It is our intent that every child at Colville views themselves as a writer, able to draw upon a ‘toolkit’ of skills in order to write confidently for a range of purposes. We emphasise the link between reading and writing by using high quality texts to inspire each unit of work, motivating children to develop accuracy, creativity and voice in their own written pieces.
In Nursery, our children begin mark-making, participating in physical and sensory activities, to develop their hand-eye coordination, supporitng their fine motor skills. They then progress to forming letters and learning to write their name. Developing fine motor skills continues in reception, where the children learn how to form all letters through phonics and English lessons. Once ready, they move on to writing captions, phrases and simple sentences.
The sequence of lessons and units within English are carefully planned to allow pupils to incrementally build on their knowledge and skills. Children have meaningful and motivational writing experiences using the contexts inspired by quality core texts or media. These texts include classics as well as modern literature that represents the rich diversity of our society. Texts are chosen to spark the imagination.
At the start of a unit children have the opportunity to read, respond, discuss and annotate a model text. They learn how to recognise skills and techniques that the author has used for a specific purpose. Grammar is taught explicitly as well as embedded within the writing process so that children understand the parts of a sentence as well as how it affects an overall piece. Units of work are appropriately broken down and scaffolded so that children with different starting points can access them. Some units have two outcomes, which demonstrate increasing independence.
Children are shown what to do and how to do it. When children begin their own writing, lessons often include an element of shared writing whereby the pupils write alongside the teacher. The teacher demonstrates, and then scribes taking on children’s ideas; the class work together on supported composition, moving to independent writing.
Units of work are supported by a writing toolkit, which prompts the memory of the knowledge and skills required to write effectively for the given purpose. Over time, most children internalise these toolkits so that they start to select appropriate features automatically. Talk is used throughout the writing process to allow pupils to share, improve and edit their work. In EYFS and KS1, features of ‘Talk for Writing’ are implemented. Children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text.’ They use actions and create a visual map that can be adapted and built upon to create their own stories, letters, reports and recounts. Writing lessons inspire a community feel in the classroom. Children are actively encouraged to share their ideas with their peers and use vocabulary and phrases that they hear during the lesson.
Formative assessment takes place after every unit to identify any gaps in children’s knowledge allowing the teacher to plan accordingly. We recognise that there may be specific barriers for certain children and utilise small group guided writing sessions during a lesson to enhance support. Where further support is required, 1:1 interventions or specific personalised adaptations are made so that every child experiences success.
High quality teaching and learning means that over time children develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to write for a range of purposes. Children are proud of their writing and can talk about their desired impact upon the reader. Those who need additional support are identified early and as a result, also begin to find pleasure in writing, widening the opportunities for all children to express themselves creatively, accurately and powerfully in the future.