"Reading is like breathing in, and writing is like breathing out." Pam Allyn.
The journey to being an effective writer begins in Reception at St John Fisher. Before children can write, they must talk. Throughout Reception, children learn through carefully considered play opportunities that foster purposeful and progressive social interaction and most importantly language; a crucial step in writing development. At St John Fisher, we immerse our children in language with support from our knowledge based curriculum and modelled talk from all adults.
Phonics teaching leads the way for the next part of the writing journey. Teachers in EYFS and KS1 model daily how to sound, write and read different letters and sounds, building to increasingly complex words, phrases, sentences and beyond. Children in Key Stage Two are taught spelling three times a week so they are exposed to the spellings frequently. Here the children are taught the spelling rules and the meanings of the words too.
'Words are essentially tools, like an artist’s paint palette, the more you have available to you, the richer your vision of the world is, the broader your imagination and the greater your ability to express yourself' Alex Quigley, Closing the Word Gap.
Vocabulary is crucial and something we focus heavily on. We encourage children to question words they are unsure of and find ways of understanding the meaning of new words. Vocabulary lessons are fed throughout are curriculum; including Reading, Spelling and Literacy lessons weekly.
Reading is at the heart of our English curriculum and writing is taught through carefully selected texts that the children are engaged with and have links to the five plagues of reading. Children are expected to write every day, where they immerse themselves in their chosen text and pick it apart such as character development, author’s intention and use of language. As the unit progresses, children are challenged to write at length demonstrating the key skills modelled and discussed during lessons.
From Year 1 to Year 6, a piece of independent writing is assessed at the end of each half term. Teachers use a list of non-negotiables as well as selected criteria to determine each child’s current levels of ability and award each piece of writing a grade as determined by our assessment policy. This then enables us to track each child’s individual progress and offer further challenge or support where necessary. Writing judgements are moderated regularly at St John Fisher to ensure the highest standards of accuracy.
Our children are taught to write an array of different text types including: reports, recounts, diaries, letters, instructions; through a medium of both written and typed to motivate and inspire them to write. Our teaching staff regularly receive in-house training enabling best practice to be shared within school and new initiatives to be delivered to all to ensure coherency.
Our aim at St John Fisher is for all children to become enthusiastic and effective writers; with an awareness of the reader; to write with purpose; to write with grammatical accuracy, with appropriate style and flair; and to be able to write at length, within a variety of genres.