Writing begins in our Early Years where teaching teams develop core strength, fine and gross motor control. Muscles need to be sufficiently developed before a good pencil grip can be introduced. Children work on their gross and fine motor skills to adequately prepare their bodies for writing. From Reception English lessons begin to support children to develop their own personal ‘writer’s voice’. Throughout Early Years, children are immersed in stories, supporting them to internalise these ready for their own storytelling and writing. This provides the building blocks of knowledge and skills necessary for the extended writing opportunities provided in Key Stage One.
At Ghost Hill we aim to immerse pupils in rich literature equipping them to have a strong command of the spoken and written word. The links with reading are clear. In English lessons, texts are chosen because of their literary value – exposing children to high level vocabulary, modelling well-structured grammar and enthusing children to engage with the text empathetically, creatively and emotionally. The texts are used as an inspiration for oracy and writing. Immersion in a text could include freeze-frames, role-play, hot-seating, drawing, dancing, discussions, debating and other enriching activities which equip children with a strong command of the written and spoken word. Story mapping, boxing up plans and model texts are aspects of ‘Talk for Writing’ implemented across all cohorts ensuring a familiar approach to teaching the skills of creative writing throughout the school. The teacher explicitly models writing including ‘the writer’s voice’ within shared writing sessions before children write independently, allowing them to gain their own writer’s voice. Writing focuses on narrative, non-narrative and poetry. We give children the opportunity to collaborate both to compose and to revise their writing and to improve their skills through reflection and ‘edit and improve’ sessions. Discrete spelling, phonics, reading, grammar and handwriting lessons may go alongside English lessons depending on the age and stage of the pupils.
At Ghost Hill Infant and Nursery School children learn to spell through our systematic synthetic phonics programme – Little Wandle – throughout Early Years and Year One. Handwriting is also supported through the Little Wandle programme to support the correct formation of letters from the moment children learn them. In Year 2 children follow the spelling scheme ‘Spelling Shed’. The children are set weekly spelling activities which they are given opportunities to apply in their writing.