We aim to develop the children’s ability to produce well structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader.
Teachers model writing strategies and the use of phonics and spelling strategies in shared writing sessions. Guided writing sessions are used to target specific needs of both groups and individuals.
Children are given frequent opportunities in school to write in different contexts using quality texts as a model. They write for different purposes and audiences, including for “real life” reasons. Examples include letters of complaint, letters of application, thank you letters, match reports etc.
Children may be asked to produce their writing on their own or as part of a group. In groups, individually and in whole-class situations, children will engage with talk partners to discuss ways to improve and up-level writing. A Success Criteria (often generated as a class) helps children to meet given learning intentions and will be displayed in each Literacy lesson.
On a regular basis, children are set a “Talk Time Home Learning Task” in which they discuss a given topic, genre or idea with people at home. This discussion is aimed at preparing the children to become better writers, after all, if they can’t say it, they can’t write it. Often the talk related task will provide the basis for the “Big Write”, a weekly, unaided silent writing task.
The “Big Write” and other written tasks are marked with positive comments and “next step” comments, helping children to understand how they can improve their writing further. One piece of assessed independent writing per half term is kept in Writing Portfolios to monitor progression
Children are encouraged to write for real purposes; work is put up on display; whole school writing days and themes are arranged; recognition and rewards (see below) are used; national competitions are entered and promoted and children read their work in assemblies.
At Ettington we use the Nelson handwriting scheme: Children will learn in Reception to form letters with a lead in stroke ready for joining in Key Stage 1. Children work hard to receive a pen licence in Key Stage 2, encouraging them to take pride and respect in their work.
Grammar and Spelling
Spelling, grammar and punctuation are taught discreetly and as part daily literacy lessons.
Spelling lists are generated with reference to Letters and Sounds, Phase 1-6 Phonics, National Curriculum word lists and learning intentions, Grammar for Writing and Support for Spelling documentation.
VCOP (Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation) resources are available in every classroom. Additionally, children are encouraged to add new and exciting vocabulary to the “Wow Words” board in each class. Dictionaries and thesauruses are available as the need arises.
Written work is marked in accordance with the Marking Policy and will include positive comments as well as reference to “next steps”. Children will be given time to read, understand and respond to comments left on work by teachers. This might include sharing the comments with a partner, reading and initialling comments, responding to questions, editing/improving or adding to work and/or making alterations to work. Next Step comments might include example prompts, questions and scaffolding prompts.
Children are encouraged to self asses their own work against a given Success Criteria (or elements of it). This may be done orally or in writing (eg through the use of “tickled pink pens”, marking ladders and colour coding). Following agreed rules, children will at times mark the work of their peers, commenting on positive aspects of writing and ways in which improvements can be made.