What do the children think about writing?
Answers from a questionnaire for KS2 children
"I like writing because you create something from nothing."
"I think writing is a stress reliever for me, I love it!"
"I can express my thoughts on paper and show what I've learned all year."
"I find writing enjoyable because I like to use my imagination and it lets my mind run free."
"I find it hard because of long and tricky words but it is still enjoyable."
"It's fun to learn new things even though it's a challenge."
Talk for Writing
St Laurence uses the ‘Talk for Writing’ approach for teaching writing through all year groups. The three main stages can be adapted to suit the needs of learners of any stage.
The Talk for Writing approach aims to enable children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. This approach teaches children to internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ as well as close reading.
Though initially this relies upon dependence on an original text and teaching input, children move towards writing more independently. The teacher provides opportunities for using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write more creatively and to produce more sustained pieces of writing.
We also aim to teach our children to edit and improve their work, through drafting; using dictionaries and thesaurus; receiving and providing feedback and the sharing of ideas.
Building on Progression
We use short texts which provide excellent examples of the key linguistic features being focused on.
As children get older, more sophisticated ways of imitating text and a greater range of models can be used, and there will be a greater emphasis on ensuring that the innovation stage helps the pupils to move away from the initial text, so that they become increasingly skilled as independent writers.
Talk for Writing
- independent application
The Imitation Stage
Our teaching begins with a creative ‘hook’ which engages the children and supports the text, providing enjoyment, awareness of the audience and a sense of purpose. The children then learn the text using a ‘text map’ and actions to help the children remember the text in detail. Activities such as drama, discussion and debates are used to deepen understanding of the text.
Once children can ‘talk like the text’, the original text, and other examples, are then read for vocabulary and comprehension before being analysed for language patterns and writing techniques. The children also practise key spellings and grammatical patterns.
The Innovation Stage
Once our children are familiar with the given text, teachers guide them into creating their own versions. For example, a new subject of the story is presented, a different character is created, and so on.
New ideas are generated and organised, or information researched and added. Innovating and writing takes place over a number of days so that children are writing their texts a little at a time, focusing on bringing all the elements together, writing effectively and accurately.
Teacher feedback is given during the lessons as well as in marking so that children can be taught how to improve their writing, make it more accurate, until they can increasingly edit in pairs or independently.
Eventually, children move on to the third phase in order to apply what they have learnt. Children are guided through planning, drafting and revising their work independently.
It is important that at the innovation and independent application stage, the writing becomes increasingly independent and moves away from the original text rather than a copy, by adding, embellishing, altering and manipulating the original text.
At St Laurence, we want our children to feel confident, take risks and to know that ‘learning from our mistakes’ is positive. The aim of Talk for Writing is to develop imaginative, creative and effective writers. We want our children to enjoy writing across a range of genres and have the knowledge and skills to adapt their writing for the relevant context and audience. We want our teaching approach to enable all children to access the planned activities, make progress and reach their full potential.