At St Paul’s, we want our children to be writers: to make their audience feel, think and imagine, not just to construct grammatically accurate sentences. Writing is a core skill that incorporates many different factors: composition, grammar, spelling and handwriting and, in order to do all of these successfully at once, we promote reading and drama as key proponents in the preparation for writing. The more children can read and explore an author’s choice of vocabulary and sentence structure, the more they are able to apply it to their own writing.
English sessions are taught daily in two week blocks. In Week A, children are introduced to ‘The Big Picture’: they explore a stimulus (i.e. a class text, an object, visual literacy) to help them understand the purpose and audience for their writing. Comprehension sessions and drama activities build on this understanding throughout the beginning of the first week. As they prepare for writing, children explore a grammatical focus, known as textual deconstruction. This helps them not only understand the structure of a grammatical feature but its purpose in writing as well. Week B is focused on writing: teachers model high quality examples or construct paragraphs with children before children write first drafts on the whiteboards. These are discussed as a whole class, edited and written into books. Children work through each paragraph in this way. The following two week block focuses on the same genre or purpose to enable children to fully explore and apply their skills.
The opportunity to revisit and repeat learning is incorporated in blocks so that learning can be embedded and retained. Children are continually given opportunities to self and peer evaluate, as edit their writing both during and after the process.
Reading and writing are skills that we teach hand in hand – confident readers with a wide repertoire of stories are accomplished writers. Through our yearly reading week, we explore an author or a story as inspiration for our own writing.