We want to help all of our children to develop into creative writers and it is through the Talk for Writing approach that we believe we can achieve this. Through its multi-sensory and interactive teaching, it enables children of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of stories and varying text types. The activities used include:
- Listening to and learning texts and stories;
- Taking part in drama and role-play;
- Drawing and story mapping;
- Using exploratory and presentational talk:
- Collecting words and language strategies;
- Building their working knowledge of grammar;
- Taking part in debating and discussion.
Talk for Writing is an innovative approach to teaching writing developed by the literacy specialist and writer Pie Corbett. It uses high quality model texts to introduce the children to different story/text types, which they then learn off by heart and scrutinise with a writer’s critical eye
They learn the underlying structures and the process of planning using story maps. They also learn about the key strategies for creating interesting characters and settings and how to use a range of sentence types and literary devices to create different effects including suspense or adventure.
Talk for writing has three key phrases which work together to develop knowledge, confidence and independence in writing.
Imitation and Immersion
Talk for Writing units begin with a hook which fires up the creativity and imagination of the children before they are immersed in the model text.
During this phase, the children learn the text using actions and story maps. The key to success for the children is that they internalise the text type through repetition and rehearsal. They explore the structure of the narrative and investigate the different characters, settings and events. They also begin to look closely at the language used and the effects this has on the reader. The children ‘read as a reader’ and ‘read as a writer’ during this process. The classroom becomes a dynamic, interactive resource filled with word ideas, sentence types and language tools collected by the children to use in their stories later.
During this phase, the teacher and the children begin to change aspects to model the text using their own ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and develop new ideas for descriptive language whilst sticking closely to the underlying structure.
It is during this phase that the children work using their toolkits. The toolkits, based on the features and ingredients of the model text, remind children of the different strategies they could use in their stories and helps them to see the progress they are making.
During the invent stage, the children plan and write their own story based on the text type they have been learning. They experiment with the ideas and begin to explore their own style of writing – they are able to do this by hugging the original model text tightly or they can develop in their own way – flying away from the text.
In order to develop independence, we have implemented a new structure that provides children with the opportunity to have more freedom and choice with their writing. The teacher, on occasion, may choose to skip the imitation stage and move to the invention stage. An extra stage would then be added where the children will be provided with a stimulus, such as a short video, a picture or a story opening, and will then be allowed to choose one of the four purposes for writing (to entertain, to persuade, to discuss, to inform). The children will then plan their own piece of writing using a text map and will then independently create and edit a piece of writing.
The teacher may also choose to do this to extend high attaining writers by providing them with the opportunity to write at length in a way that will stimulate their interests and creativity.
We believe that by providing this choice, it will further develop a love for writing and will also provide each child with a bank of truly independent pieces of writing that can be used for assessment purposes.