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Our aim is for children to communicate confidently and meaningfully when writing for a variety of audiences  and  purposes.  Writing requires the orchestration of a number of complex skills including the ability to construct and  organise a text in an appropriate style and to use punctuation, grammar, spelling and handwriting. We  encourage  our children to express themselves creatively and also to communicate information clearly and  concisely in a  variety of modes and media.

 At Gilbert Colvin we select engaging quality texts which will provide opportunities for our children to experience  different genres and time periods, will develop their vocabulary,  expose them to different writing styles and  structures so that they themselves can experiment with these in  their own writing. Through our teaching we  model  for our children how to bring the skills of transcription and composition together.    

 Writing is taught through:

  • * Discrete phonics sessions
  • * Shared/Modelled writing
  • * Independent writing
  • * Child initiated writing

Phonics and Spelling

Shared writing

Shared writing is a whole class writing activity, which may feature one or more of these key teaching strategies:



  • Teacher demonstration/modelled writing, whereby the teacher writes to exemplify the writing process. Teacher scribing, whereby the teacher and children jointly compose a text as the teacher records the children’s ideas.
  • Supported composition or scaffolded writing, whereby children, in the course of shared writing, write parts of the text, e.g. in pairs, using dry-wipe boards.
  • This writing process also models oral rehearsing, re-reading and editing.


Independent writing

Independent writing provides children with time and opportunity to practise, develop and consolidate  the skills they have learnt during shared and modelled writing and is linked directly to previous immersion and scaffolding activities.  Creative teaching and learning approaches are used to stimulate quality in writing and cater for different learning styles. Children are given opportunities for independent writing throughout the teaching sequence as well as end outcomes. Teachers plan writing so that children have opportunities to experience different genres including fiction, non-fiction, plays and poetry.

Child initiated writing

Children are given opportunities to write for their own purposes and pleasure, whereby they make independent choices about audience, purpose and form. This allows for children to demonstrate the writing skills they have mastered.

Speaking and Listening

Our aim is for children to become reflective communicators displaying confidence and clarity. Effective communication  consists of careful, attentive listening, meaningful talk and consideration of audience. The teaching of speaking and  listening within literacy provides children with a tool for accessing other areas of the curriculum and is a fundamental pre-  requisite for all other aspects of literacy.  It extends thought and clarifies ideas. It also develops social skills, the ability to  work in a team and the ability to form positive relationships.

 Speaking and listening skills are developed through group discussions, drama, role plays and philosophical debates  (Philosophy for Children or P4C). At Gilbert Colvin we believe that enquiry based learning and having the skills to ask  and  answer open ended questions will develop our children’s spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary  which are all  vital life skills. 

 In all Key Stages speaking and listening is an integral part of daily English teaching. Teachers identify and plan for  opportunities to build oracy into all areas of the curriculum. Although speaking and listening is embedded throughout a unit  of work as a tool for learning, regular planned activities are also included to teach specific speaking and  listening  skills/objectives. Children are taught to justify ideas with reasons, ask questions, speculate, hypothesise and explore ideas  in order to develop and build their understanding as well as negotiate, evaluate and build on the ideas  of others.

The Role of the Teacher

In the teaching of speaking and listening, the teacher is vital and should:

  • model and explicitly teach appropriate skills, e.g. active listening, how to take turns, include all members of the group, summarise, or ask probing questions in response to a speaker.
  • make clear the purpose of the talk activity, e.g. explaining, justifying, negotiating, reporting etc
  • set up opportunities for speaking and listening provide children with tools to develop their talk, e.g. key language features, technical vocabulary, formal language structures, talking frames etc.
  • provide a variety of social contexts in which talk takes place
  • demonstrate how to move from talk into writing
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