Writing is a crucial part of our curriculum at St Kentigern’s. We intend our children to develop a love of writing and to be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word. We also intend to create writers who can re-read, edit and improve their own writing, and enable pupils to be able to confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling. At St Kentigern’s, we set high expectations for all our children to take pride in their work and set challenges that allow their imaginations to flourish.
Oracy is prioritised in our writing curriculum in order to build vocabulary for all learners and increase understanding of trickier texts used across our curriculum. Discussion, questioning and talking through texts and ideas, all increase understanding and prepare our children with the tools they need in order to be successful in their writing. Our aim is for ALL learners to achieve their full potential in writing and we are committed to providing the scaffolds and challenge needed in order for our children to achieve this.
We want children to have the skills to be able to express themselves in anyway they want, whether that is an exciting story or a persuasive letter to our local MP.
In order to help us to develop confident, enthusiastic writers who can express themselves in a variety of different styles and across a variety of contexts, our teaching of writing is often cross curricular and linked to our class topics. This provides our children with regular opportunities to write for a range of purposes and audiences. Writing tasks are specific and meaningful, and often meet a purpose to engage children and to illustrate how their writing skills can be applied to real life contexts.
Our writing approach incorporates best-practice models and recent case studies. As a result, we have recently adopted "The Write Stuff" by Jane Considine to bring clarity to the mechanics of writing. "The Write Stuff” ensures consistency of approach and progression throughout school. It follows a method called "Sentence Stacking" which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together chronologically and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing. An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken in to 3 learning chunks. Each learning chunk has three sections:
- Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence
- Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
- Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model
Children are challenged to ‘Deepen the Moment’ which requires them to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing during that chunk.
The approach provides the children with a stimulating and language rich writing environment surrounded by print in a variety of forms and contexts. The Write Stuff units are based around high quality, age appropriate texts. Units teach a full range of writing strategies, including spelling, grammar, sentence structure and composition.
"The Write Stuff" uses three essential components to support children in becoming great writers
The three zones of writing :-
- IDEAS - The FANTASTICs uses a child friendly acronym to represent the nine idea lenses through which children can craft their ideas.
- TOOLS - The GRAMMARISTICS. The grammar rules of our language system and an accessible way to target weaknesses in pupils grammatical and linguistic structures.
- TECHNIQUES - The BOOMTASTICs which helps children capture 10 ways of adding drama and poetic devices to writing in a vivid visual.
Sentence stacking lessons run alongside 'Experience Sessions' - these may be based on a practical activity, for example using drama, to help deepen children's understanding of what they are finding out in the class book. Where appropriate, these should be short local trips or visitors.
At the end of each unit, children then use their new skills to write independently. This work is assessed against age related expectations and children are given feedback on how to improve. Children are also given opportunities to write at length in science, topic and RE.
Pupils will make good progress from their own personal starting points. By the end of Year Six they will be able to write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Our pupils will acquire a wide vocabulary and have a strong command of the written word. Most importantly, they will develop a love of writing and be well equipped for the rest of their education.
Information for parents
At St. Kentigern's we want to ensure that everyone is the best writer they can be. Here are some useful sites to help support your child from home.
Click on your child's year group to see more specific objectives for their writing.
Ways to Support Learning
There are lots of ways you can encourage your children to write. It is important to think about word development as well as writing whole sentences and texts.
Encourage your child to:
- explain a game or activity
- describe a person, place, picture or thing
- retell stories
- talk about things they have done (encourage detail)
- predict what might happen next in a story, TV programme or sequel to a film
- play word games (Hangman, Guess Who, Boggle, Scrabble, Who am I?)
When reading with your child discuss the ways authors use words to shape their ideas. Good readers make good writers!
Where possible, encourage your child to write alongside you for real purposes e.g. shopping lists, birthday lists, labels, letters (to friends, family, authors), emails to friends, postcards, cards for relatives, scrap books, diaries, posters, short stories or poems for family members, menus, bedroom or house rules.
If you can, have an exciting selection of writing materials available e.g. a range of pencils, felt tips, coloured crayons and/or gel pens.
There are many sites that can support your child's learning. Here are some that you may find useful.