At Haughton St. Giles C.E. Primary School, we strive to help our children develop into articulate and imaginative communicators, who are well-equipped with the basic skills they need to become life-long learners; reading and writing is key in this.
We aim to ensure all of our children develop a genuine love of language and the written word, through a text-based approach; this links closely to the way we teach reading, as the text that we use in writing lessons, where possible, is the same text as the one that we use in reading lessons. Careful links are made across the curriculum to ensure that children’s English learning is relevant and meaningful: where possible linking our reading, writing and the topic that we are covering in History and Geography. We ensure that children develop an understanding of how widely writing is used in everyday life and, therefore, how important and useful the skills are that they are learning.
Our intentions in writing are for children to:
Children will develop the skills to read, write, speak and listen
Write for a purpose, considering the direct impact of their writing upon the reader
See themselves as real writers
Identify and use rich and ambitious vocabulary
Acquire the ability to organise and plan their written work
Our whole curriculum is shaped by our school aims in encouraging all children, irrespective of background or ability, to flourish academically and creatively, thereby fulfilling their God-given potential so that they achieve their dreams.
We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children. Through our Literacy Learning Pathway, We aim to develop children’s ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the purpose is made clear and which impacts upon and engages the interest of the reader. Teachers clearly model writing skills and document the learning journey which is shared with the children and used as a resource on working walls to support independent learning. Where appropriate within the learning journey, guided writing sessions are used to target specific needs of both groups and individuals.
We teach writing through a text-based approach, which allows us to meet the needs of the children that we are teaching – through choosing a high quality, age-appropriate text that will engage, inspire and motivate. As well as reading and writing a wide variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry pieces, children are given opportunities to develop their skills in writing in different genres alongside writing for a purpose and being seen as real writers.
Pupils are taught specific and relevant punctuation and grammar skills as part of their learning pathway, allowing opportunities to identify, practice and consolidate grammatical understanding, whilst also being immersed in a text. Children then apply the grammar and punctuation skills that they have learnt in their extended pieces of writing. Where relevant, pupils are also taught discrete punctuation and grammar skills, appropriate to their year group, to ensure full coverage of National Curriculum expectations.
Spelling is taught regularly in focused sessions within each class. Learning to recognise the high frequency words on sight is crucial in developing fluency and accuracy in reading and then writing. High frequency words are the words that appear most often in printed materials. Some of the high frequency words are referred to as ‘red words’ (in RWI) or ‘tricky words’, as the children are unable to use their phonic knowledge to decode every part of the word. Once children are confident in reading and spelling high frequency words, they are taught spelling rules and are encouraged to apply these rules in their writing. Spellings are sent home as part of the children’s homework; the pupils are then tested on these words in their weekly spelling tests.
Our aim is that by the time children leave our school they will:
Make good or better progress from their KS1 results
Have developed high quality vocabulary skills, both in their spoken and written language
Have a love for writing
Be able to produce written work in all areas of the curriculum to a high standard
Be confident to write for a range of different purposes
Literacy Learning Pathway
At Haughton St. Giles our children are taught to write through our Literacy Learning Pathway. This provides a consistent and structured pathway to writing throughout the school.
Purpose and Impact
At the beginning of the unit of literacy, incorporating reading and writing, children are introduced to the purpose and impact of their learning – the reason for the writing they will complete and the impact their writing must have on the reader.
Reading and the Model Text
Children explore the model written text within their reading, focusing upon new and powerful vocabulary as well as answering key questions about the text to develop their comprehension skills and understanding of the purpose and impact of the text. This text may also model to the children what their end piece of writing will be based upon and provides a vehicle for the children to explore the different text and sentence features that they need to use and learn.
Teaching of Punctuation and Grammar (GPS or SPaG)
Any elements of grammar or punctuation that are needed for the particular writing purpose are taught as within the learning journey. There are other elements of punctuation and grammar that are required in all types of writing or need exploring in more detail and these maybe taught through additional discrete sessions.
Once the children have learnt the skills they will need, they are taught to plan their writing. This will often involve planning text features, structure and making some high level and quality vocabulary choices. The process of planning before writing splits up some of the thinking required.
Writing the 1st Draft
The next step is for the children to write a first draft of their final end product.
Edit and Improve
The children then use success criteria along with a combination of whole class/individual feedback, as well as self and peer assessment to work out what they have done really well and which bits of their work need improving.
This is where the children get to add the finishing touches to their writing ensuring that they have produced a piece of work they can be truly proud of.