Why Talk for Writing?

As part of our mission to help children ‘Love to Learn’, we want to help all our children develop into thoughtful readers and creative writers and it is through the Talk for Writing approach that we believe we can achieve this. Through it’s multi-sensory and interactive teaching, it enables children of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of stories and varying text types using methods such as:

  • listening to and learning texts and stories;
  • taking part in drama and role-play;
  • drawing and story mapping;
  • collecting words and language strategies
  • building their working knowledge of grammar.

What exactly is it?

Talk for Writing is an innovative approach to teaching writing developed by the literacy specialist and writer Pie Corbett. It uses high quality model texts to introduce the children to different story/text types which they then learn off by heart and scrutinise with a writer’s critical eye.

They learn the underlying structures and the process of planning using story maps. They also learn about the key strategies for creating interesting characters and settings and how to use a range of sentence types to create different effects including suspense or adventure.

Process

Talk for Writing has three key phases which work together to develop knowledge, confidence and independence in writing:

Imitation and immersion

Talk for Writing units begin with a ‘hook’ which fires up the creativity and imagination of the children before they are immersed in the model text.

During this phase the children learn the text using actions and story maps. The key to success for the children is that they internalise the text type through repetition and rehearsal. They explore the structure of the narrative and investigate the different characters, settings and events. They also begin to look closely at the language used and the effect this has on the reader. The children ‘read as a reader’ and ‘read as a writer’ during this process. The classroom becomes a dynamic, interactive resource filled with word ideas, sentence types and language tools collected by the children to use in their stories later.

Innovation

During this phase the teacher and the children begin to change aspects of the model text using their own ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and develop new ideas for descriptive language whilst sticking closely to the underlying structure.

It is during this phase that the children work using their toolkits. The toolkits, based on the features and ingredients of the model text, remind children of the different strategies they could use in their stories and helps them to see the progress they are making.

Invention

During the invent week the children plan and write their own story based on the text type they have been learning. They experiment with the ideas and begin to explore their own style of writing – they are able to do this by hugging the original model text tightly or they can develop it in their own way – flying away from the text.

Talk for Writing Actions

We have actions for certain words and phrases that we use consistently throughout the school.

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