At Horsenden, we teach writing through the 'Talk for Writing' approach which is an oracy-based program. This approach enables pupils to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that pupils internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ as well as close reading. The focus on oracy skills and learning through actions and visual prompts engages all learners and breaks down learning barriers that many pupils have. By developing pupils’ ability to say high quality sentence structures, it develops their ability to write these sentence structures themselves.
Through a carefully sequenced learning journey, our Talk for Writing program allows pupils to move from dependence to independence in their writing. The movement from imitation to innovation to independent application can be adapted to suit the needs of learners of any stage and shared and guided writing allows pupils to develop the ability to write creatively and powerfully.
You can find an overview of the Talk for Writing approach here, as told by founder, Pie Corbitt:
There are three key stages to the Talk for Writing process:
We have carefully chosen texts that engage our pupils in their English learning. Selected texts cover a broad range of themes, characters and settings and these support children's development of their own ideas for their independent writing. We have also chosen the stories and texts that all pupils will have read to them by their class teacher. This is called the 'Story Spine' and ensures high quality texts are heard by all pupils each year. This also supports their comprehension and language development.
Below is the whole school text map and story spine. For EYFS, the key nursery rhymes that they will learn for each half term is also shown.
Whole School Writing Text Map & Story Spine
Story Maps & Model Texts
Story maps are created for every Talk for Writing unit and are used by teachers and pupils to learn the text off by heart. We use actions in conjunction with the visual prompts on the story maps to help children internalise the new vocabulary as well as sentence and overall text structure.
The model texts are word-only versions of the story map. These are also displayed in the classroom and show pupils what the text should look like, including the correct spelling of unfamiliar/new words, the correct punctuation and the layout of the text. Our model texts are pitched so that they are a good challenge for the year group. By seeing and internalising these texts, pupils then learn how to replicate similar structures in their own writing.
In some year groups (mainly EYFS and KS1, you will also see coloured boxes around the model text. This indicates the structure of the story and is an additional visual prompt when pupils are still learning about this. It shows them the:
build up (blue)
ending (emerald green)
Model texts are uploaded to the year group pages each half term so that you can help your child to practise these at home. Scroll down to the 'Curriculum Maps' section and find the Talk for Writing Story Maps & Model Texts heading just below.
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
Grammar, punctuation and spelling is embedded in the Talk for Writing lessons and key features can be seen within the model texts and tool kits used each half term. Year groups have additional non-negotiable writing toolkits which show a progression of technical writing skills, year on year. Grammar, punctuation and spelling is also linked through our handwriting programme, so these skills are taught and revisited in multiple ways. A breakdown of the skills taught in each year group can be found here.
Spelling lists are linked to phonics work in Reception to Year 2 and from Year 3 onwards we link our spelling lists and teaching to Spelling Shed. A breakdown of the National Curriculum for spelling, broken down into each year group, can be found here.
English: Curriculum in Action
Celebrating our love of reading and writing, World Book Day 2023
Year 3 Suspense Writing!
Year 3 crime scene!
Year 2 become journalists
Starting off the new school year with some creative curriculum work
Developing our understanding of a significant English writer - William Shakespeare
Beginning the year with creative curriculum days based on the amazing picture book 'Journey'
Talk for Writing Resources for Parents
For more information about Talk for Writing, please visit: https://www.talk4writing.com/about/. Please note the FAQ videos at the bottom of the home page - these are a really useful way to get a good understanding of the Talk for Writing process and why it works for pupils. If you have any further questions about our approach, please don't hesitate to email the administration team with a query for our English leader who will be happy to answer any questions.
The following Talk for Writing Booklets are a great resources for parent/carers looking to further explore creative writing at home, or to see how a unit of English is developed:
- Talk for Writing English Booklets: https:/www.talk4writing.com/english-booklets/