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English at St George’s and Talk 4 Writing!


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 over the past two years, we have consolidated the strategy of "Talk4Writing" across the school.


This year, we have re-organised the way that we teach the T4W cycle alongside Dean Thompson (our friendly expert). He will be working with us throughout the 2020/2021 academic year too.


Through working with him, we have refined the process and significantly updated the resources that we use. In addition, we now understand the importance of creating 'tool kits' which the children should commit to memory to aide the structure of their writing...


Talk For Writing (T4W)

Why 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 ( 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 these weeks (we have expanded imitation to more than one week) we do plenty of short-burst writing activities so that the children begin to understand the construction of sentences and the reasons why we use certain sentences for certain purposes.



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.


Independent Application

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 (particularly 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:

uAll children get whole class daily reading sessions which supports the development of answering all question types that arise in SATs effectively.
uEvery child has the opportunity to read 1:1 with an adult each week.
uAll children have a pre-reading session whereby they study their guided book, understand the vocabulary and answer questions so that they come to a guided session ready with a good understanding of the book.
uEvery child has a guided reading group with the class teacher each which to continue rapid progress in those SATs style questions.
uEach child has the opportunity to read for pleasure at least twice a week with the opportunity to use an Ipad to blog about their book.


When children use 'MyBookBlog' during reading for pleasure time, children are able to blog about their book, complete comprehension and vocabulary quizzes, vote in live polls with other children across the country, write book reviews that can be accessed by all users subscribed to MyBB and learn new facts about places or events that happen in their book. Our children's excitement and love of reading has improved incredibly through using MyBB for the last 2 years! All children are able to choose their own school book and home book - matched to their reading ability. We aim to ensure that their reading journey continues to be a positive experience and make an impact on their learning!



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:


  • Encourage your child to read as often as possible.
  • Read aloud and have your child match their voice to yours (echo reading).
  • Have your child practice reading the same list of words, phrase, or short passages several times to build a good comprehension of what has been read.
  • Remind your child to pause between sentences and phrases.
  • Read aloud to your child to provide an example of how fluent reading sounds.
  • Ask questions about what has been read to ensure your child understands the text. 


Rich and Diverse Curriculum

We provide our children with a wide range of language rich literature from EYFS to Year 6. At St George's, we carefully plan the books that we study and read for pleasure based on the individual needs of each year group. Children are introduced to and exposed to fiction, non-fiction, poetry and song lyrics which explore themes within: diversity and culture, character development, our Catholic ethos, our community and transition events E.G. transition to year 7. 


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.




T4W Policy

How to use My Book Blog with your child to support home reading


In KS2 we teach spellings using ReadWrite Inc. (RWI) Spelling. It is a fast-paced, robust spelling scheme which enables children to become confident spellers. Spelling words help lay the basic foundation that your child will need throughout his education and life. Spelling is important because it aids in reading. It helps cement the connection that is shared between sounds and letters. ... Spelling and reading also have a common factor, proficiency with language.

(KS1 are taught spelling within their RWI lessons).

The programme supports the aims of the National Curriculum to ensure that children:

-Spell new words correctly and have plenty of practice in spelling them…including exception words and homophones.

-Spell words as accurately as possible using their phonic knowledge and other knowledge of spelling such as morphology (the study of the form of words) and etymology (the study of the origins and developments of words)

-Are supported in understanding and applying the concepts of word structure.

Children will be taught in groups and have at least 70-minutes worth of spelling lessons a week. Each child uses a log book to log any words that they are unsure of or need to learn. These are taken home on a Friday and returned on the Monday.

While these discrete lessons focus on certain patterns, prefixes, suffixes, homophones and spelling rules, children are taught spellings within their Talk for Writing lessons too.



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!