Writing and Spelling

At Mawgan-in-Pydar School, we recognise that Oracy underpins the development of reading and writing.  Pupils continually develop confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills through English lessons, assemblies, drama workshops and other opportunities across the curriculum.

At Mawgan-in-Pydar we use the Talk for Writing approach, developed by Pie Corbett, because it is based on the principles of how people learn. Pupils move from from imitation to innovation to independent application and this is adapted to suit the needs of learners of any stage.

The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the class teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in pupils to write creatively and powerfully.

A core reading spine of quality fiction, poetry and non-fiction is selected for all children to experience and draw upon. A whole-school plan with imaginative units of work guides teachers with their planning and preparation so they can focus on adapting their teaching for children’s learning.

The key phases of the Talk for Writing process, as outlined above, enable children to imitate orally the language they need for a particular topic, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version.

At Mawgan-in-Pydar Primary School, we aim to encourage a love for and confidence in writing.  

We aim for pupils to:

  •        Develop effective composition skills by articulating, communicating and organising ideas.
  •        Write down ideas fluently.
  •        Demonstrate an awareness of audience and purpose.
  •        Widen their knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.
  •        Develop fluent, legible and eventually speedy handwriting.

Pupils are taught to develop their competence in the two dimensions of transcription and composition. Opportunities to develop pupil’s literacy skills are capitalised upon in all areas of the curriculum.

In all key stages, writing skills are developed not only in English lessons, but across the curriculum; the same high standard of writing is expected from the children, regardless of the subject area. 

As with reading, writing for pleasure and enjoyment is something to be encouraged.  Opportunities for creative writing should be spontaneous and accessible to children in both English lessons and elsewhere in the timetable.  For EYFS, there are opportunities to write freely, through their structured play, both inside and outside.

Handwriting, spelling, vocabulary and grammar:

We follow the ‘Penpals’ scheme for letter formation.  Handwriting is taught with the aim of developing fluency.  By KS2 pupils should be using joined handwriting throughout their independent writing.

Through phonics and other writing lessons, pupils are taught to print in KS1.  Pupils are taught to join their writing as soon as they display correct letter formation and the necessary control of their writing.

Pupils struggling with letter formation, pencil grip or the fine motor skills required for proficient handwriting, are targeted for intervention sessions or given aids to help them to achieve this goal.

Activities for teaching spelling are varied and engaging and are developed through use of spelling journals.  Year Six use the Nelson Spelling revision materials daily, in order to revisit spelling patterns and rules from the KS2 programme of study.  Elsewhere in the school, ‘Shakespeare and More’ word lists are used to plan and deliver spelling patterns to each year group, from Year 1 upwards.

Statutory word lists for KS1 and KS2 are taught and practised for homework and during English lessons.  Spelling investigations for spelling patterns are used to engage children in their learning.

Vocabulary is explicitly taught and developed across the curriculum as well as occurring incidentally. Our teachers don't just understand how children learn to read, they also know how important it is that children read to learn. Children are encouraged to notice words and are interested and curious about them. They dig down to the roots of words and develop knowledge of word parts and word families. Children then apply their 'new' vocabulary in their speaking and writing.

Grammar coverage is incorporated into the Talk for Writing process. Curriculum coverage is ensured through a thorough progression map. These objectives are assessed on a termly basis. Pupils are taught to use the correct grammatical terms, enabling them to discuss their reading and writing with accuracy and confidence.

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