There are two broad areas of writing: the technical side, for example, handwriting, spelling, grammar & punctuation, and the composition side, for example, planning, sharing ideas and communicating for a purpose. Learning to write is a complex process because good writing involves balancing all these different parts. There is a lot for a child to juggle. We aim to help children develop their voice and to learn the skills necessary to communicate effectively through the written word- and to enjoy themselves.
Most writing is done through our topics and therefore will also be cross curricular, for example writing in a geography topic lesson is just as important as in an English lesson. During English lessons, writing is taught by studying examples of different types of text. Children are provided with high quality examples of texts so they can see and discuss what effective writing looks like. Writing will be modelled by the teacher so that children see and understand the steps a writer goes through and what their thinking process can be. Relevant points of grammar and punctuation are taught within English lessons.
To continue to improve the quality of writing in our school we introduced an initiative called ‘Write-On’. The aim is to help the children to build resilience when writing longer pieces of writing; to provide a whole school topic where children can see the development through the school, and to create regular times for children to incorporate their classroom learning into an independent piece of writing. This also serves as a useful assessment opportunity for teachers to then adapt their teaching as appropriate.
Teaching & Learning
Write-On runs across the whole school with everyone discussing the same topic and genre of writing (poem, letter, story etc). A talk topic is set as a homework activity so families can discuss this together. This is an important part of the process as it gives children time to develop their thoughts and imagination. Later in the week, a quiet and extended session is set aside for the children to write. Work is displayed on a Write-On board to share and celebrate writing. This year this will be run every two weeks.
We asked the children, staff and parents what they thought about Write- On.
Teacher: “It allows them to run with their imaginations, practise writing silently and writing more extensively. It has been amazing how it has helped build stamina.”
Teacher: “Children have been given an opportunity to look at a wide range of genres. There has been lots of celebrating their own and others’ writing.”
Child: “It’s hard but fun and when you finish you feel good about yourself.”
Child: “I liked it being creative. You really had to think. It helped my imagination.”
Parent: "It helped thinking ahead about what to write and children were very excited about it."
Parent: "It helped to come up with different ideas and enriched their vocabulary. We enjoyed discussing them as a family."
Parent: "It encouraged my son to put in more effort to see good results. It gave him time and structure to prepare ideas."
Equality of opportunity
Talking about the topic is essential preparation for Write-On. Children who do not have this opportunity at home are identified and additional ‘talk groups’ are formed to give them a chance to clarify their ideas, plan their writing and develop their vocabulary.
Chrome books are provided for children who find writing at length physically challenging. Children who require additional support in their writing can recieve an intervention called 'Write Away Together'.