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☰ Mr. Lang’s Guest Blog: Early Years Curriculum Innovation - Talk for Writing

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Mr. Lang’s Guest Blog: Early Years Curriculum Innovation - Talk for Writing

Posted on: 28 Jan 2020 by Weston Green School | Category: Early Years

As an Early Years team of dedicated, passionate teachers, we are always reflecting upon our own practice and identifying areas of the pupils learning that we could develop further. Our pupils produce wonderfully creative pieces of writing, yet we thought ‘what could we do to give them an even greater command of storytelling language; to produce even more detailed stories in their writing?’

A real benefit of Weston Green being part of the Bellevue Education group of schools, is the opportunities this affords to speak to colleagues in different schools and to visit different schools in action. On one such trip to Sherborne House School, I was able to see them teaching through the Talk for Writing approach. I was immediately impressed by the learning taking place and we were lucky enough to have some of their teachers come and provide training at Weston Green, so we could incorporate the Talk for Writing approach into our own teaching and learning.

Talk for Writing is the idea that children should be immersed in stories; in storytelling vocabulary and language. In Talk for Writing, pupils will learn a story off by heart, with actions accompanying the specific vocabulary within the story - long before they write anything down. This is combined with a range of activities related to the story, allowing children the time and opportunity to really get to know the characters, settings and structure of each story. This first stage is Imitation

There are three stages in the Talk for Writing approach, with the next stage being Innovation. At this point, children begin to change the story they have learnt, introducing their own ideas but keeping the same language, the same structure and some of the same content as the original story. Through this, in Reception we have seen ‘The Three Little Pigs’ become ‘The Three Giant Dinosaurs’!

The third stage is Invention. This is where pupils can apply all of their knowledge of story structure and all of the storytelling language they have acquired, to create their very own story and record it orally or in writing. 

We are still at the beginning of our journey teaching literacy through this approach, but already we are seeing a greater command of storytelling language from our pupils and a real richness in the content of the stories they create. The video below is a fantastic example of the Imitation stage, whereby our Reception pupil is telling the story of Mr. Wiggle and Mr. Waggle from a story map, using wonderful expression and storytelling language:

Mr. Jason Lang (Head of Early Years)

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