'If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.'
Martin Luther King Jr
Miss North and Miss Wilkinson are our writing subject leaders.
This is what they say about writing.
If I hadn't become a teacher, I would have loved to have been a journalist. Telling stories, either real or created from my imagination, is something that I have alway enjoyed. I think this stems from reading my grandfather's newspaper as a child and always being immersed in a book. Writing is part of our daily lives, from noting down a shopping list to composing a special message in a birthday card and working in Reception I get to see the children write simple phrases and sentences for the first time. Witnessing the pride they feel when they can read back their own writing is a privilege that I will never take for granted.
Writing allows us to communicate, explore our imagination, entertain, but most importantly, writing gives us a voice. We give our children a real purpose to write and inspire them to enjoy the writing for a range of genres and for their own pleasure. I love teaching children through our writing process and I am astounded (and entertained) by the wonderful writing of my class. It is a pleasure to teach in Year 6 because I see how the children have developed as individual writers throughout school.
Our Writing Curriculum
All pupils at St Paul's CE Primary School access the Talk4Writing programme devised by the author and educationist Pie Corbett.
The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with our teachers using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.
To view a synopsis of the Talk4Writing approach please click here.
At St Paul's we have created a yearly overview for the whole school from Reception to Year 6. We have selected 6 narrative genre types and 6 non-fiction genre types which all children cover over the academic year. Therefore, each half term you will see the same genre type being taught throughout the school. We have also allocated specific grammar focus' for each unit based on National Curriculum objectives for that year group and these are revisited during the year in both children's narrative and non-fiction writing.
Each unit is based upon a 'Model Text' which has been written by the class teacher. These are based upon a 'real' high quality book which the children have read previously.
To view the yearly overview for our narrative units please click here.
To view the yearly overview for our non-fiction units please click here.
The key phases of the Talk for Writing process, as outlined below, enable children to imitate orally the language they need for a particular topic, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version.
The Cold Task
Teaching is focused by initial assessment. Teachers use what is known as a ‘cold’ task. An interesting and rich starting point provides the stimulus and content but there is no initial teaching. The aim of this is to see what the children can do independently at the start of a unit, drawing on their prior learning. Assessment of their writing helps the class teacher work out what to teach the whole class, different groups and adapt the model text and plan. Targets can then be set for the class. By the end of the unit, pupils complete a ‘hot’ task which is an independent task on a similar type of writing. Progress should be evident which encourages pupils and helps school track the impact of teaching.
The Imitation Stage
The teaching begins with a creative ‘hook’ which engages the pupils, often with a sense of enjoyment, audience and purpose. The children are then introduced to a model text. The model text has built into it the underlying, transferable structures and language patterns that the children will need when they are writing. This is learned using a ‘text map’ and actions to strengthen memory and help students internalise the text. Activities such as drama are used to deepen understanding of the text.
To see a sample model text please click here.
To see a 'text map' based on the sample model text please click here.
Once the children can ‘talk like the text’, the model, and other examples, are then read for vocabulary and comprehension, before being analysed for the basic text (boxing up) and language patterns, as well as writing techniques or toolkits.
The 'boxing up' provides children with a basic structure for their stories and is used to plan.
To view the suggested 'boxing up' for each narrative genre in Key Stage 1 please click here.
To view the suggested 'boxing up' for each narrative genre in Key Stage 2 please click here.
Each unit also has a 'Toolkit' focus. These provide children with the writing techniques which will help them to develop their writing. The 'Toolkits' progress over the Key Stages and are built upon year on year.
The Genres We Teach
Rags to Riches - A rags to riches narrative is often used to describe people who begin their lives in extreme poverty and end up comfortable and wealthy, often through hard work or exceptional talent.
Fear Tale - A fear narrative tells the story of a character who has to face his/her fears and overcomes it.
Finding Tale - A finding tale tells the story of a character who finds something unusual, which causes a problem., The main character has to return the object to put things right , this results in everything being put right. the main character has also learnt a lesson.
Journey Story - A journey story tells the tale of a main character who goes on a journey and has to overcome a number of problems before the journey ends.
Conquering the Monster Story - A conquering the monster story tells the tale of the main character who is confronted by a monster who causes problems and who is hard to defeat. Eventually the main character is able to defeat the monster and all is well.
Character Change Story - A character change story tells the tale of the main character who needs to change part of his/her character, as he/she is always getting into trouble. By changing part this part of their character, everything ends all well.
Persuasion - writing to convince your reader that what you’re saying is true.
Discussion - writing different points of view on an issue, providing arguments for and against. It presents a balanced set of arguments without leaning one way or the other.
Recount - writing in chronological order about an event which has happened.
Information - writing information about a particular topic.
Instruction - writing a set of instructions explaining how something should be carried out or completed.
Explanation - writing a explanation so that the reader can understand how or why something is done.
Please click on the links below to see the Toolkit Progression documents for each narrative unit.
- Rags to Riches Tale - Openings and Endings Toolkit - Progression Document
- Fear Tale - Suspense Toolkit - Progression Document
- Finding Tale - Description Toolkit - Progression Document
- Journey Story - Settings Toolkit - Progression Document
- Conquering the Monster Story - Dialogue Toolkit - Progression Document
- Character Change Story - Characterisation Toolkit - Progression Document
Please click on the links below to see the Toolkit Progression documents for each non-fiction unit.
- Persuasion Toolkit - Progression Document
- Discussion Toolkit - Progression Document
- Recount Toolkit - Progression Document
- Information Toolkit - Progression Document
- Instruction Toolkit - Progression Document
- Explanation Toolkit - Progression Document
All of this first phase is underpinned by rehearsing key spellings and grammatical patterns. Short-burst writing is used each day to focuses on the class targets identified from the cold task.
The develop of our children's vocabulary is also a key priority at St Paul's. In order to introduce and expose our children to more adventurous vocabulary we have created a vocabulary progression booklet for each narrative and non-fiction unit. These booklets are used by the children over the course of the half term as a point of reference whilst writing. Pupils are also able to refer to them in subsequent units across the year and when writing in other subjects.
Please click on the links below to see the Vocabulary Progression booklets for each narrative unit:
- Rags to Riches - Vocabulary Progression Booklet
- Fear Tale - Vocabulary Progression Booklet
- Finding Tale - Vocabulary Progression Booklet
- Journey Story - Vocabulary Progression Booklet
- Conquering the Monster Story - Vocabulary Progression Booklet
- Character Change Story - Vocabulary Progression Booklet
Please click on the links below to see the Vocabulary Progression booklets for each non-fiction unit:
- Persuasion - Vocabulary Progression Booklet
- Discussion - Vocabulary Progression Booklet
- Recount - Vocabulary Progression Booklet - under construction
- Information - Vocabulary Progression Booklet
- Instruction - Vocabulary Progression Booklet - under construction
- Explanation - Vocabulary Progression Booklet - under construction
The Innovation Stage
Once pupils are familiar with the model text, then the teacher leads them into creating their own versions. A new subject is presented and the teacher leads the children through planning. With younger pupils, this is based on changing the basic map and retelling new versions. Older children use boxed-up planners and the teacher demonstrates how to create simple plans and orally develop ideas prior to writing. Ideas may need to be generated and organised or information researched and added to a planner. Shared and guided writing is then used to stage writing over a number of days so that pupils are writing texts bit by bit, concentrating on bringing all the elements together, writing effectively and accurately. Feedback is given during the lessons so that children can be taught how to improve their writing, make it more accurate, until they can increasingly edit in pairs or on their own.
The Invention Stage - The Hot Task
Eventually, pupils move on to the third phase, which is when they apply independently what has been taught and practised. Before this happens, the teacher may decide to give further input and rehearsal. Children are guided through planning, drafting and revising their work independently. It is essential to provide a rich starting point that taps into what pupils know and what matters so that their writing is purposeful. Writing may be staged over a number of days. With non-fiction, children apply what they have been taught across the curriculum. The final piece is used as the ‘hot’ task, which clearly shows progress across the unit.
How We Teach Writing
Click on our documents below: