|This stage focuses on the next steps needed to support progress so the children can become independent speakers and writers of this type of text.
There may be more shared writing on a related topic and then the children can have a go themselves on a related topic of their own choosing. Typically, teachers work with the children to set ‘tickable targets’ which focus on aspects that they need to attend to. A significant amount of time is devoted to editing and improving writing, followed by an opportunity to polish (present) their work.