Across school we use Talk for Writing as a basis for our writing structure to support children to develop skills and raise standards in writing across school. This strategy, developed by Pie Corbett, has been proven successful across the Beckfoot Trust because it is based on the principles of how children learn. It is powerful because it enables children to imitate the language that they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version. We work in close partnership with colleagues across the Trust to review, develop and refine the teaching of writing across school by providing regular support and training for staff.
Our writing is split into three phases:
- Imitation: telling the story
Imitation phase is when the children really get to know what text type they are going to be learning about. Children in the Early Years learn a model text off by heart using a ‘text map’ to help them. Children further up the school spend time looking at the structure, the language and other features that they need to know for their own writing. They then spend time during this week practising the grammar that they will need to use in their writing.
- Innovation: changing a story
This phase is when the teacher uses shared writing (writing as a class) to create a text that is very similar to the one they have just learnt in the imitation phase. Younger writers or less confident writers may need to stay close to the structure and the vocabulary used in the model text to build confidence and understanding. More confident writers will come away from the model text and want to explore their own ideas or ways of writing. Within this phase we would also encourage children to ‘magpie’ good ideas/vocabulary to use in their own writing.
- Independent application: writing my own story
This phase is when the children are expected to write independently and apply the skills they have learned. Typically, teachers work with the children to set success criteria for the piece which focus on aspects that they have covered and modelled during the writing process.