Why Writing is Important.
Writing is a way of communicating our thinking to others. In school this can be through fiction, poetry and non-fiction, across all areas of the curriculum. We write in a range of ways including; email, letters, reports, stories, lists, etc. Our aim is that children will develop this important life skill by the time they leave us and are well set to make more progress and deepen their understanding in Key Stage 2.
How we teach writing
In Reception, we develop children’s gross motor skills – through movement, bikes and scooters, using paintbrushes and using playground equipment. We develop children’s fine motor skills – through threading activities, using play-dough, scissors, etc. These motor skills are important for children’s physical development and allow them to develop the skills to write. We teach children to use a correct pencil grip – a tripod grip, to sit up straight and face forwards when writing. We teach children how to write in a neat cursive script, initially by starting letters on the line, then moving on to join words. We teach children to write using capital letters to start sentences, full stops to end sentences and finger spaces between words.
In KS1 (years 1 and 2), we embed these basic skills and further develop them, teaching question marks, speech marks and exclamation marks. We also teach grammar skills – plurals, adjectives, nouns, noun phrases. By the end of year 2, children should be able to write a legible joined script, using paragraphs and including the grammar and punctuation taught in the infants.
Why we teach writing like this.
Children need to see quality writing in order to be able to produce it. We analyse texts so that children can understand how to produce this. Alongside explicit grammar and spelling lessons, children are able to use these skills to improve their writing and use these for effect.
Vocabulary teaching enables children to hear and use new words effectively to broaden their own vocabulary and understanding.
Editing and redrafting writing allows children to have enough working memory free to concentrate on content when they write, whilst having the opportunity to improve their grammar, punctuation and spelling through weekly edit/redraft sessions.
Impact of this approach
We are proud of our strong, effective writing teaching at Chennestone. Children achieve good outcomes by the time they leave us and are able to access the challenges Key Stage 3 has to offer.
The Write Stuff
We use elements of Jane Considine's "The Write Stuff." This scheme is proven to help and support children irrespective of ability. Research shows that children learn best from each other and this is a key component in this scheme.
Children are exposed to an array of texts to widen their horizon. Each lesson is made up of "learning chunks." They help prepare children to write independently. Each learning chunk focuses on a different area so that children are equipped to produce an independent piece of writing. Lessons are made up of "sentence stacking" and "experiences" making it an innovative approach.