At Easton our overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. Literacy relies on “a range of complex skills. It includes the word-level skills spelling and word-reading and the text-level skills reading comprehension and writing composition.” EEF Improving Literacy in Key Stage 1 Guidance Report 2021.
At Easton we aim to teach our children to read easily, fluently and with good understanding and to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information. We will help children to acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for writing and spoken language through engaging with high quality texts.
Teachers are equipped with the skills to deliver writing lessons that build on prior learning using a mixed approach of Talk 4Writing to develop oracy, using dual coding and model texts, The Write Stuff (Jane Considine) to develop the vocabulary and grammar skills required, and Big Write, allowing plenty of opportunities for extended and independent writing allowing children to put into practice the vocabulary that they have developed. Pupils at Easton Primary School will use The Write Stuff Writing Rainbow to support their understanding and development of writing.
This will equip children to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. They will be encouraged to use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas. We would expect our children to leave Easton Primary School competent in the arts of writing for different contexts, speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate. Our teachers use the Learning Pit as a metacognition tool to allow pupils to feel able to challenge themselves and verbalise when they need support.
Teachers will use the National Curriculum objectives and strategic evaluation of cohort data analysis to plan outcomes for literacy units in order to drive progress and attainment for our pupils in every strand of writing.
At Easton Primary School, we use a combination of Talk4Writing, The Write Stuff and Big Write approaches to writing whereby teachers skilfully plan a literacy unit which embeds core concepts from the writing curriculum into a unit for the children to complete, allowing them to demonstrate the mastery of the new knowledge and skills gained over the course of the topic. Writing units are often cross-curricular in order to allow children to embed knowledge from other areas of the curriculum.
Teachers have had official training in both Talk4Writing and The Write Stuff (Jane Considine) and have developed a hybrid curriculum specific to the needs of our pupils. The Talk4Writing approach allows teachers to choose a model text for pupils based on their data analysis of the needs of the cohort in addition to oral rehearsal and model dual coding the language structures and vocabulary to be successful which reduces cognitive load (Zone of Proximal Development, Vygotsky). Teachers will use a Cold Task and Hot Task to determine needs of pupils and ensure progress from unit to unit. Pupil’s Hot Tasks will show writing skills and knowledge expectations consistently implemented over time.
The Write Stuff
The Write stuff also insists teachers will use dual coding to develop high quality pathways to success in a unit overview for pupils allowing them to see the genre specific tools and styles of writing. Children will also use the FANTASTICS, GRAMMARISTICS and BOOMBASTICS to develop their writing knowing what writing lens to apply to genres. Teachers and pupils will discuss these as such to enable pupils to evaluate their writing success and make improvements. Each unit begins with an experience day and the pupils are encouraged to engage in drama activities and oral discussions around a stimulus for writing to generate vocabulary and excitement before work begins (Mantle of the Expert, Experiential Learning Theory, Kolb).
Further to this, pupils will use model texts from well known authors, high quality text extracts and those modelled by the teacher to understand the mode of writing they are developing and know how to be successful in creating their own. Teachers plan for daily opportunities to read with children and develop their oracy with a combination of strategies including reading stories daily, oracy in guided reading and daily poetry reading. Teachers use progression documents and target tracker gap analysis in order to plan to develop children’s skills in spelling, handwriting, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and composition.
Pupils learn to be confident writers who can reason, apply their knowledge and persevere in writing challenges to reach the solution. Pupils are given plenty of opportunities to develop their oracy skills wherever possible and are challenged to use new vocabulary in their writing and cross-curricularly.
Children have regular handwriting lessons (a minimum of once a week) following the Teach Handwriting programme, handwriting patterns are taught in letter families in order to develop the correct muscle memory and reduce cognitive load. Children are expected to use the handwriting patterns that they have been taught in their writing but this is not strictly enforced in order not to overwhelm children when they are learning more complex or abstract concepts in writing. Children are all expected to use the handwriting patterns learnt when they are ‘publishing’ their hot tasks.