Here at Sacred Heart, we understand how important it is to develop writing skills at an early age. We aim high and work towards ensuring all children have the writing skills required to excel in life, as they leave and move onto high school. Our English curriculum promotes language development, which enables pupils to develop their imaginative skills and use language as a source of pleasure and enjoyment.

As a school, we follow the Talk for Writing framework to teach and engage pupils in English sessions. The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. We underpin our English sessions by establishing a core reading spine of quality fiction, poetry and non-fiction that all children experience and draw upon. Staff work hard to create imaginative units of work that are developed to ensure English lessons are engaging and creative for all our students.

What is Talk for Writing?

Talk for Writing is an engaging teaching framework developed by Pie Corbett, supported by Julia Strong. It is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. It enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version.

The stages of Talk4Writing

Example: Fairy Tales

Cold Write

This lessons requires children to write at length and simply ‘have a go’ at creating a piece of writing according to the given genre. In this instance, the teacher would encourage children to think back to well-known fairy tales. This could be a class discussion where pupils share their knowledge. This initial assessment is then marked and assessed by the teacher. Pupils are then provided with broken down, individualized targets specific to their piece of writing. These targets are then referred back to for the next series of lessons.

Feature Session

Children are provided with a high quality piece of text, which is then analysed and broken down. Teachers encourage children to look at the structure and features within the text and discuss how this relates to different pieces of writing within the genre. For example, pupils should be able to identify terms such as ‘Once upon a time’ and ‘They all lived happily ever after’. In KS1, children will retell the story orally and with actions to help them remember the structure, whereas KS2 children create a bank of features to support them with writing their own version.

Shared Write

Working alongside the teacher, the class will create a shared piece of work. For example, a new version of ‘The Three Little Pigs’. Using work from the feature session, oral reminders, actions and word banks, the class will write the first paragraph together. In KS2, the focus could evolve around ‘twisted fairytales’ where pupils must put their own ‘spin’ on the classic tale. The shared write is then built up over a number of sessions, while pupils also write their own versions alongside the class teacher.

Hot Write

Using work from the feature session and shared writes, pupils then write a final piece of work. The hot write should focus on the child’s individual targets. Teachers then mark the final piece of writing and provide the child with feedback so they are aware of their achievements and progress towards their targets.