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Writing

"Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this." Revelations 1:19

We are the Writing Ambassadors for 2023-2024.

At St. Antony’s we put great emphasis on writing as a skill for life. Enabling our children to develop into confident writers, who can adapt their writing to fit any genre or need, is at the forefront of our teaching.

 

We implemented the Talk for Writing approach to teaching English from November 2022. Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it.

 

Talk for Writing is an engaging teaching framework developed by Pie Corbett. It is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerful.

The Talk for Writing approach

The Talk for Writing approach enables children to imitate orally the language they need for a particular topic, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version. It is built on the 3I's:

1) Imitation - the children learn a text and the language they need

2) Innovation - the children adapt the model text with ideas of their own

3) Independent application - the children create their own text using the language and skills that the model taught them.

The movement from imitation to innovation to independent application can be adapted to suit the needs of learners of any stage.

Prior to the unit

Baseline assessment and planning – "Cold Task" 

Teaching is focused by an initial assessment of what the children can already do in the form of a cold task. The aim is to see what children can do independently at the start of a unit so the teacher can work out what to plan to teach the whole class.

The imitation phase

The teaching begins with a creative ‘hook’ which engages the pupils with a sense of enjoyment, audience and purpose. The model text is pitched well above the pupil's level and has built into it the underlying, transferable structures and language patterns that children will need when they are writing. This is learned using a ‘text map’ and actions to strengthen memory and help children internalise the text. Once children can ‘talk like the text’, the model and other examples are then read for vocabulary and comprehension before being analysed for the basic text (boxing up) and language patterns as well as writing techniques or tool kits. Short-burst writing is used to practise key focuses such as description, persuasion or scientific explanation.

Year 3

Too Much Talk by Angela Shelf Medearis.

Year 5

The Caravan

Innovation

In this stage, the original text is adapted by the children. This could start with a substitute - a simple change of character, or for older children, it may involve telling the story from a different view point or perhaps using a flash forward where the story starts amidst the action. Children will make changes to their story map and rehearse retelling their innovated story orally. By explicit teacher modelling, children then write out the innovated story in manageable sections. Pupils receive next step feedback at this stage in the form of green comments which indicate success and pink comments which indicate areas to develop. There is an opportunity to respond to this marking, before writing the next section. It is a very supportive and structured approach, so children gain confidence and know what they need to do in order to get better.

Independent Application - "Hot Task"

Eventually, children move on to the final phase, which is when they apply independently what has been taught and practised.  Children are guided through planning, drafting and revising their work independently. 

Each fiction or non-fiction unit is taught daily for three weeks. This is set out in the long-term plans for English and ensures a progression of skills throughout each academic year and also between different year groups.

 
PLEASE LOOK AT OUR PHOTO GALLERY FOR EXAMPLES OF OUR LEARNING JOURNEY 

 

Spelling at St Antony's    

Children have daily spelling lessons focusing on particular spelling strategies, patterns or rules. We use the Read Write Inc Year 3 to Year 6 spelling programme. Their weekly homework includes a group of words to learn, which fit the patterns that they have learned.

 

Parents can help at home by:  
  • Encouraging them to look closely at words and  talking to them about words
  • Encouraging them to try new words
  •  Playing word games with them, such as Hangman, Boggle, Scrabble and/or Countdown
  •  Encouraging effective memorising strategies
  • Breaking words into syllables
  • Using LOOK-THINK-COVER-WRITE-CHECK
  •  Finger-writing
  •  Encouraging good reading/writing posture
  •  Sitting up - eyes 12 to 18 inches away from the work
  •  Encouraging spare time reading
  •  Pointing out interesting newspaper items
  •  Encouraging visits to the library
  • Buying comics, magazines and books as treats
  •  Respecting "good mistakes" :  those which use letter patterns which do make the right sound, even though they are not right for that particular word. So, for "purpose": "prupose" would be a less good guess
  •  Making sure a dictionary is on hand for homework.

Handwriting at St Antony's

We promote and encourage the use of a cursive script for handwriting, from Year 2 with regular handwriting sessions. 

The cursive style that we use, requires children to begin each letter on the line. This is because it helps children to know where letter formation begins for each  letter. The lead-in join also enables a smooth transition to completely ‘joined-up’ script as they progress in their handwriting.

The lower-case letters of the alphabet are taught in families, where the letter formation has only slight variations. All lower-case letters are uniform in size with only the ascenders (tall backs i.e. b, d, h, l, t) and descenders (long tails i.e. p, y, g, q) falling above or below the height of other letters. Upper case letters are never joined. Here is an example of our handwriting.

We are extremely proud of the progress our children are making in their understanding and creativity with regards to their written work. As always, we constantly strive to improve our teaching methods so that the children receive the very best and can enjoy learning whilst achieving success. If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to drop in and speak to your child’s teacher at any time. Thank you for your ongoing support.