Seal Primary Academy is a storytelling school. We use Talk for Writing to teach our children.
Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. We teach all of our English 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. This enables them to choose the writer tools they want to use in their independent writing, which in turn helps them to develop their own literacy voice.
All of our writing is taught with a clear audience and purpose in mind.
In Talk for Writing there are three stages.
Stage One: Imitation
We begin our teaching with some sort of creative ‘hook’ to engage the pupils; for example in Year 2 they discover a magical dragon’s egg before beginning a unit on portal stories; in Year 1 they discover the Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch which they tuck into to introduce their defeating the villain story unit and in Year 5 they try out porridge Oliver Twist style to introduce their unit on wishing stories! This is followed by talking a model text supported visually by a text map and physical movements to help the pupils recall the story or non-fiction piece. In this way the children hear the text, say it for themselves and internalise it before seeing it written down. We then read the text together and co-construct a toolkit of the features which make this particular text type work. In this way the class becomes confident with the structure of the text and can think about using these tools in their own writing.
Stage Two: Innovation
Once the children are familiar with the model text, the teacher leads them into creating their own versions. A new subject is presented and planned. With KS1 and less confident pupils this is based on changing the basic map using post-it notes and orally rehearsing new versions. With KS2 and more confident pupils we use boxing up grids to plan new texts. The key activity at this stage is shared writing, helping the children to write their own by ‘doing one together’ first. This allows the children to see how you can innovate on the model text and select words and phrases that really work.
Stage Three: Moving From Innovation to Independent Application
Eventually, pupils move on to independently applying what they have been taught and practised. They are guided through planning, drafting and revising their work independently on a related topic of their own choosing. Typically, the teachers work with the children to set ‘tickable targets’ which focus on aspects they need to attend to. The final piece is then used as the ‘hot’ task, which clearly shows progress across the unit.
The English curriculum has been planned carefully to ensure both clear progression from Year R to Year 6 and clear progression within each unit of work taught. Each unit of work builds on prior learning (See curriculum maps). Models of excellence that include classic texts are used to constantly broaden children’s exposure to high quality literature and mastery of grammar.
For more information regarding Talk for Writing please visit the website www.talk4writing.co.uk.