To enable our children to write effectively and coherently we teach Writing using 'The Write Stuff' approach by Jane Considine. This approach is used from Nursery to Year 6 and allows children to apply basic skills, vocabulary and grammar knowledge to write effective sentences, which are full of impact and keep the reader interested. 'The Write Stuff' brings clarity to the mechanics of teaching writing. It is introduced though the 'Writing Rainbow', using the three zones of writing:
From 'The Writing Rainbow', symbols are used to support children within their writing journey and to ensure that all children can use them in context as they move through school.
As part of the teaching sequence, teachers plan experience days, sentence stacking lessons and independent writing sequences. Experience days immerse children in experiences linked to their writing and drench them in vocabulary linked to the lenses in 'The Writing Rainbow'. From the experience days, children take part in the sentence stacking lessons. Sentence stacking lessons include effective demonstration writing from the teacher and the writing of three high-quality sentences with focuses on lenses of the rainbow. Children are also given the opportunity to 'Deepen the Moment' and add more to their writing using a lens of their choice. Independent writing sequences give children the opportunity to showcase everything they've learnt in their experience days and sentence stacking lessons.
Over their time at Kidsgrove, children will write a range of genres focused on high-quality texts. The chosen texts and genres cover a wide range of themes, including cultural, social and physical diversity. All fiction texts are explored through a central character, where the children put themselves in their position and focus on the highs and lows of story events and discuss the range of emotions from plot point to plot point.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum. Teachers use the Spelling Shed Scheme to support their teaching and to provide activities. This scheme was chosen as it had a clear and progressive model for the teaching of Spelling throughout Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
The activities are fun and engaging whilst providing children with the skill to review their spelling within their own writing. Spelling is taught in discrete Spelling, Punctuation And Grammar (SPAG)lessons as well within English writing units. Class teachers have the autonomy to deliver this as appropriate for their cohort.
Spelling lessons are completed alongside English lessons to encourage the integration of taught spellings into their writing.
Teachers also model spelling through their writing; modelling how to correct mistakes, utilise learning resources such as dictionaries and word banks and locate new vocabulary. Fast Spelling is another resource used by staff to teach children words that are commonly misspelt by the class or for the teaching of common exception words and words from the statutory spelling list.
The grammar and punctuation skills are taught during a discrete daily session. English lessons then integrate grammar and punctuation within the writing process, so that children have a secure knowledge of skill and a variety of opportunities and contexts to apply it. Teachers plan to teach the required skills through the genres of writing that they are teaching, linking it to the genre to make it more connected with the intended writing outcome.
We use a range of resources and stimulus to support the teaching of age-appropriate punctuation and grammar to engage our pupils. To improve the confidence our pupils have in recalling this knowledge, teachers plan sessions to revise. The style of these sessions is decided by the teachers based on the needs of the children and the content they are revising.
Fast handwriting sessions are used to model age-related expectations for handwriting. Staff explicitly model letter formation and joins depending on their year group. The frequency for teaching handwriting is cohort dependent and varies across the school based on need. This could be in the form of both whole class teaching and individual sessions.
Handwriting in Key Stage 1
Fast handwriting in Year 1 develops our pupils’ letter formation as they start to form lower-case letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the right place, including capital letters. Letter and number formation should be directly taught. Left-handed pupils receive specific teaching to meet their needs.
As the children progress to Year 2, teaching focusses on the use of diagonal and horizontal strokes to join letters. Children begin to join letter patterns and practise the joins before writing them in context (e.g. a simple sentence). Letters which are best left un-joined are introduced and modelled appropriately b, g, j, p, y, x and z, ensuring children join and break words in the right places. As part of fast handwriting, children practise: days of the week, months of the year and common exception words.
Handwriting in Key Stage 2
As the children gain fluency and build speed, they check that their letters are consistently sized, joins are used correctly, ascenders and descenders are parallel and there are regular spaces within and between words. Children are taught about break letters g,j,y and the letters x and z which are never joined to or from.
Fast handwriting in KS2 builds muscle memory and addresses handwriting misconceptions. Children write fluently, legibly and with increasing speed before developing their own style.