Writing at Woodrow
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.
At Woodrow we strive to enthuse, inspire and equip our children to become skilled, fluent writers. We want them to communicate knowledge, ideas and emotions confidently through writing. As outlined in the aims of the National Curriculum 2014, we want our learners to, “write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in a range of contexts, purpose and audiences.”
To do this, effective composition is dependent on the ability to articulate and communicate well. We aim for children to hear and use high quality talk and discussion so that they acquire a knowledge of varied vocabulary for writing and use grammar effectively.
Also important is the development of transcription. We expect children to place importance on spelling; effectively applying patterns and rules they learn in each year group. They are encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing by developing a neat and clear handwriting style - moving to joined writing as appropriate as they move through Key Stage 2.
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. Writing is an integral part of most curricular areas and it is a key feature of our Mantle of the Expert learning. However, the process of writing is taught during dedicated sessions where "The Write Stuff" programme is used to structure content and progression.
We teach writing
"The Write Stuff"- is an approach to the teaching of writing developed by Jane Considine which brings clarity to the mechanics of writing. It utilises a method called "Sentence Stacking" whereby children are taught to effectively write sentences that 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 three chunks:
1. Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
2. Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
3. Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.
At the end of the teaching sequence children from Year 1 onwards will plan, write and edit their own work by creating their own plot point or shape structure based around the specific genre of writing under study.
Using the Write Stuff in Nursery and Reception.
In Foundation Stage ‘The Write Stuff’ rainbow allows the children to focus on key areas to support their knowledge of the world around them, their own experiences and the development of vocabulary. With a focus on communication the Write Stuff strengthens talk and nurtures language as the children’s ideas develop.
In Nursery new and exciting vocabulary linked to their learning is introduced through ‘Grandma Fantastic’ allowing children to experience a wider range of words and deepen their knowledge of different experiences and topics. This is accompanied by short, adapted sessions linked to suggested books. Within these children are allowed time to focus on their own ideas and encouraged to make marks with modelled adult writing alongside.
In Reception this continues by following the planned Write Stuff sessions and allows own vocabulary choice, development of story maps and the understanding of story structure. The recording of children’s ideas is adapted to their own need and ensures inclusivity within the writing process.
In Nursery and Reception, the books explored are carefully chosen to link to ongoing Mantle stories therefore enhancing and deepening their knowledge and vocabulary to support the class, Mantle.
Spelling and grammar
Initially, through the teaching of phonics, the skills of segmenting and blending are used by younger children to sound out a word and spell it accordingly. Overtime, when children become familiar with a number of different phonemes, spellings become more accurate.
In 2022-2023 we have adopted the "Little Wandle" phonics programme so children in Reception are learning the letter formation associated with the scheme and we aim to continue with this as the children move through school. Other year groups currently use the appropriate "Penpals" letter formation and joining strokes.
During their time at Woodrow;
Children are inspired to write, take pleasure in writing and see themselves as writers.
Children's creativity is valued and writers craft is encouraged.
Children write for different audiences and purpose.
Children write fluently using appropriate vocabulary, accurate spellings and grammatically correct structures [matched to age expectations].
Over time, children know more, remember more and are able to do more as writers.