The importance of writing in the curriculum
Writing is a key life skill, which enables children to express themselves, communicate with others and access all areas of the curriculum. It is a complex process which requires a command of sentence and text structure; grammar and punctuation; an ability to edit and evaluate both their own, and others writing; a knowledge of how spoken language translates to the written word; an awareness of purpose and audience across different genres; involves a competency in spelling and handwriting.
Our writing approach at Lydeard St Lawrence
At Lydeard St Lawrence Primary School, we aim for:
Talk for Writing
The Pie Corbett Talk for Writing and Storytelling techniques are used throughout the school as a model with which to teach writing. The principle of being able to speak their writing before writing it, is embedded through both fiction, and non-fiction writing and involves techniques such as story maps, boxing up ideas into paragraphs, as well as literacy games to develop vocabulary. All classes follow the structure of imitation, innovation, invention and independent writing, with all units of work to ensure progression. The Talk for Writing teaching techniques are used in poetry, fiction and non-fiction units of work. If you would like more information on Talk for Writing, please see the Literacy Subject Leader – Miss Margenout.
The Foundation Stage
Writing forms a central part of the Communication, Language and Literacy strand in the Early Years curriculum. We believe the foundation for writing is built on children’s oral work and children are encouraged to express their ideas at every opportunity throughout each of the Early Learning Goals. Staff model use of language and create opportunities for children to develop their talk in every lesson.
A wide range of writing materials are always available to children in the classroom and a specific role play area, which complements the termly topic, is used to provide a real purpose for children’s early writing. Children also take part in daily Read Write Inc phonic sessions and handwriting sessions. Children focus on handwriting patterns when first starting school, before moving onto the lower case letter families and capital letters. The reception class follow the whole school handwriting progression to support their writing.
In Reception, we recognise both the importance of the teacher acting as scribe on occasions, in order to create stories and the importance of children writing freely as emergent writers.
Key Stage 1
We continue to provide a wide range of opportunities for children to develop their writing skills. We ensure that activities are purposeful and linked to other curriculum areas, which provide contexts for children to apply their skills, endeavouring to ensure real audiences as often as possible.
Through the Talk for Writing techniques, an emphasis is still placed on children developing their oral skills as a pre-requisite to writing and the use of a wide range of speaking, listening and drama techniques are used to provide children with opportunities to explore and extend their talk as a preparation for writing.
We make clear links with children’s reading skills and texts are often used as a basis for developing writing skills. Children take part in text analysis activities in order to imitate others' work, before attempting work of their own.
A range of techniques are used to teach writing. Teachers plan for shared writing activities (using the teacher as a model and a scribe for the pupils’ ideas), guided writing groups (allowing staff to focus on particular objectives with different ability groups), and writing frameworks, which provide structure for the children as they begin to write in a variety of genres, as well as plentiful opportunities for independent writing. All children will complete a poetry, fiction and non-fiction unit of work each half term.
Children are involved in a daily Read Write Inc phonics lesson to aid the development of spelling which also feeds into English sessions. In Year 2, or when appropriate based on each child’s individual needs, children will start the ‘No Nonsense’ spelling programme which provides specific lessons based on the objectives and demands of the new national curriculum.
Key Stage 2
As in Key Stage 1, all children will cover a poetry, fiction and non-fiction unit each half term.
Whilst focussing on developing key skills, teachers’ planning also aims to make links across the curriculum and uses topic themes, as well as educational visits and special events, to provide real contexts for writing for real audiences. We recognise that where children see a purpose, they will be motivated and the quality of their writing will be enhanced.
In Key Stage 2, all children take part in daily Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar lessons (SPAG). The ‘No Nonsense’ spelling programme also continues to be used in Key Stage 2 to support each child towards the end of Key Stage expectations.
At Lydeard St Lawrence, we follow the cursive font from Reception to Year 6. We have a clear handwriting progression in place to support each child. Each child takes part in daily handwriting lessons.
Here is the link to a handwriting website. We use a lot of the resources to support our teaching of handwriting in school.
Half-termly literacy homework
This homework will support and build on your child’s learning in the classroom and develop their writing skills in a practical yet fun and creative way. This homework will reflect the Bloom's Taxonomy methods used in the classroom.
Blooms Taxonomy is a classification of questioning according to 6 levels thinking, ranging from higher to lower order. The red task starts with the knowing element and recalling key information, moving through the understanding, applying and onto the evaluating stages. Our ‘Rainbow Challenges’ provide learning opportunities for children in all of the Bloom areas of learning. This format allows children to be self-managers and take responsibility for their own learning- choosing their level of challenge.
A half-termly sheet will be devised by the class teacher and sent out at the start of the term. Your child will then have until the final week of that school half term to complete their challenges. They will then be expected to bring their completed challenges into the classroom to present to their friends. Parents will also be invited into class to celebrate each child’s efforts and perhaps even learn something new too! Our aim is for the children to be inspired by their homework and feel proud of their achievements.
Every week, children in Year 1 to Year 6 will be given a new set of spellings. They will have the whole week to practise these words and will be tested on the following Monday.
Your child will stick these spellings into their homework diary. However, just in case these words get misplaced, every half term, your child’s teacher will upload the word lists for each week to this page to enable you to access them.
Please see your child’s class teacher if you have any questions.