At St. George's, we recognise the importance of the effective teaching and learning of English. English has always been taught every day at St. George's and this year we consolidate the strategy of "Talk4Writing" across the school which we piloted 4 terms ago. We have seen real improvement in the quality of writing over the school since its launch.
Talk For Writing (T4W)
Our mission is to help all our children develop into thoughtful readers and creative writers and it is through the Talk for Writing approach that we believe we can achieve this. Through its multi-sensory and interactive teaching, it enables children of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of story/text types using various methods including:
listening to and learning texts and stories;
taking part in drama and role-play;
drawing and story mapping;
collecting words and language strategies
building their working knowledge of grammar.
At St. George’s CVA we are all very enthusiastic about this approach as it will bring out the best in the children and the teachers!
What exactly is it?
Talk for Writing is an innovative approach to teaching writing developed by the literacy specialist and writer Pie Corbett (www.talk4writing.co.uk). It uses high quality model texts to introduce the children to different story/text types which they then learn off by heart and scrutinise with a writer’s critical eye.
They learn the underlying structures and the process of planning using story maps. They also learn about the key strategies for creating interesting characters and settings and how to use a range of sentence types to create different effects including suspense or adventure.
The T4W Process
Talk for Writing has three key phases which work together to develop knowledge, confidence and independence in writing:
Imitation and immersion
We usually like to start our Talk for Writing units with a ‘wow’ starter which fires up the creativity and imagination of the children before they immerse themselves in the model text.
During this phase the children learn a model text using actions and story maps. The key to success for the children is that they internalise the text type through repetition and rehearsal. They explore the structure of the narrative and investigate the different characters, settings and events. They also begin to look closely at the language used and the effect this has on the reader. We call this process ‘read as a writer’. The classroom becomes a dynamic, interactive resource filled with word ideas, sentence types and language tools collected by the children to use in their stories later.
During this phase the teacher and the children begin to change aspects of the model text using their own ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and new ideas for descriptive language whilst sticking closely to the underlying structure.
It is during this phase that the children work using their toolkits. The toolkits, based on the features and ingredients of the model text, remind children of the different strategies they could use in their stories and helps them to see the progress they are making.
During the invent week the children plan and write their own story based on the text type they have been learning. They experiment with the ideas and begin to explore their own style of writing using sentence types from the model text.
Talk for Reading (T4R)
T4R is scheduled every day for all KS2 children. This is a strategy which immerses children in reading and centres itself around the importance of reading for pleasure. Across the school, children need to know, understand and be able to utilise some seriously difficult vocabulary (particualrly in Year 6). Our focus on Talk 4 Reading will give them the skills to do this.
Each child has the opportunity to participate in a range of reading activities:
As part of the T4R process, we have now included sessions that follow the Echo Reading Fluency Project. This allows us to teach all of the fluency techniques (such as: pace, tone, pitch, scooping, expression, volume), allow them to really practice these skills, which in turn will boost their comprehension.
You can support your child's reading at home with some of these suggested strategies:
Whilst T4W and T4R will be delivered across the school, we will continue to teach phonics, spelling and sentence formation through Read Write Inc. in KS1.
Handwriting was an area of focus for us last year and that remains the same this year. We have spent significant time and money on improving presentation standards in school, not least because of our lovely handwriting pages in all of our books in school. We are happy to report that the impact is significant. We continue to encourage the children to take a pride in their work and to produce the highest standards in all books, including homework!