At Crick Primary School we love to write! Learning to write is one of the most important things that your child will do at primary school. Good writing also gives your child a voice to share their ideas with the world and develop and explore their own personality.
The National Curriculum divides writing into two broad areas: transcription and comprehension. Transcription covers the technical aspects of writing: handwriting, spelling, grammar & punctuation. Composition is about sharing their ideas and thinking about the purpose for their writing. Learning to write can be a tricky business, because good writing involves balancing all these different parts. There’s a lot for a child to juggle.
Fortunately, learning to write is also a lot of fun, and there are all sorts of enjoyable ways we engage and encourage good writing at Crick Primary School.
Writing at Crick:
Please click here to see our progression documents:
Talk for Writing
At Crick we use Talk for Writing as our main teaching of writing . Pie Corbett explains a bit more about his approach and explains what Talk for Writing is. Take a look!
We love to really immerse the children in a text, learning it, acting it out and pulling it apart; reading as a reader and reading as a writer. This enables the children to develop their understanding of the pattern and rhythm of writing for different genres as well as being exposed to high quality vocabulary and texts. From this the children are engaged, excited and ready to write their own versions within different genres of writing.
Here is a brief Overview of Talk for Writing:
Phase 1 – Imitation
Learning stories orally is a powerful tool for helping the child to internalise the language. Oral learning of texts involves the children in hearing and speaking the text and start to understand the rhythm of a text. These are taught in a multi-sensory manner, using story maps (visual representation) and actions (kinaesthetic). You may see your child bring these maps home to learn as part of their homework.
Phase 2 – Innovation
Once the children have heard, spoken, read and explored a model text, internalising it into their long-term working memory, then they are ready for the second phase which is known as ‘INNOVATION’. This is when the children are helped to create their own new version of the known text. Young children and those who struggle with composition start by making changes to their maps and then retelling their new version. Then the teacher works helps to develop the children's ideas, alter their maps and retell and refine their new versions.
Phase 3 – Independent Application
This is where children are expected to write more independently, drawing on all their learning and letting their imagination go wild. When writing, less confident children may well rely on the initial model but more confident writers will draw upon many different sources. By this stage, the underlying patterns and structures begin to become ‘transferable’ so that they can be used in different situations for the young writer’s own purposes.
Spellings are tricky and are often remembered for a spelling test rather than keeping these in the children’s long term memory. We want to help children be able to learn spellings and embed them into their long term memory through retrieval practice. Retrieval practice is a technique where children recall what they have learnt. In simple terms, whilst we focus a lot of our time helping children get knowledge into their heads, retrieval practice is all about getting that knowledge back out there - strengthening retention and encouraging young learners to actively engage with, examine, and use what they have learnt.
Therefore, your child will initially be sent home 5 spellings following a spelling pattern. Each week 5 spellings will be added to the initial 5, until KS1 have 15 spellings and KS2 have 20 spellings in total. The children will then lose the first 5 spellings and another 5 spellings will be added, keeping 15/20 spellings in total; only ever having 5 new spellings each week. The idea is that the children will improve, or retain their score each week, building confidence and internalising the spellings. The children will have retrieval practice every Friday and we ask that you help your child practise learning the spellings throughout the week. There are suggestions on ways to practise spellings on our website, so please do check them out. Spellings will be stuck into or written into your child’s reading record books weekly.
Please see below the common exception words;
Here are some game ideas if you would like to learn the words at home.
At Crick, we strive to ensure all our pupils achieve:
- Fluent, legible and speedy handwriting that can be performed automatically, so that the attention of the brain is on the content of the writing.
- The stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation.
- Competence in transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition.
- The ability to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
- A comfortable and efficient pencil hold and working position.
We do this by using the Kinetic Letters handwriting programme.
Kinetic Letters is a unique handwriting programme that believes good, fast and fluent handwriting underpins success in every curriculum area. It is based on a physical programme where children learn handwriting and letter formation through movement and multisensory experiences, developing core body strength. Learning letters by movement helps writing and concentration and also makes handwriting automatic, freeing up space in the working memory for other learning.
The Kinetic Letters programme uses four main threads:
- Making bodies stronger
- Learning the letters
- Holding the pencil
- Flow and fluency
It enables children to develop legible handwriting that is produced quickly and automatically. With the development of automaticity, handwriting becomes a valuable tool and not a hindrance to learning.
Every class in EYFS and KS1 takes part in a Kinetic Letters lesson everyday which focuses on letter formation and then body strength and pencil grip are continuously reinforced throughout the school day in every lesson.
In this programme the children are introduced to Skip (Scared Monkey) and Bounce (Brave monkey) These monkeys help children know where letters start and which family they belong to.
Here are Skip and Bounce:
Here are the letter families the children will talk about and hopefully practise at home:
The programme then moves onto joining which is introduced in Year 2 and developed throughout KS2.
When your child can join all their letters and they have tall ascenders and long decenders with a legible style, and can show this in all areas of the curriculum, they will be awarded a pen licence. This can be as early as Year 3. The children will be awarded their pen licence in our Celebration assembly and then the children can write in pen in all their work. Here is a sneak peak of a pen licence. When will you get yours?