At Addison, children begin writing from Nursery where they start to develop their fine motor skills. From Reception, children explore different genres of writing and record every day.
In Year 1, in the autumn and spring terms, children complete writing tasks based on the ‘Read Write Inc’ (RWI) scheme. In this, the children engage in exciting storybooks and use these as scaffolds to hold, correct and create their own sentences. In the summer term, children move away from the RWI storybooks and start independent writing. This is to provide a smooth transition into Year 2 and begin developing an independent author’s voice.
From Year 2 to Year 6, every term children compose four extended pieces of writing. In these pieces, teachers focus on the grammar foci that match the year group expectations. Not only do teachers focus on the grammar foci for their year group, but children also revise previous grammar expectations during grammar starters every day.
At Addison, we believe in broadening the children’s vocabulary bank. In order to do this, teachers explicitly teach rich vocabulary for each unit. The children learn rich vocabulary in the context of the text type and then experiment with the words so that they are able to apply them in different sentence types. This can be through games, songs or role-play.
The children are then fully equipped and are able to create a writing toolkit. Using writing toolkits as success criteria for their work, the children then plan, write and edit their writing. At Addison, we fully believe in children editing and up-levelling their own work. The children do this in green pen so that teachers can see the children making changes to their pieces, just as well-known authors do! After editing and perfecting, the children publish their pieces in their celebration books. The children take pride in these books and move through the school with them. By the end of Year 6, they have a portfolio of their writing throughout Addison.
As children work their way up the school, they become confident in identifying the ‘Purpose, Audience, Language and Structure’ (PALS) of the texts they read. This provides the children with a sense of direction in their own writing and helps develop their author’s voice.
At Addison, we aim to foster a love and appreciation of writing where children are able to develop creativity and imagination. We have chosen diverse text types that provide opportunity to write for different purposes. Throughout their school journey, children read adventure, historical, modern and traditional stories. They encounter writing from varied authors, ranging from the humorous works of Roald Dahl to the deep, eerie scripts of William Shakespeare.
We try to make our texts relevant and relatable to the children. The texts studied in English correspond with the topic subjects, but also have a range of protagonists (diverse in gender and ethnicity) and discuss key themes related to mental health and wellbeing. These themes are, ‘nothing is as big as we make it in our minds’, ‘without the rain, there would be no rainbow’ and ‘changing means growing, and growing is always a good thing’. Through embedding these key themes in our lessons, the children make links and relate to the texts at hand, taking lessons and morals from the book and using them in their personal growth.
We have high expectations of our children at Addison and we try to incorporate writing in all subjects to maintain high standards. For example, in History Year 3 children wrote a non-chronological report on why the River Nile was so important for the Ancient Egyptians.
Children learn words for weekly spelling tests. We accept that there will be mistakes in tests, and just look for consistency and improvement. After all, two out of 10 is twice as good as one out of 10! We encourage children to identify misspelt words in their own writing and provide opportunities for them to make necessary corrections using resources at hand, i.e. phonic sound charts or dictionaries.
At Addison, we use pre-cursive font in EYFS and at the start of Year 1. Handwriting is incorporated within the RWI programme. After this, we follow the Nelson Handwriting Scheme to learn how to form our letters and numbers. Children learn discrete handwriting in at least three lessons a week. Whilst children up until Year 1 use handwriting books, children move on to practising handwriting in the back of their English books so that presentation remains consistent in all subjects. Once children can prove their handwriting is accurate and consistent, teachers award these children with a pen license. The children love it when they receive their very own handwriting pen!
We encourage children to participate in extra-curricular writing opportunities. This year, we had six winners of the ‘Young Writers’ poetry competition where the children’s work was published on the website. The children also received a certificate and a book with all the winning entries inside!
This year, we also marked the 6th year anniversary of the Grenfell Fire where the children entered the ‘POETRY4GRENFELL’ competition. The children showed maturity and empathy when writing about love, loss and the significance of community.