At Anglesey, it is our aim to equip children with the necessary skills to become independent and creative writers. Our writing curriculum is delivered through the Talk for Writing model which gives children an understanding and control of different writing styles. Children are exposed to a range of texts and given regular opportunities to write stories, poems and pieces of non-fiction in a fun and engaging way.
Talk for Writing
Talk for Writing is delivered from EYFS to Year 6. It is a powerful model because it enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally and become familiar with text structures before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version. The Talk for Writing model builds on three stages of writing: Imitation, Innovation and Independent Application.
Before a writing unit begins, pupils complete a cold write (a first go at the writing without any help) - following a picture or video stimulus, the pupils complete a piece of writing that allows teachers to assess their pupils’ current understanding of specific features of writing. For example, they may use the cold write to determine how well the children can create suspense. Teachers then use this information to plan and pitch the upcoming unit accordingly.
Each writing unit begins with an experience which is designed to establish a creative context and an engaging start. A typical Talk for Writing unit would begin with the children orally rehearsing an exemplar text which allows them to internalise the structure of the text and the pattern of the language required. This is always supported visually by a text map and actions to help the children recall the story or piece of non-fiction. In this way the children hear the text, say it for themselves and enjoy it before seeing it written down. Once they have internalised the language of the text, they are in a position to read the text and start to think about the key ingredients that help to make it work.
Once the children have internalised the text, they are then ready to start innovating the original text. Younger children and less confident writers alter their text maps and orally rehearse what they want to say, creating their own version by substituting words and phrases. More sophisticated innovations include additions, setting changes, flashbacks, prequels and changing the viewpoint. The key activity in this stage is shared writing, helping the children to write their own by “doing one together” first. This could begin with using a boxed-up grid (innovating on the exemplar plan) to show how to plan the text and then turning the plan into writing. This allows the children to see how you can innovate on the exemplar text and select words and phrases that really work.
Demonstrating how to regularly read your work aloud to see if it works is important during this stage. This process enables the children to write their own versions through developing their ability to generate good words and phrases. These words and phrases can be put on display, alongside the shared writing, so that when the children come to write they have models, words and phrases to support them. Throughout the shared writing, the children should be strengthening the toolkit so they start to understand the type of ingredients that may help. During this stage, children are encouraged to reflect on their writing and given opportunities to edit and improve their work.
Following the innovation stage, pupils are now ready to independently apply the skills and toolkit features they have acquired during the unit. A fresh stimulus is given by the teacher and children are given time to generate and develop ideas before planning a piece of writing that follows the structure of the exemplar text. Once the planning stage is complete, children complete their hot write (independent piece of writing) At the end of this stage, pupils reflect on their work and assess the progress they have made during the unit.