Writing at Chad Vale
Chad Vale believes that the development of key skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening are critical to improving a child's life chances.
Teachers have high expectations for all children to achieve and enjoy English, model good written and spoken English and provide opportunities for children to use the skills they have acquired in a range of contexts.
Rich texts are at the heart of our teaching and a love for reading is promoted throughout the school via book fairs, library visits, visiting authors and daily sharing of stories. In addition to the direct teaching of writing, all children take part in productions, drama and role-play, public speaking, debates and regular group and paired discussions. Our ambition for our children is for them all to become articulate and effective communicators both verbally and in written communication.
Teachers use inspirational ideas to engage children in their English work: providing memorable experiences and bringing topics to life. A creative approach to planning units of work is encouraged using drama, film, trips and hands-on activities as is a clear purpose and audience, either real or imagined, to launch a unit of work.
We value and celebrate diversity in culture and language, providing rich and relevant texts and topics to include and engage all learners.
Writing is taught using Jane Considine’s 'The Write Stuff' approach. This is used from Reception to the beginning of Year Six and brings a clarity to the mechanics and skills needed to be an effective writer. The highly visual ‘Writing Rainbow’ offers children a ‘toolkit’ to clearly develop the ‘Three Zones of Writing’ and become a resilient, successful and independent writer:
As children progress through the school, they will build on their bank of writing skills and techniques as well as developing ambitious vocabulary.
We focus on texts from a wide and diverse range of both fiction and non-fiction genres. Children are encouraged to magpie and build on ideas from well-loved tales, creating their own story plots and characters.
Lessons are exciting, dynamic and engaging, drawing on multi-sensory methods to ensure that all children can access the learning regardless of age or ability. Teacher modelling and demonstration of the writing process is key. As part of the teaching sequence, teachers plan experience days; sentence stacking lessons and independent writing sequences. Experience days immerse children in relevant experiences linked to their writing and drench them in vocabulary linked to the lenses in 'The Writing Rainbow'. From the experience days, children use and apply vocabulary in the sentence stacking lessons which includes words, grammar, sentences and text activities.
Following the scaffolded ‘sentence stacking’ stage of the process, the children draft, edit, redraft and produce a final, independent piece of work. Wherever possible, we link writing genres to current year group topics to provide stimulus and inspiration for writing with relevant tasks that engage the children and provide a clear purpose.
Children will progress through and leave Chad Vale being able to:
write fluently, clearly and legibly considering the text type and features of a particular text or genre.
write for a range of purposes including non-fiction such as persuasive texts and balanced arguments as well as plan and write interesting stories and poems.
use their wide and varied knowledge of vocabulary to inform or entertain the reader.
apply a range of punctuation and understand the effect it can have on the reader in both writing and reading.
understand and be able to apply a range of grammatical devices.
understand the various sentence types in a text and apply them independently.
use their phonetic knowledge and spelling rules to spell with confidence.
speak clearly, fluently and coherently; to listen attentively with understanding, pleasure and empathy and contribute to group discussions effectively.
apply and understand the importance of drafting, proofreading, editing and redrafting a piece of writing.
write with clear purpose and have the stamina required for longer pieces of work.
write as readers; read as writers!
English in Other Curriculum Areas
The skills that children develop in English link and apply in every subject across the curriculum. The children’s skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening enable them to communicate and express themselves in all areas of their work in school. Children also have regular opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills in debates, poetry readings and drama performances. As well as regular drama work in class, all classes perform an assembly linked to their learning to an invited audience. Reception, Y3 and Y6 also stage large-scale performances throughout the year.
Supporting Writing at School
Where children need support with their developing writing skills, a number of approaches are used. All staff are trained to use ‘Clicker Writer’ which is an iPad application utilising speech-enabled software to aid children with vocabulary and sentence construction independently. This app is mostly used in KS1 and with SEND children, however, the programme is also available for use in any lesson requiring a written task. Children can also install and use the programme at home.
At the end of KS1, if children require further support with the key skills of writing, they partake in the small group intervention, ‘Rapid Writing’ throughout Years 3 and 4. This programme targets handwriting, spelling, sentence construction and grammar.
We also use the ‘Letterjoin’ handwriting scheme to deliver the discrete teaching of cursive writing. Children in both KS1 and KS2 practise their handwriting on a regular basis.
Support Learning at Home
Writing for a real-life purpose can be a great way of practising writing. Writing cards, shopping lists, or letters and emails to relatives can all be motivating real life reasons for writing. Children might also keep a diary or be encouraged to write short stories based on books they have read or toys they enjoy playing with.
Other useful websites include: