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Horizon Academy Trust is an exempt charity regulated by the Secretary of State for Education.

company number 08411590

registered office is C/O Biggin Hill Primary School, Biggin Avenue, Bransholme, Hull, United Kingdom HU7 4RL.

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Cavendish Primary School



What is Talk for Writing?

Talk for Writing, developed by Pie Corbett, is the approach Cavendish use to teach writing from EYFS to Year Six. The movement from imitation to innovation to independent application is adapted to suit the needs of our learners of any stage of the writing process.

The Talk for Writing approach enables our children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through 'taking the text', as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.

We underpin our English work by establishing a core reading spine of quality fiction, poetry and non-fiction that all children experience and draw upon. Imaginative units of work are developed to create a whole-school plan and teachers adapting their teaching for children's learning.

The key phases of the Talk for Writing process, as outlined below, enable children to imitate orally the language they need for a particular topic, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version.

Teacher led (hook, text map, shared/independent reading, words and vocabulary, boxing up and short burst writing). Independent application (innovate, create writing tool kits, plans, shares and guided writing, draft and edit) Final, independent piece of writing.

Talk 4 Writing Overview

FS2 Grammar OverviewYear 1 T4W OverviewYear 2 T4W OverviewYear 3 T4W OverviewYear 4 T4W Overview Year 5 T4W OverviewYear 6 T4W Overview


The Imitation Stage

The teaching begins with some sort of creative 'hook' which engages the pupils, often with a sense of enjoyment, audience and purpose. Writing challenges, such as informing Dr Who about how the Tardis works or producing leaflets for younger children about healthy eating, provide a sense of purpose. The model text is pitched about the pupils' level and has built into it the underlying, transferable structures and language patterns that students will need when they are writing. This is learned using a 'text map' and actions to strengthen memory and help students internalise the text. Activities such as drama are used to deepen understanding of the text.

Once pupils can 'talk like the text', the model, and other examples, are then read for vocabulary and comprehension, before being analysed for the basic text (boxing up) and language patterns, as well as writing techniques or toolkits. All of this first phase is underpinned by rehearsing key spellings and grammatical patterns. Short-burst writing is used to practice key focuses such as description, persuasion or scientific explanation.

The Innovation Stage

Once pupils are familiar with the model text, then the teacher leads them into creating their own versions. A new subject is presented and the teacher leads pupils through planning. With younger pupils, this is based on changing the basic map and retelling new versions. Older pupils use boxed-up planners and the teacher demonstrates how to create simple plans and orally develop ideas prior to writing. Ideas may need to be generated and organised or information researched and added to a planner. Shared and guided writing is then used to stage writing over a number of days so that pupils are writing texts bit by bit, concentrating on brining all the elements together, writing effectively and accurately. Feedback is given during the lessons, on a daily basis, so that pupils can be taught how to improve their writing, make it more accurate, until they can increasingly edit in pairs or on their own.

Eventually, pupils move on to the third phase, which is when they apply independently what has been taught and practiced. Before this happens, the teacher may decide to give further input and rehearsal. Pupils are guided through planning, drafting and revising their work independently. It is essential to provide a rich starting point that taps into what pupils know and what matters so that their writing is purposeful. Writing may be staged over a number of days and there may be time for several independent pieces to be written. With non-fiction, pupils should apply what they have been taught across the curriculum. The final piece is used as the assessment, which clearly shows progress across the unit.

It is important that at the innovation and independent application stages, the writing becomes increasingly independent of the original model. Younger pupils may only make a few simple changes, older pupils should be adding, embellishing, altering and manipulating the original structure. From Key Stage 2 onwards, almost all children will be using the text structure and writing tools to write, drawing on the model, their wider reading and experience, so that they are writing independently at a high level. This has to be modelled in shared writing.

How And Why Does It Benefit Children?

The aim of Talk for Writing is to develop imaginative, creative and effective writers. Children are not really writers until they decide what they want to write and have opportunities to create their own writing tasks and write about their interests and lives, creating stories, poems and informative writing for themselves.

Talk for Writing supports pupils in giving them sentence structures and ideas to work with and adapt into their own. Talk for Writing is very much dependent on the use of quality literature, High quality texts have been carefully selected and invested in every year group.

Additional Website Information: https://www.talk4writing.co.uk 

 Cavendish Writing Curriculum Statement, Long Term Plan, Non Negotiables, Guides & Progression Documents

English Policy

Writing Curriculum Statement

Writing Long Term Plan

Writing Non Negotiables

A Guide to Grammar at Cavendish Years 1-6Knowledge and Progression - Spelling

Knowledge and Progression - Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation