Children at Westover are embracing writing by taking on project

WRITERS Maddie Mason and Libby Bungay at Westover Primary School. Picture: Allan Hutchings (1445-411)
WRITERS Maddie Mason and Libby Bungay at Westover Primary School. Picture: Allan Hutchings (1445-411)

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Pupils from reception up to Year 6 are engaging in a varied and exciting approach to the teaching of literacy known as ‘Talk for Writing’ as part of the Primary Writing Project, writes headteacher Annie Gunthorpe.

They learn and retell simple stories in reception using actions and story maps, which become more complex as they move through the school.

Children thoroughly enjoy learning the original story by heart using actions to remember key words.

These actions and key words are used again in other stories so building a fluent repertoire of story language.

During this stage of the process, children are given a variety of opportunities to explore aspects of the story to develop their understanding of the context.

For example when learning The Gingerbread Man, children made gingerbread biscuits.

And when learning The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch, pupils also learnt about lighthouses, the sea and Grace Darling.

Once children are confident and familiar with the original story, they work together to add changes, additions and tweaks to improve and personalise the story while keeping to the original structure.

They then love the challenge of creating their own maps to write their own versions of the story or non-fiction text.

Each class has termly opportunities to perform and share their writing journeys with the whole school during special Talk for Writing assemblies.

These give children the chance to perform and polish their work for an audience., who enjoy hearing stories from other year groups and also copying some of the ideas that they see and hear.

Talk for Writing is having a fantastic impact on learning across the curriculum.

The story focus each half-term underpins all of the children’s learning and the youngsters have really taken to the way all of their learning is linked.

Our children love to write and tell stories.

They choose to write of their own accord and when we are learning a new story, there is no stopping them.

They will tell it to anyone and everyone.

The story focus this half term in Year 1 is The Elves and the Shoemaker.

In preparation for the story, a fantasy creature had left clues during the night for the children to discover each morning.

Most recently, they discovered the culprits in their classroom and interviewed the elusive elves.