Our children will be young writers, becoming articulate and imaginative communicators, well-equipped with the basic skills they need to express themselves effectively in written form. We want our children to view writing as a lifelong skill that we continue to develop whatever our age.
Our children develop a genuine love of language and the written word, through a text-based approach which links closely to our reading curriculum. Children master the knowledge and skills required to choose and use the appropriate genre, form and formality. Children will write for a variety of purposes and audiences to ensure they see themselves as real writers. We encourage children to take ownership of their writing, from initial ideas, through organising, planning and editing, to final publication if appropriate, in English and throughout the wider curriculum.
Texts for writing
Quality texts, films, artefacts and real purposes for writing feature at the heart of the writing curriculum. Texts are chosen for their stand-alone quality and will on occasion match to the wider curriculum for the benefit of context and purpose.
Planning flows from the building blocks of securing spoken language, a rapidly developing vocabulary and short, purposeful written texts in the EYFS, to developing and mastering a secure grasp of grammar in Year Six. Planning supports the development of each genre for writing and identifies desired outcomes to ensure there is breadth and depth in writing opportunity.
Phonics and spelling
A strong phonics programme, Little Wandle Letters & Sounds, supports the development of spelling and handwriting, and we invest heavily in supporting resources and CPD. If they need it, individual children in later years receive additional support in learning phonics. A pre-planned spelling scheme is actively taught weekly to encourage both the accurate recall of spellings and the development of strategies to spell unfamiliar words.
Handwriting and presentation
Children are taught to write in a fluent cursive style. As they get older, speed and resilience are encouraged and practised, and children are introduced where appropriate to different lettering e.g. print for maps and labels.
The importance of building an ambitious vocabulary
At New Valley, the building of vocabulary in all English lessons is of paramount importance. Vocabulary is collected from texts and through thesaurus and dictionary work. Children are taught to use words in context and to consider their suitability and effectiveness through using ‘shades of meaning’ techniques. Study of prefixes, suffixes, antonyms, synonyms and etymology begins early to encourage a curiosity and love of words and their meanings. Children are encouraged and rewarded for experimenting with new vocabulary and are encouraged to use words in full sentences from the outset.
Talk for writing
Children are encouraged to orally rehearse their ideas and are taught using a mixture of modelled, shared and guided writing. Independent writing is encouraged in the form of short written tasks or as longer, complete pieces of work.
Teachers use working walls to support independence in learning through every step of a writing unit. The working walls are focused on the specific learning objectives and are updated regularly throughout each unit.
Children enjoy writing and presenting their thinking in written form. Writing neatly in cursive style - and where appropriate in print - they spell age-appropriate words correctly and use a dictionary and thesaurus effectively. They use writing models strategically and contribute creatively to shared and guided writing. Independently, they experiment with voice, levels of formality and ambitious vocabulary choices, and can write coherently, in appropriate form, addressing their audience. They can plan their work using a variety of genre-specific tools and understand the process of drafting, editing and proof reading. Children use increasingly accurate punctuation and make deliberate choices about sentence structure and syntax. Most importantly, children enjoy being authors and sharing their work.