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Writing at Pirton Hill

Teaching Writing @ Pirton Hill

As a school we have recently adopted the Talk for Writing as our approach to teaching English / Writing (from January 2018).


This approach has been developed by Pie Corbett who says, "If children learn stories orally, it improves the quality of their writing and develops the children's self-confidence as story tellers. If a child knows a story really well, it makes the task of writing easier because they do not have to compose at the same time as tackling handwriting, spelling and punctuation."


This approach breaks the teaching of writing down into three steps / stages:


Stage 1: Immersion

  • Underpinning the whole approach is the need for children to learn stories off by heart. Therefore, during the first week of a unit of work the children learn a key text (e.g. a story, a report, a set of instructions, a diary entry, a poem) off by heart.
  • The children repeat the key text lots of times, and use actions and a text map (see the school website for examples) to help them to memorise the text, until it creates a groove in their mind (in the same way as jingles on adverts do!).
  • During this week they also look at other examples of the text type, identify the key language features and, wherever possible, use drama, artefacts, pictures, video clips and even visits to inspire and engage the children.


Stage 2: Innovation

  • During the second week of work the children use the key text as a basis for their own text. They use the structure that the key text provides but develop their own ideas and experiment with their own language choices. The children then receive daily feedback on their writing (using our pink (for “perfect”) and green (for “growth”)) which allows them to develop and improve their writing as they go along.
  • Of course, they still keep practicing the key text every day so that they know it really well!


Stage 3: Invention

  • After these two weeks we give the children a chance to write their own text from scratch to demonstrate their ability and learning.  This is on orange paper and is known as the “hot task”.


Handwriting @ Pirton Hill

Fluent, neat and joined handwriting relies on letters being formed in the correct way and from the correct starting point. At Pirton Hill we ensure that children are all taught this consistently by teaching handwriting regularly through short, focused sessions. 


From November 2017, to support the development of handwriting, the school has used tramlines in Handwriting and English books, as well as flipchart pads and interactive whiteboard backgrounds.


This is an example of the tramlines that we use:


“Handwriting is a skill which, like reading and spelling, affects written communication across the curriculum. Given effective teaching, handwriting can be mastered by most pupils by the time they are seven or eight years old enabling them, with practice, to go on to develop a faster and more mature hand ready for secondary school and adult life.”

Suzanne Tiburtius of the National Handwriting Association

Year Group Expectations
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