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English and Writing at the Federation

‘Talk 4 Writing’ is a particular way of teaching English that focuses on using pupils’ spoken language to develop their writing. It is based on the assumption that, before a child can write a sentence, they need to be able to speak it aloud. The approach enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally, before writing their own version. At the Trumpington Federation, when we start a new topic of writing, for example, ‘suspense story writing’, we begin by learning a model text, using a version written in pictures which we call a ‘text map’. The children act out the text map which adds to their vocabulary and embeds the structure and tone of the type of text. Next, the children have a go at writing sections of their own suspense story, using the features they have learnt from the model text (such as how to use short sentences and ‘bringing objects to life’). After that, the children let their imaginations run completely free, choosing their own setting and events in their suspense story and showing off all they have learnt.

At the Federation, we have found that children really enjoy writing using the ‘Talk 4 Writing’ approach. As the name suggests, there is a lot of talking in writing lessons, which means that brilliant ideas are shared and developed. The model texts support less confident writers in how to structure their ideas and give more confident writers a springboard off which to fly. Staff at the Federation have been impressed by the speed of progress they are seeing in their young writers, and have enjoyed exploring the creative ideas which the children are producing.