At Thomas Whitehead we believe that English underpins the whole school curriculum by developing our pupil’s ability to speak, listen, read and write for a wide range of purposes. Using language to learn and communicate, to think, explore and organise. We believe that all pupils should be able to confidently communicate knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. Through a wide exposure to writing genres pupils will be able to write accurately and coherently, whilst acquiring a broad range of vocabulary, clear understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by applying spelling patterns and rules taught in each year group.
Our aim is to develop imaginative and articulate learners who gain transferrable skills that can strengthen their learning in all areas of the curriculum. Through a book study approach, we endeavour to engage our boys and support our children with SEND by bringing the book to life. We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school. We want them to write clearly, accurately, coherently, and creatively, adapting their language and style for a range of meaningful contexts, purposes and audiences.
Our priorities are to raise standards in Writing for children with SEND and reluctant boys by providing exciting texts with strong characters through the Talk for Writing Approach. This methodology will ultimately develop skills in listening and speaking as well as language acquisition. The use of repetitive oral retelling, pictorial story mapping and accompanied actions will support children with SEND to retell with increasing accuracy.
We have judiciously selected a whole school approach to engage and excite our pupils through ‘Talk for Writing.’
What is Talk for Writing?
Please see link below for information about our approach.
Talk for Writing Powerpoint
Examples of T4W at Thomas Whitehead
Impact so far...
What our Teacher's say about Talk for Writing
"T4W has helped with the children's vocabulary development. It has also introduced the children to story structures and introduced them to new stories. Some children are using the story map during their imaginative play." - Preschool
"A positive addition to the curriculum. Children are reading the story map using different voices and expression. They are taking their learning home and are eager to orally retell." - Nursery
"The cold write supports planning and development of the toolkit. Children can see what 'good' looks like and are able to confidently retell." - Year 1
"Tailored for all abilities. Children are engaged and enjoy accompanying the story with actions." - Year 2
"Engaging model text, implementation of skills in other areas of the curriculum." - Year 3
"T4W is a great tool it helps children to build a toolkit to innovate their own story based on a model text." - Year 4
"The progression of the children from Gifted and Talented to children with SEND has been phenomenal. The children have internalised the story through memorising the story map. The children love this approach and so do the teachers" - Year 5
"It really allows all children to access. Children who struggle for ideas, or sentence structures are now learning quality texts verbatim." - Year 6
What our Children say about Talk for Writing
"You get to memorise and write stories. It is very different and we love to interact with stories through actions and the creation of the story map." Archie and Jhoshua Year 6
"The more you memorise, the more you can magpie ideas from the model text. This will help make your writing more effective. It has made a huge impact on the class especially me." - Year 5
"In the past month my class have been making up an amazing story based on, The Adventure at Sandy Cove. I really liked it when we got to do the actions and I am excited to make my own story." - Anna Year 4
"In talk for writing you can write stories with actions. We are learning rich vocabulary like 'worn out' or 'downcast" - Year 3
To promote writing across the school, we actively partake in national competitions such as ‘Young Writers Competition’ which is a published collection of work. A gallery of selected writing is displayed to celebrate writing throughout the school and to show age related expectations for each year group. Enrichment opportunities are planned through awareness days and workshops to promote writing. In Spring 2, all children will partake in an ‘Alice in Wonderland Dance Workshop’ to celebrate World Book Day.
Oracy is taught to develop language and vocabulary for different purposes such as debate, using tower hamlets language stems. In conjunction with oracy, children are provided with sentence stems and topic vocabulary in other areas of the curriculum evident in knowledge organisers to widen their terminology.
Catch up opportunities are given to support children with their writing composition, spellings and grammar through our weekly tutoring programme.
Early Reading and Spellings
We have a new phonics programme launched in January called ‘Little Wandle’ which rapidly teaches phonics across early years and KS1 to enable accelerated progress in reading and spellings. In KS2, we follow the ‘no nonsense spelling programme’ delivering a range of spelling strategies.
Throughout the school, we teach reading fluency during our guided reading sessions and supported comprehension. Standalone independent topic related comprehension is delivered weekly to ensure reading skills from the national curriculum are being applied independently. At home, children are assigned homework through sumdog which is a learning app that provides a fun and engaging platform for teaching Grammar and Spellings and Maths objectives. Reading is actively promoted by giving children a range of learning opportunities. Children are able to access Reading Plus in KS2 and Nessy in KS1 to support their phonological awareness, fluency and comprehension at home and in school.
The impact on our children is that they have the knowledge and skills to be able to write successfully for a purpose and audience. With the implementation of the writing sequence being established and taught in both key stages, children are becoming more confident writers and have the ability to plan, draft and edit their own work. By the end of Key Stage 2 children have developed a writer’s craft, they enjoy sustained writing and can manipulate language, grammar and punctuation to create effect. As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have also improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific language, grammar and punctuation.