Purpose of Study/Rationale
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
- transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
- Plan, revise and evaluate their writing.
It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions, as well as being taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition. Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.
How do we teach writing at Crossacres?
At Crossacres Primary Academy, we teach the expectations from the National Curriculum in writing as set out in our long term plans. Firstly, children are immersed in the different text types, becoming aware of the different features at word, sentence and text level. Grammar and spelling expectations are interwoven into English lessons as well as being taught discretely. We use strategies that include; modelled writing, shared writing, supported composition and writing partners to support children in their writing.
Secondly, we give a hook and purpose for their writing linked to learning in the other areas of the curriculum that engages them in their independent writing. Before the children write, we have different planning tools the children use from WAGOLL (what a good one looks like) and the ‘High Five.’ After the children have completed their writing, we also use a range of assessment for learning strategies to enable children to improve, review and edit their work. We use Peer Marking; this is where children mark each other’s writing with clear objectives.
The skills the children have learnt are then applied across the curriculum where children have the opportunity to practise these skills in different subjects. We see our English lessons as where we learn the skills to write and the foundation subjects as the vehicle to practise and embed these writing skills.
We ensure children are exposed to a breadth of different genres in their reading that gives the children knowledge of how different texts work. Children apply this knowledge into their writing, to produce a range of writing, across a variety of genres, including narrative; (e.g. extended stories, stories by the same author, myths and legends, adventure stories and traditional stories), non-fiction (e.g. persuasive texts, non-chronological reports, information texts, recounts, reports and letters) and poetry (e.g. rhyme, nonsense rhymes, shape poems, acrostic and descriptive poetry).
Genres are taught and learnt considering the:
Throughout each unit, the links between reading and writing are made explicit – we read as writers and we write as readers. The progress throughout each unit of work shows the transition between reading as writers (focusing on structure, characterisation, and language features etc…) to writing as readers (word play, describing, composition, planning, editing, revising etc…).
Integral to the process of writing is speaking and listening. ‘Talk for writing’ is essential to enable children to articulate their thoughts, retell stories, orally create new stories and orally rehearse what they are going to write and re-read what they have written. This underlines and runs alongside the writing process.
Good writers at Crossacres:
- enjoy writing and find the process creative, enriching and fulfilling;
- read widely, recognise good writing, and understand what makes it good;
- are aware of the key features of different genres and text types;
- learn about the skills of writing from their reading and draw (consciously or unconsciously) upon its models in their own work
- have ‘something to say’ (a purpose) and know how to say it for the specific audience;
- know how to develop their ideas;
- know how to plan and prepare for writing;
- make informed choices about what they are writing, as they write (for example, about vocabulary, grammar, text structure, etc.);
- understand how to reflect upon, refine and improve their own work;
- can respond to the constructive criticism of others.
Writing is taught in a range of ways:
The teacher talks aloud the thought processes as a writer. They model strategies in front of the children, communicating the strategies being used. Teachers may model writing skills such as punctuation, rehearsal, proof reading, editing, word selection, sentence construction and paragraphing.
This is a collaborative approach in which the pupils contribute their ideas and thoughts for the teacher to write. The teacher models and teaches specific writing skills and there is the opportunity for discussion to choose the most effective or suitable ideas.
The children work in pairs to provide the next sentence of the text. This may follow from the modelled or the shared writing process.
Pupils are grouped by writing ability. The teacher (or other adult) works with the group on a carefully selected task appropriate to that group’s needs and targets. This will focus on a particular aspect of the writing process rather than writing a complete piece.
Children have an English Jotter for their daily English work and an outcome book for their best writing at the end of a unit. Children write in their outcome books every two/three weeks, at minimum.
Children are given opportunities to apply their understanding of the text type in their own writing. They are encouraged to plan, draft, write, edit and assess their work, applying the skills they have learnt throughout the unit of work on that particular genre.
The teaching and learning of writing varies across the age range in school. In the early years emergent writing is encouraged through the use of different writing materials, including felt tipped pens, crayons, chalk, sand, magnetic letters, big brushes, water, paint and computers, as well as writing in the role-play areas, such as postcards, menus, invitations, labels etc… Alongside this, children take part in activities to encourage and develop gross and fine motor skills necessary to write in a legible script.
Daily phonics lessons build their phonic and spelling knowledge to enable them to sound out words and spell high frequency words correctly. Children throughout the year groups have spellings to learn relevant to their age, and these focus on high frequency words or a particular spelling pattern.
As children progress throughout the school, they are given many opportunities to write independently and to apply the skills they have learnt and practised in shared and guided writing. Wherever possible, writing is made meaningful by being planned for a specific purpose or in response to a particular experience.
Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation is planned and taught as an integral part of each unit of work. The objectives are carefully matched to the unit of work to enable them to be taught and learnt within a meaningful context.
From Reception to Year Six we teach the children to use a fully cursive script in their writing. We use the workbooks from Collins Handwriting Scheme. Each child has their own workbook to complete their independent handwriting exercises.