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Talk for Writing

In writing one of our school improvement targets is to further improve and develop writing. In order to do this we have joined a nationwide project called ‘Talk for Writing’, which has a proven record of accelerating children’s learning. ‘Talk for Writing’ was developed by the author Pie Corbett. It is a fun, creative yet also rigorous approach to develop young writers.

‘Talk for Writing’ is all about enjoying and sharing stories. Children learn to tell a story off by heart. They tell the story with expression and actions. Once a story is learnt the children are encouraged to adapt it to make it their own, for example by changing the characters or the setting. You may have heard the children talking about the key stages: imitation, innovation and invention.

Imitation - Telling a story

A text is introduced and read to the children; together the class learn to tell the story.

To help the children remember the text a multi-sens

ory approach is used:

- A visual story map

- Actions

- A focus on lively, animated expression

As children learn the stories word for word, they develop the use of specific sentence structures, which they can then use in their own writing. The principle is that if a child can tell a story, they will be able to write a story.

Innovation – Changing a story

In this stage the original text is adapted by the children. This could start with a simple change of character or for the older children it may involve telling the story from a different view point. Children will make changes to their story map and rehearse retelling their innovated story orally.

Children then write out the innovated story in manageable sections. Pupils receive feedback at this stage in the form of ‘Green is Great’ comments (areas of success) and ‘Think Pink’ comments (areas to develop).

Invention - Writing my own story

The final stage is the invention stage where the children use all the skills they have learnt over the last 3 weeks to write an independent piece.

There is the freedom to draw upon their own ideas and experiences, or they can ‘hug closely’ to the shared text should they need to.