As a school, we are committed to the belief that our children will not become writers without a strong foundation in the spoken word. This permeates the whole curriculum and interactive teaching strategies are used to engage all pupils in order to raise reading and writing standards. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills in readiness for later life. Speaking and Listening is an integral part of planning and children are encouraged to talk before undertaking any writing tasks, through a range of strategies including; Think, Pair, Share, and drama techniques (freeze frame, thought tunnels, conscience alley, role play, hot seating etc.) etc.
Talk For Writing
It is our responsibility as educators to ensure our children are immersed in the rich world of story and information. Talk for Writing enables our children to imitate model texts (including through role play and drama), whilst internalising the necessary vocabulary, grammar and structures needed to become independent, competent and purposeful writers. Thus, we champion the teaching methods of Talk for Writing. Our methods and delivery of the English curriculum are underpinned by the values and methods of this process, right from Early Years to Year 6.
Christ Church CE Academy took part in the Primary Writing Project (2016-2018), which is a whole - school, cumulative and systematic process for teaching writing to help children become confident writers, who make accelerated progress.
“It is grounded in the processes of shared writing with a strong and systematic focus on securing the basics of handwriting, phonics/spelling and grammar in relation to what is needed for progress and the text type being taught. It is also founded on the principle that schools should increase the amount children read/are read to and establishing a very strong ‘literature spine’ which identifies key stories, picture books, poems and non - fiction which will be read and drawn upon and referred to when teaching writing.”(The Primary Writing Project Team- Pie Corbett et al: 2013)
Planning– The planning model of Literacy lessons at CCA follow the three I’s process of Talk for Writing: Imitation, Innovation and Invention. In doing this, the children are able to use quality, model texts to shape their own writing and encourage them to notice how others write and follow their lead. As we all know, all writers ‘magpie’ from one another and this is actively encouraged through the use of magpie books, where children note worthy examples of vocabulary, phrase etc. that can be kept and adapted later for their own work. This encourages our pupils to hone their skills of selection, needed for their own personal editing and critical self-reflection of their own writing.
It should also include clear learning objectives and success criteria (often created with the children as ‘toolkits’ for writing) to be shared with children at start and end of each session. There should be a high emphasis on teacher modelling and demonstration and shared writing to ensure pupils know exactly what is expected from them and a clear guide of what and how to create high quality writing. The ‘Talk for Writing’ model supports this modelling, scribing and supported composition process.
The main part of the lesson should include opportunities for all children to achieve through carefully differentiated tasks, be that by support, outcome or task. These tasks should also include a balance of independent writing and time spent with quality first hand teaching from the class teacher, through Guided Writing. This is a mini lesson taught by the teacher with a flexible group of children (of a similar need or focus) not merely ‘helping children with their work’. All staff should be knowledgeable and confident in age expected outcomes for their year group with support available from the Literacy Leader.