Writing At Pakefield
Writing at Pakefield Primary School
At Pakefield Primary school, we aim for every child to be a successful writer and enjoy the process of writing. We recognise that writing is a life-long skill and will be needed in all career choices that our children choose in their futures. It is important to us that our children understand that writing is an essential skill and will be needed throughout their lives. To achieve this goal, Pakefield Primary School is working in partnership with Cambridge Oracy Project and the Arts Mark; both of these projects support teachers to use talk, Oracy and drama as well as Talk4Writing to promote writing throughout the curriculum.
Writing in the Early Years
Writing, along with reading, makes up literacy, one of the four specific areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
The Early Learning Goals for writing come from both literacy and physical development. They are:
- Writing - children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.
- Moving and handling - children show good control and coordination in large and small movements. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing
At Pakefield children are given a continuous experience in writing. They have the chance to experiment using what they know about writing and the opportunity to apply and practise their developing skills and knowledge. Opportunities to write are planned for in all aspect of continuous provision, both insides and outside.
Talk4Writing and writing for a purpose?
Our Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully; in turn learning more remembering more.
This approach is used in years 1, 2, 3 and 4 and focuses on three main processes: The imitation phase, the innovation phase and the invention phase, it will then end with a ‘Hot write’. The three phases allow children to be ‘immersed’ within a text, they get to know it extremely well using story maps and drama to understand characters and emotions. During the innovation phase, the children begin to change the story around using guided groups and teacher modelling to support their writing. The final phase is the invention phase, this is where the children apply all of newly acquired skills, they have learned throughout the previous two weeks.
In years 5 and 6, children begin to write for more of a purpose, linking their writing to the creative curriculum. A Talk4Wrtiing structure is still used, with a range of drama and oracy activities being implemented and woven throughout. More purposeful writing is used in years 5 and 6 to ensure the children consolidate the skills and structures from previous years. This allows children to remember and apply different structures to ensure they are confident writers ready for High School transition. High quality novels are used to help guide and support the writing process instead of short-modelled texts.
How do we use Oracy and the Arts mark to support writing?
Oracy is a vital and fundamental part of Pakefield Primary’s curriculum and plays an enormous part in any child’s writing. For children to be able to write well, they must speak well. Children should be able to draw upon rich vocabulary to say what you want to say – this supports the ability to structure their thoughts, so that they can make sense to others. This is a crucial skill when writing.
In order to do this, we use our Talk4Writing structure of learning but underpin this with additional oracy skills to support writing as well. Children are encouraged to use talk partners to speak through their sentences and ideas prior to writing them down. This allows all children, of all abilities, to hear other’s ideas, making to idea of writing on paper a safer and more enjoyable experience for more reluctant writers. Word of the week is celebrated and used in all year groups, children are challenged to use these words within their writing, allowing a greater vocabulary and a curiosity of words to be taking place in the classroom and beyond.
The Arts Mark is a new project that Pakefield Primary School is excited to be a part of. This project is based upon using artists, actors and drama to promote writing across the curriculum. Drama and debate is already a huge part of our writing process at Pakefield Primary School and is used to allow children to rehearse using their voice before the writing process begins. The benefits of this go far beyond good writing but raise self-confidence for our less confident writers.
At Pakefield Primary School, we begin our week with ‘Word of the week’. This is introduced to the children by their teachers at the beginning of the day and includes the definition of the word; antonyms; synonyms; an example of the word in a sentence and the etymology of the word. The word is then sent home via text and is put on our website for all to access. We encourage the parents to discuss the word with their child and then set challenges for the children in school: such as to use the word in daily conversation and in their writing. By doing this we are beginning to see a curiosity of vocabulary run throughout our school and children are using these words in their writing.
Talk homework is sent home before a hot write is completed. During the week, the children plan their final piece of writing. They then take this plan home to discuss with their adults. As we all know, when children rehearse their writing verbally, they end up with a stronger piece of writing. Therefore, we then repeat the talking process in school before they complete the piece of writing. Most children are then confident when completing their writing and love to share and celebrate their improvements
How to use Talk4Writing at home
Story maps are integral to the child becoming immersed within the story and are used in years 1,2,3 and 4. These could be used in 2 different ways: the first way in which you could use story maps would be to help your child consolidate their knowledge of a story map by acting it out together or telling it before bedtime.
The second way would be to create a story map of their own for a piece of upcoming writing. This could be done within a piece of talk homework. Encourage children to think about the vocabulary that they are using.
Boxing Up Grids
Another way that you can support your child at home is to discuss their box it up plans with them. Can the children create their own for a piece of upcoming writing? Encourage children to notice the key features of each text type (stories – opening, build up, problem, solution etc). Years five and six complete similar plans to this, talking through their plan, discussing vocabulary choices and up levelling, would support these older learners.
What has been going well?
Reading has been an obvious strength at Pakefield Primary school over the past two years. Data 82% and 88% of children have reached expected (2019), which is 9% progress on the previous year. This is because we have confident, independent readers, who enjoy reading and everything that it entails. To further this point, at Pakefield we now use a whole class guided reading approach, this ensures that every child gets the opportunity to be challenged and enjoy and explore extracts and whole texts together.
Communication and language (oracy) has been a working strength at Pakefield Primary school. Oracy skills are applied in each classroom, allowing children to develop their speech across the school. We have found that talk is not only important to improve confidence and speech development, but it is also important to help develop writing. Through learning walks, book looks, pupil perceptions, it is becoming evident that things such as word of the week and oracy skills sessions are beginning to support and develop writing across the school.
At Pakefield Primary School we really understand the importance of children being able to use spellings throughout the curriculum and not just achieve 10/10 in a spelling test. To support our children to learn their spellings and internalise them we use the following pattern of teaching each week:
All spellings that are sent home are from the DFE’s spelling lists which can be found at:
Our School Feedback and Marking Policy also supports children to notice when they have made a spelling mistake and they then go through and purple polish their work using dictionaries, word cards or teacher support.
If you have any questions relating to the teaching of reading or writing, please speak with your child’s class teacher or make an appoint with Mrs Nielson, Miss McCann, or Mrs Harper.