Writing is taught through a series of lessons based on Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing. Over the course of a year children are expected to have produced 6 narrative, 4 non-fiction and 2 poetry texts, the genre of these texts are year specific. The example texts which are given to the children, relate to the topic learning titles for the foundation subjects to ensure teachers are delivering a cross curricular approach to learning. Over a series of weeks the children are guided through the 3 Talk for Writing phases: imitation, innovation, and invention, which we call building, challenging and creating.
During writing lessons expect to see children actively participating in the writing process at every stage. The teacher will model a good example of writing and scaffolds will be in place to support all learners (working walls, magpie books, word mats). During writing lessons there will be lots of talk surrounding the text, whether that be during the planning, innovation or invention stage. All learners no matter their ability will be participating during the lesson and the same objective is given to all pupils (unless the child has specific SEN needs and cannot access the same curriculum).
Writing is moderated three times a year in school. Additional writing moderations will take place with other schools in the collaboration. In addition to this, at the start of the Talk for Writing process the children are expected to produce a ‘cold task’ which is assessed by the teacher and targets are selected. During the three weeks of Talk for Writing, children are expected to be taught the specific skills which link to the targets. At the end of the three week unit children are expected to produce a ‘hot task’ and the target should be met and evident in that piece of writing. There will be a noticeable difference between the ‘cold task’ and ‘hot task’ piece, but the genre of writing and writing foci should be the same for both pieces.
English Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (EGPS)
EGPS is explicitly taught at the start of every lesson and the focus of the EGPS lessons is developed and enforced through the Talk for Writing process. If deemed appropriate elements of EGPS should be referred to in other lessons. EGPS can be referred to during topic lessons, science lessons but for the most part the writing starters. Weekly spellings are tested and these are based on the teacher’s formative assessments during classroom practise and based on Babcock’s spelling programme.
During any writing activity, expect to see the children referring to the English working wall for EGPS pointers. Impact of EGPS inputs can be seen in the comparison between their ‘cold’ and ‘hot’ writes.
EGPS is assessed through the rising stars test, which takes place during assessment weeks. Formative assessment takes place during every lesson and teachers will write any additional notes on their planning as another form of assessment. The ‘hot task’ can also be used to assess a child’s abilities in EGPS.
Handwriting / fine motor skills is taught explicitly in KS1 and EYFS every day. In KS2 handwriting is referred to in lessons where the children produce a piece of written work. Handwriting boosters are provided for children who need additional support and extra practice may be sent home for some individuals.
During a handwriting lesson, you will always find the teacher modelling the letters first. Children imitate the movements of the letters through writing in the air, on a partner or using different writing stimuli. In EYFS and the first two terms of year 1 children may be using the ‘right dance’ program to help build upper body strength as well as fine motor skills. All classrooms will display the cursive handwriting letters on their English working walls.
Phonics is taught daily in EYFS and KS1, and where necessary during interventions in lower KS2. We follow the Letters and Sounds (a synthetic phonics approach) and lessons consist of a four part lesson: revisit, teach, practice and apply.
During phonics lessons, children are actively engaged in the writing process throughout the lesson. Additional phonics lessons are provided in the afternoons for children who have not learnt all their sounds within the phase. Children are actively engaged during phonics lessons. The teacher will model how to segment or blend a word for example and the children will repeat. First the children hear the sound, before being introduced to the visual. Scaffolding for the more able or less able will be put in place where appropriate to meet the needs of the children. Children will use whiteboards with phoneme frames and writing guide lines. A phonics working wall will reflect the sounds learnt that day and a recap of sounds previously taught. This board will be referred to throughout the day (if appropriate).
Phonics assessments take place formatively during every lesson and where a child has not met the objective for that lesson, they will be given extra support in the afternoon for this. Every term a phonics assessment takes place and the teacher records the sounds which each child has not yet learnt and this will form the basis for their planning for the week after each half term (a recap week). In year 1 children will practice the phonics screening in preparation for the statutory screening in June, in additional to the schools phonics assessment.
Reading is taught explicitly during guided reading lessons, which occur daily in every class. Where appropriate, elements of reading should be taught in other lessons. Guided reading lessons should be held in silence, with the exception of the two groups working with teachers. In KS1 the class are split into 2 groups both adult led. One day is spent engaging with the text and the second day is a comprehension based activity. The children will have a learning objective for the guided reading group and will be asked questions on the text they have read. Children may be required to record their answers on whiteboards or in guided reading books. In KS2 we use whole class guided reading lessons where the children share a book together and read with the teacher, independently or in pairs. The class focus on one objective and rehearse those reading and comprehension skills.
Reading is assessed at the beginning of each term. All home reading journals are collected in at the start of a new term and the teacher will read with every child. A target and a comment about a child’s progress will also be written in their home reading journals, so parents can support at home with this process. We encourage our children to choose their own reading stimulus, but where a child is not choosing the correct level text, a reading box is kept in every KS2 with levelled but real life texts which the child can choose.
Within KS1 the children are given reading books (Oxford reading scheme) for home reading which have different colours which correlate to the level (emerging, expected or exceeding), at the beginning of the term a child will be moved accordingly. In addition to this, notes during guided reading in KS1 will be made which again, will inform teachers termly assessments. During assessment week rising stars assessments will be given to the children which again informs teacher’s judgements.
To support reading at home we subscribe to Bug Club www.activelearnprimary.co.uk. Each child has their own log in and teacher allocate books from their reading scheme band. Each online book has comprehension questions for the children to complete.
Teaching and learning is monitored every term.
Reading support for parents
Please use the link below for some ideas for how to help reading at home