We aim for all our children to develop key writing skills and real confidence in expressing themselves with the written word. We provide interesting and engaging opportunities for writing to develop the children’s skills. Writing is an important skill across the curriculum and children write at length in other curriculum subjects as well as English. For example, they will record in science, explain their ideas in history and even explain their ideas in mathematics.
Writing is a process and children practice their writing skills and receive feedback from their teacher through drafting, editing and redrafting to achieve a final piece. These are called published pieces and are kept in a record of children’s progress.
Writing is linked to the class text that is being studied and we have carefully structured English lessons so that reading and grammar skills are develop children’s writing skills over a two-week cycle. In the first week there is a reading focus and in the second week there is a writing focus. During reading focus weeks children’s learning in reading supports writing through developing their understanding of narrative, how authors use language and how information is presented and explained. During writing focus weeks, the children use the style or techniques used by the author they are studying. They are also taught the mechanics of writing through studying Vocabulary, Conjunctions, Openers and Punctuation (VCOP) which can be applied to any writing style or genre.
Openers - by varying the way you open sentences or paragraphs writing becomes more engaging to read. Try opening your sentences with words beginning with 'ing' or 'ly'. For example, "Peering nervously around the corner, the burglar watched as the police car drove away." Or, "Anxiously, his heart pounding at his chest, the burglar watched as the police car drove away."
Punctuation - the ‘icing on the cake’, so to speak! Children are encouraged to use appropriate punctuation to lift their writing off the page and to enable the reader to make sense of the text. The punctuation pyramid is used to show the hierarchy of punctuation that children are taught and encouraged to use.
Vocabulary - every child is encouraged to widen their use of language, to make their writing richer e.g. ‘The sirens filled the sky.’ - not that interesting! However, by developing vocabulary: ‘The screaming sirens were suffocating the silent night.’ is a far more interesting sentence to read. Children 'borrow' high level vocabulary that they come across as they read texts. They store these and use them again in their own writing. Encourage your children to look out for wonderful words that they can record in their reading record.
Conjunctions - or joining words, are important for ensuring writing is cohesive and interesting. Using conjunctions automatically creates more interesting complex sentences, whether you use the simpler conjunctions such as and or but, or whether you use more sophisticated ones such as furthermore, nevertheless, consequently or however.