Glasshoughton Infant Academy
We know that written communication is essential for children to successfully demonstrate and apply their learning from across the curriculum.
Mark making and letter formation is taught from an early age. Children are taught and encouraged to write their name in Nursery on all pieces of work. Within all provision areas of the EYFS there are writing tools to encourage children to mark make and write. In Reception children become more aware of writing for different purposes and audiences. Shared writing is followed by guided writing sessions where children apply the skills they have been taught. We expect children to use emergent writing, where they tell the adult what they have written, but will soon start to see some recognisable letters appear in their writing. All children in Key Stage One take part in shared, guided, extended and independent writing sessions across all areas of the curriculum. These are linked to the genre for which they are writing and to what the teacher has modelled as key features. Children are provided with many opportunities to write for different purposes and audiences across the curriculum. We aim for children in Key Stage One to be able to write for sustained periods of time independently.
High quality texts are used from Nursery to Year 2 in order to support language acquisition and the understanding of text structures and different genres. A range of texts are chosen to support children when writing for different purposes and audiences; story writing, poetry writing and non-fiction writing. Core texts are chosen to support a sequence of writing with a focus on vocabulary, ensuring children are exposed to a range of words and phrases which they are then encouraged to use in their own writing accurately. Teachers often re-write and adapt key texts to ensure that they are effective and appropriate WAGOLLs for children. This ensures that key teaching points, such as spelling patterns, sentence types, key vocabulary and punctuation, that teachers want children to include in their own writing are within the key text.
Shared writing supports and guides children through the process of writing and creating their own piece of text independently. It begins with the teacher modelling the first sentence. Children use this to work in pairs to think of the next sentence, having a model to support them. The final sentence is where children work independently, writing on whiteboards or in their whiteboard books. This structured model supports children through the whole process, developing their confidence in the structure of the genre and gives ideas on what they could include in their writing. Children provide suggestions of how to up level the shared writing throughout the process with a focus on grammar, punctuation and vocabulary.
Children work in a group with the teacher to develop their writing skills. It will be linked to the shared writing activity developing children’s learning in areas where they need support or extending.
Children need to be supported throughout the writing process and we believe that scaffolding writing effectively will help all children progress. We use word cards linked to the topic, high frequency word cards and classroom displays to support children when writing. Each Key Stage One classroom has an English working wall where key vocabulary and vocabulary for the week, relating to the text genre is displayed. Furthermore, subject specific, tier 3 vocabulary is displayed around each classroom to support children to extend their writing across all areas of the curriculum. Children add to the vocabulary displayed and suggest ideas to support them in their writing. Resources to support children with their basic skills when writing, including handwriting mats, sentence opener lists, conjunction lists and punctuation help cards, are available within each classroom and children are taught how to independently select resources which will effectively support them in what they have set out to achieve.
As children become more secure from the scaffolds that have been put in place to support their writing they will begin to write more fluently and confidently. All staff have high expectations for all children to achieve and develop their writing skills. Writing is structured and scaffolded to allow all children to achieve in guided, independent and extended writing.
In Nursery, children are encouraged to write their name on all pieces of work. Initially this may be marks or just the first letter. Children are encouraged to mark make for a purpose within the areas of provision. For example, writing a shopping list in the home corner and telling an adult what they have written. This may include some recognisable letters, usually from the child’s name.
In Reception, children begin to use their phonic knowledge more confidently in their writing. They will learn to write for different purposes, such as labels or a story. To begin with, children write words and short phrases which can be read by themselves and an adult. Over time children are taught to write short sentences that make sense. In Key Stage One children are taught to write in full sentences which are correctly punctuated with a capital letter and full stop.
In Year 1, children are taught to use a wider range of punctuation, including question marks and exclamation marks accurately. They are also taught to extend their sentences by using the conjunction ‘and’.
In Year 2, children are taught to use a wider range of conjunctions in their writing in the form of co-ordination and sub-ordination. Year 2 children are also taught to use commas in a list, apostrophes to write contracted words and apostrophes to mark the singular possession of nouns. When children can confidently write a series of coherent sentences, they are taught to write using paragraphs.
The development of vocabulary is key to ensuring children become fluent, independent writers. Children are encouraged to speak in full sentences from on entry to Nursery and this is consistently modelled by all adults. Higher level vocabulary found in various texts, including guided reading texts and shared texts, is explored by children verbally before expecting them to use it in their writing. Adults explain the meaning of new language to children and model using this accurately in context. Children are encouraged and praised for ‘writing as a reader’, drawing on vocabulary they have been to exposed to in their reading. Topic specific and subject specific vocabulary is explored in the same way, ensuring definitions of new words and phrases are given and the accurate use of these are modelled. Vocabulary from all areas of the curriculum, including technical vocabulary, is encouraged to be used when children are writing across any genre.
Children’s vocabulary bank is built upon daily, with frequent opportunities to retrieve in order to ensure new words and definitions become embedded into children’s long-term memory and are applied automatically. Through exposure to high quality texts, both during reading and writing sessions, children will develop their knowledge of effective language choices, encouraging them to read as a writer and write as a reader. Children are taught about the intent of different words and phrases, for example, positive or negative intent, and they explore a variety of synonyms of words, rank ordering them by intensity. Children are praised for using this vocabulary effectively in their writing.
Children are taught about the morphology of different words linked to root words, prefixes and suffixes are they are encouraged to select the correct phoneme/spelling rule when spelling words in their writing.
From Nursery, children are taught the correct posture and position for writing. Effective pencil grip is also taught from an early age, with the aim for all children to be using a tripod grip. Right and left handed children are identified as soon as possible and children are taught the most effective posture and position of the paper as a result. The teaching of letter formation is consistent across school, following our Handwriting Policy. Children are taught to join letters in Key Stage One when class teachers assess that they are confident to do so.
Assessment of writing is on-going. During lessons teachers record on a whole class feedback sheet, identifying children who have exceeded the learning objective, along with common misconceptions and individuals who need extra support. At each of the 3 data drops children’s writing is assessed against the EYFS and National Curriculum and a judgement is recorded on Target Tracker.
When assessing children against age related expectations in subjects from across the curriculum, children’s ability to communicate through the written form is triangulated with subject specific knowledge and skills.
© Castleford Academy Trust 2020