“To become knowledgeable about the different reasons in which writers are moved to write: to teach, persuade or influence, entertain, paint with words, reflect and to make a record. To develop independent writers we ensure children can discuss, debate, independently research and explore their own ideas, develop their own writing projects and have an independent response, through writing, to material and subjects taught. They are also able to entertain a variety of audiences through stories and personal anecdote."
At Taddington and Priestcliffe Primary school, we believe that learning to write well for a range of purposes and audiences is fundamental to the wider success of children. We use ‘The Literary Curriculum’ from the Literacy Tree and Alan Peat’s exciting sentences to support our teaching of writing.
The Literary Curriculum from the Literacy Tree is a complete book-based, thematic approach to the teaching of primary English that places children’s literature at its core. As a whole school approach, it provides complete coverage of all National Curriculum expectations for writing composition, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, as well as coverage of spelling, phonics and reading comprehension. Through immersion in high quality texts, children become aware of the language skills of a writer and use this as a model for their writing. Using this model, children develop greater competence in the conventions of spelling, punctuation, sentence structures and text organisation. All plans lead to purposeful application within a wide variety of written outcomes and they support teachers in their delivery of exciting and engaging lessons.
Teaching Alan Peat’s ‘exciting sentences’, which link to the grammar and writing skills in each year group, ensures that children will explore a variety of sentence structures and draw on this learning when composing their own writing. In order to meet the demands of the national curriculum, we have created a policy for progression which introduces these ‘exciting sentences’ at the right time to coincide with the expectations of the national curriculum. Click here to read the policy.
We will deliver a Writing Curriculum that:
Uses high quality texts as writing stimuli, immersing the children in a literary world.
Provides meaningful and authentic contexts for writing
Develops confident and competent writers
Gives children the ability to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
Embeds a good understanding of grammar and punctuation and its use in effective written communication
Enables children to write in a variety of forms and contexts
Exposes children to a wide variety of genres
Inspires children to develop their own style of writing
It is our intention, when teaching the English curriculum, that our pupils acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to become confident, independent writers.
The curriculum is led and overseen by the Writing curriculum leaders, who will regularly monitor, evaluate and review English teaching and learning, celebrating and sharing good practice. As with all subjects, the leaders facilitate an in-depth subject inquiry with pupils, parents and staff.
Our Reception class follows the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum whilst KS1 and 2 follow the 2014 National Curriculum knowledge and skills for writing: transcription; composition; and vocabulary, grammar and punctuation.
From Reception to 6 , the teaching of writing is delivered using the Literacy Tree long term planning sequences, which are aligned with the National Curriculum for English and provide a progression of writers’ skills and grammatical knowledge. This is supplemented when and where appropriate with customised planning. In reception, the books form the basis of their topic, so it is cross curricular.
Each planning sequence starts with immersion and ‘WOW’ events to introduce the new text. These are designed to hook children in and create memorable moments.
Knowledge organisers are shared with pupils for each book, which maps out the key knowledge, exciting sentence, vocabulary and skills for the unit as well as the final outcome. Learning objectives and success criteria are shared with the children at the start of each lesson, so children understand the key skills they are learning and how each step of their learning will contribute to the final outcome.
We teach English as whole class lessons and differentiate so that all children have access to the age-related skills and knowledge contained in the National Curriculum. Within lessons, teachers and teaching assistants target support where needed. This may involve a greater level of scaffolding, access to additional support materials such as word banks, a greater level of modelling, or the use of ICT. Children are also given opportunities to extend their writing in a variety of ways, including through showing greater control in their writing, a deeper understanding of the impact that their writing has on the reader and by using a higher level of vocabulary and grammar features.
We focus on one exciting sentence per book, linking these to the grammar and punctuation or text types being studied.
Throughout a learning sequence, teachers provide opportunities for the children to plan, draft, edit and redraft their writing. Children are encouraged to take an increased responsibility for proof-reading for mistakes and editing their work, with the reader in mind, as they progress through the school.
A typical lesson is likely to include many of the following elements:
Opportunity to respond to feedback in books
Revisiting prior learning and making links in their learning
Reading comprehension skills; prior knowledge/previewing, predicting, identifying the main idea in a text, summarising, questioning, making inferences and visualising.
Reading as a writer to identify the features that make the text successful: vocabulary choice, sentence types, use of punctuation, layout and how cohesion is achieved.
Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation
Modelled and shared writing
Guided writing with children working on whiteboards
Orally rehearsing sentences
Independent writing including writing in role
Children ‘taking risks’ and recognising making mistakes as part of the learning process;
Editing - self and peer
Once a term, sections of texts or whole texts are published for display.
Children in Reception concentrate on developing fine motor skills in order to master printed letter formation, Year 1 builds on these foundations, where children are exposed to the precursive font once letter formation is secure and Years 2-6 develop their continuous cursive handwriting style.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum. Teachers use the Literacy Tree Spelling Seeds to support their teaching and to provide activities that link to the weekly spellings. Children are given spellings to learn each week and are given a spelling quiz the following week. Spelling tests are delivered as dictated sentences. This ensures the spelling words are set in context and previous week’s words can be revisited and consolidated.
When marking work, teachers identify up to three words that children have spelt incorrectly from within that child’s known ability and these are identified with an ‘sp’ in the margin. Children are then encouraged to identify these incorrect spellings in their own writing and correct them.
Tier 2 vocabulary which children need to understand for the unit of work are included on the knowledge organiser. At the start of the unit, children explore the words in depth. Words then need to be revisited -little and often to embed the vocabulary.
Children will take ownership of their progress. Taddington and Priestcliffe Primary school ensures that children are aware of their strengths and areas for development in writing.
The impact of the writing curriculum is measured by: in-depth assessment of children’s writing each half term. This is made up of a formally assessed narrative and children’s writing from day-to-day English lessons and writing across the curriculum. Teachers will identify the age-related outcomes and key performance indicators of the year group that have been achieved.
Progress in writing is closely monitored by the subject leaders and senior leadership team. Monitoring will include: regular book looks, lesson observations, gathering evidence of good practice, pupil voice interviews, looking at data and regular learning walks.
As our English curriculum becomes embedded, children will become more confident writers and by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing will be familiar to them and the teaching will focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
Children readily and eagerly discuss books studied and their writing and its effectiveness with their teachers and peers. This develops children’s authorial intent; choosing language for effect for a range of purposes and audiences.
High quality writing from a variety of genres can be seen in English books.
Children will leave for secondary school as confident, independent writers with the English knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the next stage of their education.