“Writing floats on a sea of talk.”
At St Mary’s, our aim is that all children will love English and are excited to read, write and express themselves. In order to prosper and flourish within English, we follow Talk for Writing (TFW) as a whole-school cumulative and systematic process for the teaching of English. Through their time at St Mary’s, children gradually build their bank of well-known texts, supplemented by picture books, novels, poems and non-fiction books. Gradually, this living library of language begins to equip the children with the words they need to express themselves.
At St Mary ’s, children are immersed in Talk for Writing from Reception through to Year 2. Its three phases (Imitation, Innovation and Independent application) mean that children are explicitly taught how to write specific story types (e.g. journey tales) and how to create certain effects (e.g. character) in their writing. Teachers act as expert models of the writing process in daily shared writing sessions and there are regular opportunities for children’s writing and ideas to be shared, displayed, published and celebrated.
The end goal of the teaching of any writing should be to develop children into successful independent writers, and so at the end of each 'unit' - once all of the teaching, modelling and internalisation of knowledge has taken place - there is an opportunity for children to produce a final, independent piece of work.
Grammar is taught explicitly through Talk for Writing units, as research shows that knowledge is best internalised when taught within a familiar context.
Writing is a primary means of expression, both for personal cognitive purposes and for communicating meaning with others. Pupils learn how to write with confidence, fluency, imagination and accuracy by orchestrating their knowledge of context and composition (text level), grammatical knowledge (sentence level) and knowledge of phonics, word recognition and graphic knowledge (word level).
The impact of the approach we use to teach writing is that children at St Mary’s see themselves as successful authors. They are confident writers and joyful learners. They are able to speak articulately using the vocabulary they have learnt in their texts and this in turn impacts the vocabulary in their writing.