Writing at Stocksbridge Junior School
At SJS, English and the teaching of writing is the foundation of our curriculum. Our children learn to write through Talk for Writing (T4W) which was introduced to the SJS curriculum in September 2018. We find T4W to be an engaging, creative yet also rigorous approach to developing writers. Our intent is for creativity to be at the helm of writing. At SJS, we aim to immerse children in high-quality language and develop the skills required to write independently at the expected standard and beyond.
T4W starts by emphasising the importance of reading for pleasure and enjoying a broad range of literature. At SJS, this is achieved through our bespoke reading spine, access to a free library service and personalised class reading corners. Through regularly reading, we want the children to build up a rich vocabulary for use in their independent writing.
Our teaching of writing can be broken into three stages: the imitation, innovation and invention stage.
During the initial imitation stage, children learn to recall a text by heart. This is done with expression and actions, with children encouraged to make use of a story map to support their retelling. This not only embeds high-quality linguistic patterns, but also provides children with a structure that can be manipulated when writing independently. Children then focus on interpreting unfamiliar language from the text through a range of reading strategies, including dictionary and thesaurus work and reciprocal reading.
At the innovation stage, children then take ownership of the text, for example through manipulation of the characters and setting. The structure of the original text is identified and children use this to create their own ideas. During this process, children use a variety of ‘writing tools’ that have been extracted from the text, previous work and their class reading book. The process of taking ownership is highly engaging and empowering and provides children with a deeper understanding of the intricacies of high-quality writing.
Finally, at the invention stage, children write independently, drawing on the rich vocabulary they have gathered from their reading, manipulating the memorised text and working co-operatively with their learning partners. The skills required to achieve this are taught through a series of strategies, including shared writing and guided writing.
Through the implementation of T4W in our curriculum, our children are developing a passion for reading as evidenced by the significant increase of words read in the weekly class word count competition and discussions with children regarding their author choices. At a classroom level, engagement and enthusiasm have notably increased following individual and group discussions, with children showing a greater confidence to write independently and celebrate their work. In regards to summative assessment, writing outcomes have improved as evidenced through ongoing teacher assessment and target projections for the end of KS2.