Here at Cross Farm we use the Talk 4 Writing approach which has been developed by Pie Corbett.
Talk 4 Writing breaks the writing task down in to manageable chunks to enable children to be able to confidently develop the skills for writing. This is usually based over 3 weeks and incorporates writing and reading skills.
In week 1 the children complete a cold task. This helps us to assess what skills they already know and to confirm that the skills we are planning to cover are correct. A cold task is a piece of writing which is not modelled, scaffolded or supported. It is a fully independent piece of writing.
After this, the text is introduced. This can range from a fairy tale to a newspaper article to a set of instructions. We cover a variety of genres through their time at Cross Farm. The children then read the text and pick out any key vocabulary that is new or we would like to see used in their writing. This is displayed in the classroom for the children to use.
Once the children have heard the text. They will be introduced to a text map. A text map is where we write the text using symbols and words to enable us to retell the text. It is a prompt. Children will use the text map to be able to know the text and be able to read the text to others without using the book.
Once the children know the text and all the features etc. they will then write out the text using the text map to support.
Once we have completed this step we can then explore how we can innovate the text. How can we make it ours? How can we change it?
Starting with the original text map children will use postit notes etc. to change something in the text they have used. This could be the character in a story or it could be a part of a castle they are exploring. At this stage it is important for children to be able to use the original text to help scaffold their learning. This will help support the task of creating their own version.
Once they have adjusted their text map they will then learn it so that they can read it and say what they want to write before they then write this text. After they have written the text they will be encouraged to check and edit their work by using the text map to ensure they have all the correct features.
During this part they will be taught any additional skills that need to be learnt to be successful for this piece of writing. This could be a certain spelling pattern, using expanded noun phrases or using exclamation marks for example.
Once the innovate process has been completed the children will then look to invent their own version of the text. For this the children will look at planning what they are going to write about, use the features of the text they have learnt about and then write their own version using the skills they have learnt.
The children will be supported through a planning stage where they can create the ideas and gather the information they need to write their own version.
When the children write their own version, it is a hot task. At this point this piece of writing is independent to enable us to assess how well the children have grasped the learning objectives and enable us to support or stretch the children as appropriate.
As children have been immersed in the text for approximately 3 weeks they have a great understanding of that genre of writing before they have to create their own version and this enables them to magpie ideas and vocabulary from this process leading to a better piece of writing at the end.
Throughout this process we cover all of the spelling, grammar and punctuation as required through the genre we are teaching. This helps children to link what they are learning to how they can apply it.
Each year group builds up this process in a different way. In Reception we focus heavily on the imitate phase and begin to innovate with them. Year 1 use imitate and innovate in the first term and look at moving on to invent in the later part of the year as children need a rich background in a range of texts before they can invent. Year 2 focus on all 3 parts with a heavy focus on their invent section and how they are producing their own writing about their own ideas etc.
If you wish to find out more about our approach to writing please contact your child's class teacher or Sara Harvey who is our Writing Lead.