Writing at Whitesheet
At Whitesheet Primary Academy we believe in the methods of Talk for Writing as a way of teaching writing. It was developed by Pie Corbett, a writer and poet, and is a fun, creative yet rigorous approach to develop writers. It is a programme based on the principles of how children learn. Please see the video link below to listen to Pie talking about the Talk for Writing process.
Talk for writing starts with enjoying and sharing stories. From EYFS to Year 6 we place a strong emphasis on children reading stories and enjoying a range of literature. Through regular reading we want children to build up an extensive and rich vocabulary for use in their own writing. Talk for writing is multi-sensory and allows children of all ages to learn to write a variety of stories and text types using various methods including taking part in drama and role play; drawing and story mapping; collecting words and language strategies and building on their working knowledge of grammar.
During the initial 'imitation' stage of Talk for Writing children learn to tell a story by heart. They retell a text with expression and actions and make use of a story map to support the retelling. Once the story is learnt, children are encouraged to adapt it. At the innovation stage children make the story their own, for example, by changing the character or setting. Finally the invention stage, children write their own text independently.
Imitation - Telling a story
A text is introduced and read to the children; together the class learn to tell the story. To help the children remember the text a multi-sensory approach is used:
A visual story map
A focus on lively animated expression
As children learn the stories word for word they develop the use of specific sentence structures which they can then use in their own writing. The principle is that if a child can tell a story, they will be able to write a story.
Innovation - Changing a story
In this stage the original text is adapted by the children. This could start with a simple change of character or for older children it may involve telling the story from a different view point. Children will make changed to their story map and rehearse retelling their innovated story orally. Children then write out the innovated story in manageable sections day by day. Pupils receive daily feedback during the lesson at this stage and children can respond to marking before writing the next section. It is a very supportive and structured approach so children gain confidence and know what they need to do in order to get better.
Invention or Independent Application - Writing my own story
The final stage is the invention stage where the children use all the skills they have learnt over the last weeks to write an independent piece. There is the freedom to draw upon their own ideas and experiences or they can 'hug' closely to the shared text should they need to. We then provide further opportunities across the curriculum for transferable skills. E.g if in English they have learned how to write a set of instructions we will ensure they have further opportunities to use these skills in our topic work.