Reading into Writing
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” – Phillip Pullman
At Boundary, we call English ‘Reading into Writing’ as we firmly believe that reading is the key focal point of good writing – it encourages curious writers who use a range ambitious vocabulary and written techniques to create purposeful final pieces. Each genre is taught through a journey approach, where the very first piece of writing children complete is a pre-assessment (cold write) and the last piece of writing in the journey is the ‘hot write’ – a piece of writing that has been researched, modelled, planned, drafted and edited. Throughout the journey, children explore the genre by reading lots of different examples, look at grammar and punctuation and spelling linked to the writing and learn to plan, draft and edit their work. Our aim is to provide a range of cross-curricular writing opportunities that allow the children to have a purpose for their writing and to develop not only their written skills but to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of key learning concepts in other subjects.
The school believes that English skills are vital to the development of children so they are prepared for their future life. A broad and balanced English programme, using objectives from the National Curriculum 2014, determines the skills that each year group and Key Stage must cover. A range of genres studied and promoted. A variety of resources are used to promote a reading and writing culture. Children are given a range of writing opportunities including the use of paired, group and independent writing tasks.
The aims of teaching writing in our school are to develop pupils who:
- Show high levels of achievement and exhibit very positive attitudes towards writing;
- Use and understand language as speakers, readers and writers.
- Are competent, confident and independent in the use of language in their writing.
- Have an awareness of different audiences and purposes for writing.
- Apply their grammatical knowledge in their writing.
- Apply their phonetical and spelling knowledge in their writing.
- Apply the English language in all areas of the curriculum.
- At Boundary we call our English session ‘Reading into Writing’.
- Our school provides daily Reading into Writing lessons that are progressive and support skill development.
- The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum is followed to ensure continuity and progression from entering Nursery, moving on to Reception Class & then through to the National Curriculum in KS1 & KS2.
- We understand the importance of children being fully immersed in the genre they are going to write so that they can identify the features needed and know exactly what they need to write.
- Across both Key Stages, teachers plan a sequence of lessons that we call a ‘journey’. The journey sequence is as follows:
- Cold Write (baseline assessment).
- Immersion in texts and genre. Children explore a wide range of the genre so that they can see similarities and differences.
- Identifying features.
- Teaching grammar lessons that fir with the genre.
- Teacher modelling how to write the specific genre.
- Children have the opportunity to use the teacher modelling to improve a WABOLL (What A Bad One Looks Like).
- Plan piece of writing.
- Draft writing.
- Edit work based on Teacher/peer feedback using marking codes.
- Final piece of writing completed – Hot Write.
- At Boundary we teach specific Grammar sessions, which are then applied in children’s writing.
- Children are taught the spellings from the National Curriculum for their year group. We use Spelling Shed to support lessons.
- Handwriting sessions are taught regularly to the children and follow a cursive programme.
- Assessment for learning strategies are used on a daily basis. These will allow a picture to be built up of the pupils’ progress, any areas of strength or weakness which can then be addressed in teachers’ planning.
- Assessment of learning is completed termly. Children complete independent writing pieces within a unit of work, which are assessed against our writing criteria.
- Teachers will have at least 6 pieces of work through the academic year.
- Analysis of the data impacts upon teachers planning so pupils’ needs can be addressed.
- Moderation of teacher assessment is also completed termly in order to ensure that judgements are accurate.
- Moderation of writing is also carried out with other schools to check for accuracy.
- At the end of KS1 and KS2 teachers use the Teacher Assessment Framework to report Teacher assessment.
- 2018-2019 Writing data:
- EYFS GLD – 64.6%
- KS1 Writing – 76.5% (GDS 17.6%)
- KS2 Writing – 78% (GDS 14%)
This follows on from our Phonics work. The children are taught to read and spell age appropriate words from the National Curriculum and are tested on these each week. These structured spelling sessions include handwriting, revision of previous spelling patterns and the spelling and understanding of new words. We use Spelling Shed across the school with each child having their own log-in. Here, the children can practise the spelling focus for the week as well as play games to strengthen their spelling and understand rules and patterns. Children are encouraged to log in at home but are also given the opportunity to use school iPads to access their accounts.
Right from the start, children are taught to tune into sounds which they hear in both the classroom and outdoor environment. They learn how to listen through story, games, rhymes and talk. The Jolly Phonics scheme is used alongside Letters and Sounds. The children are taught to segment and blend words moving onto letter recognition and formation when ready. As the children develop at different rates they then join differentiated daily phonics groups that are specific to their needs. Some children receive additional phonics sessions during the day if this is required.
The teaching of phonics at Boundary is a curriculum priority. This is because good phonic skills ensure that the children make good progress with reading, writing and spelling.
The daily phonics sessions are very focused and they include a mixture of the following:
- Revision of previous sounds (learned with actions).
- Introduction of new sound and action.
- Using sound button actions to read the sound in words.
- Dictated sentence-the children write a sentence dictated by the adult.
- Fine motor skill activity-this helps improve letter formation and handwriting.
- Memory activity-this helps to improve the children’s memory especially when they are learning spellings.
- Alphabet chant.
- Games linked to new sounds.
Celebrating Writing at Boundary
At Boundary we value writing and aim for all our children to become enthusiastic writers who can write for lots of different purposes and for a variety of audiences. As well as daily Reading into Writing sessions we try to provide the children with other writing activities throughout the year:
- Our local author, Dan Worsley, regularly visits our school to provide writing workshops. This year he will be working with Year 3 through to Year 6 to engage children with their writing and to give them opportunities to produce high quality pieces of fiction. In Years 5 and 6, Dan exposed the children to one of his own suspense story openers and discussed with the children his vocabulary choices and why he thought they made the writing effective. The children were then given the time to write their own suspense openers using what they had learned.
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