The Learning Journey
We teach writing in carefully-structured units of work that take children through a purposeful learning journey. Teachers share the big picture of the unit with the children - the 'reason to write', which includes a clear audience (reader), purpose and product. All the lessons in each unit are carefully planned and sequenced to feed into the bigger picture. Writing skills that will help with the final piece of work are modelled and practised. By the end of the unit, we aim for the children to have the skills they need for successful independent writing of a final piece.
We use a wide range of starting points for writing, including high quality texts, pictures, films, curriculum links, visits and events, music, and the children's own interests.
The writing process within each unit is not always linear, but will include the following steps, in line with National Curriculum expectations:
- Pre-writing: exploring model texts and generating ideas;
- Practising key writing skills including grammar and precise use of vocabulary;
- Planning in an age-appropiate way, thinking about the audience and purpose;
- Drafting: getting the ideas down;
- Evaluating and editing; reviewing and reworking to improve how well the writing meets its purpose;
- Proof-reading: checking for accuracy, including accurate spelling and punctuation;
- Presenting and publishing in a way that can be shared and suits the purpose and audience.
Units of work may vary in length, depending on the needs of the children.
To help the children make links between their learning in different units of work, we link each unit to one or more of the following four purposes for writing (based on the work of Michael Tidd and Miss Wilson):
The writing learning journey is captured on our working walls, which the children refer back to as they write. We are very proud of the progress our children are making with their writing!
We teach handwriting using an evidence-based approach that builds the children's skills as they progress through the school.
In Reception and Year 1, the emphasis is on correct letter formation and positioning. We also spend time developing the fine and gross motor skills that our children need in order to be successful when writing letters correctly on a line. We teach a simple, unjoined style for each letter, and draw attention to links between the different letter families.
From Year 2 upwards, children are taught to join their letters using slope joins and bridge joins. Handwriting practice focuses on common letter patterns, and also on trickier joins. We emphasise the need for legibility, and encourage our children to experiment with different combinations of joins until they find a style that helps them to write fluently and neatly. We do not ask children to join every letter, as the evidence shows that this detracts from the legibility and fluency of writing.