At SMSG, we develop our writing skills as we progress from mark making in the EYFS, to using a range of sentence types in KS2. All teachers immerse children in the genre they are studying, through a wide variety of age-related texts and extra-curricular stimuli, then support children in the planning of their own writing. The writing process is clearly modelled by teaching staff and displayed on working walls in our classrooms.
In Reception and Year 1, teachers follow a two-week programme based on Jane Considine’s ‘Hooked on Books’ and ‘The Write Stuff’. Lenses from ‘The Writing Rainbow’ and ‘The Reading Rainbow’ are introduced to children in a progressive manner ensuring knowledge and understanding of Reading and Writing skills are sequential and provide regular opportunities for children to apply newly learnt skills.
As a school we endeavour to ensure that the writing genres chosen link to each classes project where appropriate. This cross-curricular creative approach ‘hooks’ children into their writing and ensures that they have opportunities to apply the knowledge gained in their project lessons within their writing. Teachers in Year 2 – Year 6 follow the ‘Write Stuff’ framework, which enables them to model to pupils how to construct ambitious, highly effective sentences based on the skills (lenses from ‘The Writing Rainbow’) being taught within that lesson though sentence stacking. Pupils are then given the opportunity to have a go at using the skill before using their creativity to independently plan, write and draft their own piece of writing based on the same genre, in a similar style.
In EYFS, children have opportunities to practice their spelling as they learn a new phoneme-grapheme correspondence. They do this through spelling orally using their segmenting and blending fingers, whereby they have to decide how many sounds they need to spell a word, say the sounds and lift their fingers as they do so; swiping across all their fingers to blend the word after it has been segmented. Children are also given the opportunity within their phonics lessons to use their fingers to help them write words they are spelling. In addition, as part of the programme, they are given daily opportunities to spell words containing learnt sounds. Once a week, they complete a consolidation lesson where they have to spell two or three other words containing sounds that they have been taught previously, this helps to ensure that their knowledge of each phoneme-grapheme correspondence is further embedded.
Children in Years 2-6, follow the Spelling Shed spelling programme with weekly dedicated spelling lessons. Each week, teachers select a spelling unit (based upon a spelling rule) which is introduced to the children. Children then complete tasks within the lesson, allowing them to apply newly learnt knowledge, with teachers regularly assessing the knowledge they have retained.
Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation
Teachers use the Writing progression grid and the grammar overview to help them plan their lessons ensuring the children develop the skills and knowledge needed within their year groups. As we use the Write Stuff approach within our writing lessons, many of the lenses focus on vocabulary, grammar and punctuation so children frequently have the knowledge to apply what they have learnt in context within their writing lessons.