At Mengham Junior School we believe that all children should see themselves as writers and our curriculum aims to inspire this belief. It is essential for writing to have a clear purpose, audience and context to capture their imaginations. We encourage children to consider the impact of their writing on their reader and emphasise the link between reading and writing. Our aim is for children to be highly competent writers with a clear understanding of the technical skills needed. However, we also ensure that children have constant exposure to high quality language to ensure they have a real love for writing.
We are a talk for writing school and as a result, value the internalisation of text types. All children orally rehearse the text they are learning about which enables them to internalise the features and language patterns of a particular text. This deeper understanding of the text type they are learning is essential for effective writing.
We teach a variety of text types and place a strong emphasis on the purpose and audience for writing. We believe that children should be exposed to a variety of text types through both their writing lessons and guided reading. This approach enables children to see the link between reading and writing explicitly through unpicking and acquiring language in their guided reading sessions to then use in their writing. We ensure that children have opportunities to discuss their writing and the choices they have made as writers.
We formatively assess children’s writing regularly and plan clear learning journeys to identify the next steps needed. Each unit of writing begins with a ‘cold write’ to establish the understanding and subsequent next steps and ends with a ‘hot write’ which is an excellent opportunity to see how the skills taught have been embedded in their writing. We emphasise the importance of targets and children are expected to apply these taught skills in all pieces of writing.
Children are taught to edit and improve their work throughout the lesson and this is supported through feedback from the teacher as well as their peers. This approach further instils the concept of the writing process and ensures that they see this as an essential part.
During the units of work we:
- Hook the children into the writing unit and ensure the purpose for writing is clear
- Identify the next steps needed and teach the skills and techniques needed i.e grammatical terms, language features and organisation of the text
- Have high expectations of children and the need to apply the skills that have been taught
- Ensure children regularly re-read, edit and improve their writing throughout the lesson
- Support children in self-assessing their writing against the success criteria and their individual targets
- Provide children with opportunities for extended pieces of writing
- Model high quality writing through shared writes
- Provide children with a high quality language banks to use in their own writing (generated with the children)
- Provide children with a variety of examples of the text type they are using
- Consistently reinforce the link between writing and reading to support language generation and a clear understanding of the text type
- Give children the opportunity to prepare for writing through oral rehearsal of a text, role play and drama
- Ensure children are given opportunities to discuss the impact of their writing and the choices they have made as writers
- Provide regular feedback through marking to further improve their writing
- Provide appropriate levels of challenge so that all children can succeed and excel
- Develop and embed spelling, punctuation and grammar skills
- Provide toolkits for different writing styles generated with the children
Spelling, punctuation and grammar are essential elements of the writing process.
We aim to instil a love of reading for all children with focus on helping children to read fluently. We value the importance of high quality whole class text and have ensured that our selection of class books contain effective vocabulary.
Talk for reading
In addition to our whole class reading sessions, we also create opportunities to complete ‘Talk for Reading’ activities. These activities include selecting an extract from the class book to discuss with a focus on the choices the author has made. We consider how these choices have resulted in effective writing and children have the opportunity to ‘magpie’ ideas to use in their own writing. Additionally, we explore the hidden meanings within a text (inference) to enable children to have a deeper understanding.
Guided reading is taught at least four times a week across the school. Each group has a guided reading session with the teacher at least once a week. This is followed up with a book task the following session to answer questions, unpick language or infer meanings about their guided group text. During the other sessions, children work independently on a task focussing on an area of the reading curriculum. These additional independent tasks enable children to be exposed to a variety of different text types. Additionally, this is an ideal opportunity to make links to their writing unit i.e during a persuasive writing unit, children unpicked the features of a variety of persuasive texts in their guided reading session.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar
At Mengham Junior School, we firmly believe in the importance of children being proficient in spelling, punctuation and grammar. As a result, we ensure that children see these skills as an integral part to the writing process. Grammar and punctuation are embedded in our writing sessions to further highlight the importance and to give children frequent opportunities to apply these skills. Spelling sessions are taught five times a week for 15-20 minutes following the No Nonsense spelling scheme. We have high expectations of our children and believe that taught spellings should be applied successfully in their writing. We challenge children to look up unfamiliar language in a dictionary to further expand their vocabulary and spelling skills.
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We have developed English and maths booklets which are designed to enable parents to support their child at home with reading, spelling, mental maths, times tables and problem solving.