English at Little Heaton CE Primary School.
The aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
At Little Heaton CE Primary we teach English through a range of approaches. The skills we teach in reading and writing are transferrable through all aspects of our English curriculum and we use a variety of frameworks to practice, rehearse and develop these skills. These includes guided reading and RAMP reading sessions, Talk 4 Writing and Read Write Inc.
Our mission is to help all our children develop into thoughtful readers and creative writers and it is through the Talk for Writing approach that we believe we can achieve this. Through its multi-sensory and interactive teaching it enables children of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of story/text types using various methods including:
- listening to and learning texts and stories;
- taking part in drama and role-play;
- drawing and story mapping;
- collecting words and language strategies
- building their working knowledge of grammar.
What exactly is Talk for Writing?
Talk for Writing is an innovative approach to teaching writing developed by the literacy specialist and writer Pie Corbett (http://www.piecorbett.org.uk/) . It uses high quality model texts to introduce the children to different story/text types which they then learn off by heart and scrutinise with a writer’s critical eye. They learn the underlying structures and the process of planning using story maps. They also learn about the key strategies for creating interesting characters and settings and how to use a range of sentence types to create different effects including suspense or adventure.
Talk for Writing has three key phases which work together to develop knowledge, confidence and independence in writing:
Imitation and Immersion
Our Talk for Writing units with a ‘wow’ starter which fires up the creativity and imagination of the children before they immerse themselves in the model text.
During this phase the children learn a model text using actions and story maps. The key to success for the children is that they internalise the text type through repetition and rehearsal. They explore the structure of the narrative and investigate the different characters, settings and events. They also begin to look closely at the language used and the effect this has on the reader. We call this process ‘read as a reader’. Alongside this we focus on how the children can also ‘read as a writer’, focussing on the author’s use of literacy devices and how the text has been constructed.
During this phase the teacher and the children begin to change aspects of the model text using their own ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and new ideas for descriptive language whilst sticking closely to the underlying structure. This process enables the children to write their own versions through developing their ability to generate good words and phrases.
During this phase the children plan and write their own story based on the text type they have been learning. They experiment with the ideas and begin to explore their own style of writing using sentence types from the model text before finally writing their version of the text.
As part of our approach to guided reading we use RAMP reading to support the children’s learning. This teaches the children all the strategies that we, as adults, use as readers and also provides them with an opportunity to read and discuss a wide range of texts.
Alongside this more in-depth comprehension skills are taught through discrete sessions, such as Cracking Comprehension. The skills taught within these lessons are built on further within our Talk 4 Writing sessions.