Our writing curriculum
Our curriculum is intended to reflect the scope and opportunity described in the National Curriculum:
Pupils should develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation. They should be taught the correct use of grammar. They should build on what they have been taught to expand the range of their writing and the variety of the grammar they use. The writing they do should include narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations: such writing supports them in rehearsing, understanding and consolidating what they have heard or read.
Our curriculum focuses on the development of writing under the headings of Transcription and Composition. Transcriptional skills underpin the child’s ability to fluently produce writing. Compositional skills enable the child to produce writing within a range of genres with awareness of the reader and the meaning that is to be conveyed. The combination of these skills enable a child to be creative and precise in their written communication.
We intend our approach to writing to enable children to develop transcriptional writing skills:
- Write with fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting
- Be able to spell words, knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics), understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words
The writing curriculum begins in EYFS with the development of gross and fine motor skills. These skills are key to children’s ability to develop the transcriptional skills of writing, clear legible handwriting and fluency in the physical writing process. In EYFS transcriptional skills are taught and practiced through a range of activities including structured handwriting activities, writing in Read Write Inc, writing activity through continuous provision and Talk For Writing in summer term.
The transcriptional skills are the child’s ability to form letters and words and make them understandable through good spelling. The writing element of Read Write Inc. is an important part of this process, especially in the development of spelling. The dictation element of Read Write inc. and ‘holding a sentence in your head’ provides the opportunity to apply the spellings and transcription skills learnt each day thus developing fluency.
Spelling Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) is taught through Read Write inc. as well as in discreet SPAG activities from EYFS onwards. Children have the opportunity to apply their skills in, Talk for Writing tasks, during ‘quick writes’ which are opportunities to apply specific SPAG skills that have just been learnt in a writing context and in composition activities in Key stage 2. We intend children to develop their ability to edit and improve the transcriptional and SPAG aspects of their own writing during ‘butterfly writes’ in keys stage 2 when they are also enhancing composition. Editing is a structured process supported by quick writes focused on key aspects of SPAG that support the genre.
Progression in Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar is sequenced in Read Write inc and then further developed year by year. The opportunities to apply SPAG skills are planned through Talk for writing and then Butterfly writing learning.
Composition skills and practise
We intend our approach to writing to enable children to develop compositional writing skills:
- Articulate and communicate ideas coherently
- Write in a range of genres with clarity, an awareness of the audience, purpose and context
- Use an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar
- Enjoy the creative process of writing
We intend children to gain understanding of how writing is composed for purpose, to engage the reader, to entertain and inform through a continuum that starts with Talk For Writing that then develops in to Butterfly writing where children compose and enhance their own work with a higher degree of independence.
Talk For Writing is implemented from the end of EYFS where the first stories are introduced as a starting point for writing. A sequence of carefully chosen texts provides progression and scope in the development of writing within a range of genres. Teachers can select the text they need to deliver the focus for writing required from the continuum of texts. The Talk For Writing programme is a long established pedagogical approach to teaching writing that is particularly effective for children who may otherwise have a limited exposure and experience of story. The programme also has strong elements of oracy development which meets an identified need for our children.
Buttefly write is school’s own developed progression in teaching writing. It is based on ‘Austin’s Butterfly’ which is a model for drafting and improving one’s own work in response to focused self-reflection and critique from others. Children write from a range of stimuli, often linked to wider curriculum subjects and then edit and enhance all of the components of their writing through a series of stages before producing a final draft. The teaching of writing that runs alongside the process may reflect genre specific characteristics or an identified development need from assessment of SPAG. The exemplification and application of new vocabulary is a feature of the teaching of writing. Vocabulary is displayed in class for children to reference and use to enhance their writing.
Whole class teaching of writing is supplemented and supported by one to one writing conferencing for identified children. This can be used to accelerate children to catch up or to progress children on from and Expected standard to Greater depth.
School uses the Read Write Inc. spelling programme across Key Stage 2 to further develop children’s learning of spelling. This works alongside their learning in reading and writing. The programme follows many of the approaches and strategies from the Read Write Inc. phonics programme so is familiar in learning style for the children.
At the start of the Autumn term, each child is assigned to a spelling group that best suits their current level. As the scheme progresses, constant assessment will take place to ensure children are moved into different groups as and when suitable.
The new scheme follows a 5 session plan with particular activities happening in each session. These sessions explore not just a particular sound pattern but also word families, suffixes and prefixes applicable to those words, and, of course, the spelling.
Each child will have a log book to record words they find tricky and it is these that they will need to practise at home. These will travel to and from school and the children are expected to practice these. Depending on how tricky they found the words that week, you are likely to find that the number of words they need to practise will vary from week to week. Read Write Inc. Spellings allows a constant cycle of practise, games and application and allow children to see their progress.
Additionally, at the end of a group of units (timings vary per class), children will be given an opportunity to showcase their progress in an assessment of 20 words, which will also include learning from previous year groups.
As always, we ask that you encourage your child to access their log book frequently and practise their words in whichever way they prefer. Children now have access to additional ‘Extra Practice Zone’ online and have a suggested timetable to activities to complete for each week. This can be found in the back of their spelling log books.
Follow the Spelling link from the home page to access the parent information on how to use the 'Extra Practice Zone.'