At The Bishops’ we want all of our children to develop into thoughtful readers and creative writers. It is through the Talk 4 Writing approach that we believe we can achieve this. Through its multi-sensory and interactive teaching in enables children of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of story/text types. The various teaching methods include: listening to and learning texts and stories; taking part in drama and role play; drawing and story mapping; and collecting words and language strategies building their working knowledge of grammar. At The Bishops’ we are very enthusiastic about this approach as writing becomes a joint adventure between pupils and teachers.
Below are more details about what this approach entails and why we adopted it.
Talk 4 Writing enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. Through fun activities that help them rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style. Schools that have adopted the approach have not only increased their children’s progress but have found that both children and teachers love it.
Talk 4 Writing is powerful because it enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version. It build on three stages of teaching:
1) Imitation and Immersion - the children learn a text and the language they need
2) Innovation - the children adapt the model text with ideas of their own
3) Invention - the children create their own text using the language and skills that the model taught them.
During the initial 'imitation' stage of Talk 4 Writing, a text (fiction and non-fiction) is introduced and read to the children. Together they learn to tell the story off by heart. To help them remember the text a multi-sensory approach is used. They retell a text with expression and actions and use a visual story map to support their retelling. As children learn the text word for word, they build up a bank of interesting vocabulary, phrases and types of plot which they can then use in their own writing. The principle is that if a child can tell a story, they will be able to write a story.
Once the story is learnt, children are encouraged to adapt it. At this 'innovation' stage, children make the story their own. They could start with a simple change of character or for older children it may involve telling the story from a different view point. They will make changes to their story map and rehearse retelling their innovated story orally. They will then write out the innovated story in manageable sections and will receive feedback from the teacher. There is an opportunity to respond to this marking before they go on to write the next section. This very supportive and structured approach allows children to gain confidence and know what they need to do in order to get better.
The final stage is the 'invention' stage where the children use all the skills they have learnt to write an independent piece. There is the freedom to draw upon their own ideas and experiences, or they can 'hug closely' to the shared text should they need to.
Who is Pie Corbett?
The Talk 4 Writing approach was develop by Pie Corbett, an educational writer and poet. He is well known for promoting creativity in the classroom and has experience as a teacher, head teacher and OFSTED inspector. He regularly lectures on education around the world and the UK government consult with him as an educational advisor. To find out more click here.
The video below is of Pie Corbett explaining more about Talk 4 Writing.
We aim for all children to achieve a neat, legible style with correctly formed letters in a cursive font, eventually producing a fluent joined handwriting style. It is vital that children can write quickly, comfortably and legibly, as it is a skill needed in many curriculum areas. Children’s self-esteem is also heightened when they are able to take pride in their handwriting. All staff use cursive script as appropriate when modelling, marking or writing comments on children’s work. Shared and guided writing activities enable staff to model letter formation and handwriting and provide children with opportunities to practise skills. Handwriting is also taught in separate sessions on a regular basis to ensure it is given sufficient emphasis. We teach a continuous cursive style. This involves all letters beginning on the line and finishing with a flick. Children are then taught to join the letters.
Once a week we get a visit from the Pen Queen. She can hand out Golden Pencils to children who are clearly making an effort to improve their handwriting and Pens to those who are consistently writing in a fluent joined style.
Grammar is taught in context throughout all Talk for Writing (T4W) units using the T4W grammar progression document. From EYFS onwards, teachers use the correct technical vocabulary in their teaching to encourage the correct use of these terms by children. During Year 1 this builds into a class Magpie Book which stores models of the wonderful language they are using. From Year 2 every child develops their own “Writer’s Toolbox” in their Magpie Book in order to support themselves as independent writers.
Spelling is taught as part of a planned programme, following the requirements of the National Curriculum. In EYFS and Key Stage 1, phonic work is taught systematically from Reception to Year 2 using ‘Read Write Inc.’ Children will be taught:
For more information click here.
Throughout each year group spelling patterns, rules, technical words and the tricky high frequency words will be taught. Each teacher will use a variety of methods to ensure the correct spelling are taught, practiced and finally embedded within independent work. Teachers should recognise worthy attempts made by children to spell words but should also correct them selectively and sensitively.
In Key Stage 2 an investigative approach is taken to the teaching of spelling. A spelling lesson is given each week, followed by 2 to 3 short practice sessions so that children have the opportunity to embed new spellings. This will include the learning of the statutory word lists in the 2014 English curriculum, lists will be given each week to learn at home. Where necessary, some pupils will consolidate their phonic knowledge and skills from Key Stage 1 through structured intervention.
Please see the documents below for spelling coverage in each year group:
National Curriculum: English (DfE)
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English ensures that all pupils:
read easily, fluently and with good understanding
develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate