What is 'Talk for Writing'?
At St Ignatius we aim to raise the attainment of our pupils in writing through an engaging and enriching curriculum. In order to support this, we use 'Talk for Writing', which has a proven record for accelerating children's learning.
Watch the video below to hear Pie Corbett explain the purpose and power of teaching writing through the Talk for Writing approach.
Talk for Writing consists of three phases:
Phase 1: Imitation: telling the story
The Imitation phase is when the children really get to know what text type they are going to be learning about. They learn a model text off by heart using a 'story map to help them. Then they look at the structure, the language and other features that they need to know for their own writing.
Phase 2: Innovation: changing a story
The Innovation phase is when the teacher uses shared writing (writing as a class) to create a text that is very similar to the one they have just learnt in the imitation phase. Younger writers or less confident writers may need to stay close to the structure and vocabulary used in the model text to build confidence and understanding. More confident writers will come away from the model text and want to explore their own ideas or ways of writing. Within this phase we would actively encourage children to 'magpie' good ideas/vocabulary to use in their own writing.
Phase 3: Independent application: writing my own story
This phase is when the children are expected to write independently and apply the skills they have learned. Their final piece of writing is called 'the assessed write'. This is where, teachers work with the children to use their success criteria for the given text, helping the pupils focus on their individual targets which focus on aspects that they need to apply. This is then followed by an opportunity to edit and publish their work.
How and why can 'Talk for Writing' benefit pupils at St Ignatius?
Talk for Writing is powerful because it enables children to imitate orally the language they need for a particular topic before reading and analysing it and then writing for their own version. Talk for Writing totally depends on the use of quality literature. At St Ignatius we have carefully chosen the texts for each year group, in order to support the 'Talk for Writing'. Teachers can use these alongside 'model texts', also known as a WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like), to develop pupils' understanding of unfamiliar words and ambitious vocabulary, which in turn will improve writing attainment.
How can parents help?
Talk for Writing begins and ends with enjoying stories and reading books. Children who read for pleasure are more likely to succeed as writers because of the way in which reading develops language development. At St Ignatius, we encourage all parents to read with their children every day, whatever their age or ability. Your child may bring home a story map to learn from time to time as part of their home learning. Encourage your child to use their story map to retell the story they are learning in class.
Talk for Writing Actions
Your child should start to use actions when telling a story, for example an action to show 'next', 'afterwards' etc. This is because the children are taught to use these actions, as it can help them remember the story, the structure and also the appropriate choice of vocabulary. All of this then helps them articulate their story clearly, which in turn impacts upon their level of writing in their final piece of work.