Writing is both essential to thinking and learning and enjoyable in its own right. As children begin to learn the main rules and conventions of written English they learn how it can be used to communicate meaning in different ways.
Teaching and Learning
It is important that children learn to write independently from an early age. At Woodrow First School and Nursery all children are treated as writers and from the moment they make marks and attach meaning to them they are encouraged to regard themselves as writers.
Children’s writing is valued whilst at the same time used as a basis for future teaching and learning.
During Foundation Stage the daily teaching of phonics is used systematically to support writing by following the Letters and Sounds programme reinforced with Jolly Phonics mnemonics. Letter formation is introduced using the interactive Penpals scheme. Daily phonics continues in Key Stage 1 with an additional focus on developing spelling and fluent handwriting to build up accuracy and speed. Through Key Stage 2 children continue to work on building autonomous strategies for spelling and correcting their own errors. They also continue to develop their handwriting and presentation skills. From an early stage there is a progressive emphasis on the skills of planning, drafting, revising and proof reading.
Organisation of teaching
Writing is an integral part of most curricular areas. We expect children to write in a range of cross curricular contexts and it is an integral part of our Mantle of the Expert learning. The process of writing is taught during dedicated sessions where the work of Alan Peat is used primarily to structure content and progression. Skills based sessions focussing on sentence structure and grammar are part of the Woodrow weekly writing “diet”.
The writing environment
Our classrooms and the school environment in general send out a message that writing is important and necessary and an activity that children will want to take part in.
Children need access to a variety of resources and support material. These include a range of the following:
-different types/sizes/colours of paper
-a variety of writing implements such as pencils, crayons, chalks, pens and brushes of different sizes, thicknesses and colours
-staplers, hole punches, rulers, scissors, glue and tape
-models of writing and ideas such as story starters displayed
-word lists/cards/banks and learning walls which include relevant vocabulary
-dictionaries and thesauruses
-role play resources
Children’s writing is displayed in every class and around school in order to enhance its status. Writing is also shared with the wider community for example on blogs and newsletters. In fact Ann Mroz, the editor of The Times Education Supplement, visited our school recently as a result of seeing a child’s writing at a conference!