At Aldeburgh Primary School our overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
At Aldeburgh our children will be taught to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. They will be encouraged to use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas. We would expect our children to leave Aldeburgh school to be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
At Aldeburgh Primary School we use Read Write Inc. Spelling for Years 2-6, which teaches spelling cumulatively and systematically with deliberate, focused practice. It builds upon the teaching strategies and spelling activities from Read Write Inc. Phonics. Spellings are taught every day.
We have adopted ‘The Write Stuff’ by Jane Constantine to bring clarity and consistency to the mechanics of writing and to enable our children to write effectively and coherently. As a school, all children from Year 1 to Year 6 learn to write through the Write Stuff approach. This was developed by teacher and leading English consultant, Jane Considine. It is a fun, creative and rigorous approach to develop children’s writing. This approach allows children to apply basic skills, vocabulary and grammar knowledge to write effective sentences, which are full of impact and keep the reader interested.
In The Write Stuff approach to writing, the children explore high level, rich vocabulary and are taught grammar in context through different writing lenses on the Writing Rainbow. There are three lenses used to support children with their writing:
Fantastics – ideas for writing
Grammaristics – tools for writing
Boomtastics – writing techniques
The Write Stuff is based on two guiding principles; teaching sequences that slide between experience days and sentence stacking lessons.
As part of the teaching sequence, teachers plan experience days; sentence stacking lessons and independent writing sequences. Experience days immerse children in experiences linked to their writing and drench them in vocabulary linked to the lenses in ‘The Writing Rainbow’. From the experience days, children take part in the sentence stacking lessons. Sentence stacking lessons focus on writing three sentences with focuses on lenses of the rainbow.
‘The Write Stuff’ follows a method called ‘Sentence Stacking’ which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing.
An individual lesson is based on one plot point from the text, broken in to three learning chunks:
1. Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
2. Model section – the teacher models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques
3. Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the teacher’s model.
This part of the unit is heavily scaffolded with lots of teacher input and modelling of vocabulary use, sentence construction and use of grammar with reference to the 3 writing lenses.
During the initiate section children ‘chot’ (chat and jot) down their ideas from stimulating resources, such as pictures, music and drama. The children are encouraged to use ‘kind calling out’ where they call out examples of vocabulary, adverbs, onomatopoeia etc.
During the Model section the teacher prepares children for writing by modelling the ideas, grammar and techniques of writing taken from the writing rainbow.
In the Enable section pupils write their own sentences, taking the opportunity to deepen the moment. ‘Deepen the Moment’ is where children are challenged to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing during that chunk.
Following the sentence stacking, children are given the opportunity to show what they have learnt by planning and writing their own independent piece of writing.