Writing and SPaG
Writing • Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Who can I speak to about English? Your child’s class teacher will be able to answer any questions about your child’s Writing and SPaG. You can also speak to our English Leaders; Mrs Page or Mrs Hawthorne.
Curriculum Intent for English: Our primary intention is to instil within our pupils a lifelong appreciation of the written and spoken word. Within our classrooms, we strive for each pupil to consider themselves an author, undaunted by the prospect of a blank page. With guidance and encouragement, we aim to nurture our pupils’ ability to express themselves clearly and articulately so that they can formulate opinions with confidence and conviction. Finally, we desire for our pupils to be independent and curious readers who relish the opportunity to read for pleasure.
For this reason, three main objectives form the core of our English curriculum:
- To develop pupils’ understanding of the English language (including spelling, punctuation and grammar) through high-quality learning experiences which expand vocabulary and develop cultural capital
- To promote an enjoyment of reading and expose pupils to a range of high-quality texts through the ‘Power of Reading’ scheme (from which excerpts are utilised as prompts for our coherent Writing curriculum)
- To instil a lifelong love of literacy through activities that lead to a sustained mastery for all in every aspect of the English curriculum
LHPSN Approach to the Teaching of English: English is at the heart of the curriculum, and we ensure that all subjects ascribe great importance to promoting high-standards of accuracy when it comes to spoken and written word. We capitalise on the opportunity to expand pupils’ vocabulary and their exposure to different text types. Our English curriculum has been designed to accommodate the 2014 ‘National Curriculum Programme of Study’ objectives. To bolster this, we use texts from the ‘Power of Reading’ scheme to inform our planning for every aspect of literacy.
In Key Stages One and Two, the ‘Power of Reading’ scheme allows for an integrated approach to the teaching of English. Writing is taught on a daily basis, and each sequence of learning begins with an opportunity for pupils to acquaint themselves with one of our selected core texts. Our coherent Writing curriculum centres around exposing pupils to outstanding extracts of prose, poetry and non-fiction, which are subsequently critiqued so that the distinguishing features of the genre can be modelled and explicitly taught. Precedence is given to the drafting process, in which pupils are taught how to edit and improve their own work. In addition, Grammar is taught concurrently as part of the Writing sequence and is consolidated during daily ‘SPaG Starters’, which are designed to help pupils retrieve prior knowledge, correct errors and apply specific skills. Statutory spellings are also addressed during the ‘SPaG Starter’ and the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ scheme is utilised three times a week to teach age-appropriate spelling rules. Accurate application of grammatical constructs and spelling rules are promoted in each subject as Writing is used across the curriculum as a de facto way of expressing knowledge and communicating thinking.
Purposes for Writing
At Lickey Hills Primary School we have a ‘Purpose for Writing’ approach and use Michael Tidd’s Writing for a Purpose Framework. Rather than trying to teach children ten or more different genres or text types (which can actually be used for a variety of purposes), our approach focuses on what those different types have in common: the purpose for writing.
The four purposes to write being taught across KS1 and KS2 are:
- To entertain
- To inform
- To persuade
- To discuss
KS1 Focus: to Entertain and to Inform
LKS2 Focus: to Inform, Entertain and Persuade
UKS2 Focus: to Inform, Entertain, Persuade and Discuss
Below is an overview of the different genres that can be taught with each purpose. It is set out in phases to show progression throughout the school. Although coverage of the four purposes of writing is prescriptive, the order in which teachers complete them is up to teacher discretion, their knowledge of the curriculum approach and progress of children in their particular year group. This approach enables children to begin to recognise the features of each purpose for writing, rather than each genre. Recently taught knowledge can be applied to help build on different text types and therefore retain the different aspects of the purpose for writing.
The Writing process
In KS1 and KS2, within the whole writing planning sequence for each genre, writing will be drafted, edited, critiqued and improved through the following five steps;
Step 1 Critiquing a WAGOLL (what a good one looks like) and identifying features of a genre. The content of WAGOLLs should be pitched above the level that most children are currently working so that they are constantly engaged with progress.
Step 2 The pupil writes a first draft and will self-assess using the VCOPS success criteria.
Step 3 The teacher will then critique the draft in red pen and the pupil corrects their own work in green pen. The pupil will edit and improve their first draft.
Step 4 The pupils write by publishing their final draft, making all of the improvements using the teacher and self critique.
Step 5 The pupils’ peers critique each other’s work following the success criteria. Pupils grant two stars and a wish.
Writing in the Early Years Foundation Stage
In the Early Years, children are encouraged to attempt their own emergent writing and their efforts are valued and praised. As their phonic knowledge increases, this will be reflected in their writing. A wide variety of opportunities are provided for children to engage in writing activities. Amongst these are:
- Tiger tasks (Independent activity leading to an expectation of writing)
- Shared writing
- Writing area
- In areas of play including construction area, role play, sand/messy play area, painting
- Book nook
- Making books
- Writing letters
Through engaging in these activities, children become aware that writing is used for a range of purposes. They distinguish it from drawing, and learn the left to right convention of writing in English. A variety of resources are used to encourage the development of the fine motor control which is essential for good handwriting. These include playdough, cutting, threading and tracing.
Writing in Key Stage 1
- a) Shared Writing
Through shared writing the teacher demonstrates specific writing skills, sometimes acting as scribe. The basics of how to form a letter, spell a word, leave a space or put in a full stop are demonstrated, followed later by more sophisticated strategies of modelling the planning, drafting or proof-reading of writing. The teacher may also demonstrate writing in a particular genre. Shared writing will teach children how to:
- Generate imaginative and informative ideas through discussion and questioning, and record these ideas in notes/plans/drafts.
- Structure ideas in writing through the use of appropriate language, sentence structure, punctuation, sequencing and lay-out
- Develop specific word level skills of spelling, handwriting and punctuation
- Refine writing to make it clearer and better suited to its audience and purpose
- Develop technical terms and vocabulary for understanding and discussing writing
- Publish and present written texts for others to read and use
b) Guided Writing
Guided writing sessions are used flexibly to provide a bridge between shared and independent work. During these sessions the teacher or TA may scribe for specific children or support children writing independently or in pairs. They may focus on:
- Planning a piece of writing
- Supporting work in progress
- Evaluating and improving writing
- c) Independent Writing
Children will be given frequent opportunities to write independently so that the skills demonstrated during shared writing and supported during guided writing will be transferred into their own writing. Since accurate, fluent and independent writing is dependent on a secure grasp of phonics, a high priority is placed throughout EYFS and KS1 on daily systematic phonics teaching. This gives children the strong and essential foundation upon which all their future development as writers will be built.
Writing in Key Stage 2
- a) Shared Writing
Through shared writing the teacher will model the writing process with the children. This may include:
- Demonstrating planning strategies (e.g. mind mapping, concept maps, writing frames)
- Using a familiar text as a starting point for writing, taken from the POR scheme.
- Teaching the structural characteristics of a particular text type
- Teaching the purpose and use of punctuation
- Playing with language and exploring different language choices
- Modelling higher level sentence constructions (e.g. conjunctions, complex sentences)
- Drafting-Demonstrating revision strategies (e.g. checking for meaning)reordering to improve structure, rewriting to improve clarity or to enrich language)
- Demonstrating editing strategies (e.g. checking punctuation and spelling, using writing targets).
At times, there may be extended shared writing sessions, exploring the composition process together in some detail. However, it will often be most effective if shared writing is broken up into chunks and interspersed with opportunities for the children to apply the lessons immediately in their own writing. Sometimes modelling just a sentence or two will be sufficient. This approach can maximise learning opportunities, allow teachers to respond to children’s misconceptions or difficulties and avoid the risk of overloading the children.
- b) Guided Writing
During guided writing the teacher as ‘expert’ guides learners at an appropriate level by:
- Giving feedback on previously composed independent writing (Using a visualiser to compare against VCOPS)
- Modelling how to use individual writing targets or comment constructively on another writer’s work (Critique of a WAGOLL)
- Demonstrating a specific stage in the writing process
- Developing or reinforcing skills taught in shared writing
Teachers will plan guided writing sessions flexibly, where they feel they will best meet the needs of their class. At other times, teachers may instead support children individually during their independent writing.
- c) Independent Writing
During independent writing the children compose without direct teacher support. As children move through KS2, they will be expected to write regularly and at increasingly greater length, developing crucial writing stamina alongside other skills. Independent writing, both within English lessons and across the curriculum will involve:
- Using the imagination and expressing ideas
- Applying skills learned in shared writing and guided writing
- Focusing on individual writing targets
- Revising work in the light of feedback from teachers or peers
- Commenting constructively on other children’s writing
- Editing and proof-reading to improve transcriptional features
- Preparing work for presentation
At LHPSN, it is our priority to ensure that all pupils have the ability to spell words efficiently and accurately whilst drawing on knowledge of phonics and spelling patterns. In the early stages, the emphasis is on phonics, moving onto the whole school framework of spellings for support and structure. In Years 2 – 6, the ‘No-Nonsense Spelling Scheme’ is used in accordance with the National Curriculum (2014). Spelling rules are taught explicitly whilst subsequent sessions focus on applying acquired knowledge. This serves to support pupils in reinforcing and extending spelling patterns. All pupils from Year 1 upwards take home weekly spellings to learn with a focus on a specific sound/word pattern. In KS2, pupils will also be taught the words from the Year 3/4 and Year 5/6 National Curriculum statutory lists and assessed to address whether pupils are progressing. Weekly testing will ensure that gaps in learning are identified and appropriate follow up sessions can be planned. During lessons, pupils are encouraged to use their ‘Have a Go’ sheets, which are glued in the back of their English and Theme books. This encourages pupils to draw on prior knowledge when determining how to spell a word. Finally, further consolidation of the statutory word lists are enabled by the ‘spelling’ section of the SPaG starters at the start of each English lesson.
Here you can access the different strategies that we use in school to learn the spellings of new words.
No Nonsense spelling strategies
Click on the following links to see what is expected at each standard throughout the school.
We know LHPSN parents are always keen to support their children, so we hold workshops throughout the year . We particularly recommend that parents of pupils in Year 2 and 6 attend, as the children take statutory tests in these subjects in May.
Click on the links below to access the Powerpoint presentations that were used at the writing and SPAG Parent Workshop.
Writing – Parent Workshop Presentation
Spelling – Parent Workshop Presentation
Feed back from a parent Governor about the writing workshop.
”I am aware that parental engagement in a child’s education is crucial for helping them to do well at school. The workshops have taught me how to do this and I’m already seeing the benefits! There’s a lot of parenting classes when you have a new baby, but nothing for when they start school. These workshops have definitely helped me to navigate the next part of my child’s journey”
Dr Claire Ferguson