At Chandlers Field Primary School, we believe that it is vital that children are equipped with the skills to communicate confidently and eloquently. In accordance with the National Curriculum, we want pupils to develop a strong command of the written and spoken word, as well as a love of language and reading.
Children from Nursery to Year 6, receive English teaching every morning, covering a range of writing styles and skills. For our Nursery children this could begin by learning a Nursery Rhyme or song.
Talk for 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. We want our children to become independent speakers and writers of a wide range of types of text.
At Chandlers Field Primary School, from Nursery through to Year 6, we are using Talk 4 Writing in our English lessons. This enables children to imitate the language needed orally before reading it, analysing it and then the best bit: writing their own version. The Talk 4 Writing learning concept reflects the following pattern within a sequence of lessons:
- Cold Writing task: where children are given a prompt to write about, with very little adult input – this is to assess their knowledge and any gaps within the genre and shows the progress the children have made by the time they write the hot task.
- Imitate – Story map images of the text are drawn by an adult, the children actively learn it by heart along with actions for the images. The children love acting out the actions and find the visuals from the story maps really help them learn.
- Innovate – Children make changes to the text by sharing ideas, generating words and phrases.
- Invent – Children write their own version allowing them to use their own ideas within the genre of writing for their intended audience.
- Hot Writing task: Children create their own inventions
At Chandlers Field Primary School we carefully select the texts we use with the children so that they are age appropriate and engaging. Through building excitement in reading the children become active learners. We provide opportunities to teach end of year expectations for grammar, spelling, punctuation and vocabulary (appropriate for the writing genre) within all children's writing.
In addition to this the following aspects of writing also help the children to maximize their learning success throughout the Talk 4 Writing approach:
- Shared writing – the teacher models how to innovate and invent with the children, talking through their thought process.
- Boxed up plans - a method of segmenting the text which can be used throughout the process to enable children to plan their ideas and refer to the original text.
Check out the Gallery section on the website for Talk4Writing in action across the school.
Success for all - there is no 'ceiling' on learning
Scaffolding: story maps and actions enable all children to access high quality writing. The use of story maps in books offers less confident learners a guide to help them to innovate and invent. Less confident learners are encouraged to use the model text and to make changes based on this until they are ready to reach the invention stage.
Challenge: model texts embed sufficient challenge and opportunities for most pupils and are easily extended for more confident learners to venture further from the model text.
Learning Environment: flip chart paper is used and learning is presented on the learning walls for children to easily refer to. Their final written pieces of work are shared amongst the class and across the school.
In addition to our writing lessons, we develop pupils’ reading skills through reading sessions, where pupils may work in small groups to develop their word knowledge, comprehension and analytical skills. We want to encourage your child to not only be able to decode words and understand the meaning of a text, but to also ask questions of the text and to be able to infer meanings (“read between the lines”) - vital skills in the modern world! Studies show that reading, above all else, is the key to academic progress, we believe that by encouraging a love of reading, the more we open up the world of learning to our children.
Links to wonderful sites to help at home
100 best children's books
The BookTrust has a list of the 100 best books for children from the last 100 years: the ultimate booklist to read before you're 14. There are also wonderful ideas on reading with children.
Ideas and ways to help parents develop their child's communication, language, and literacy