We want all of our children to be confident spellers. We start their journey of learning to spell in Reception and KS1 where they learn to segment words and identify the sounds they need during their daily phonics sessions. In year 2, they begin to learn some spelling rules such as adding certain suffixes to enable them to spell some more complex words.
In KS2, we use our own in-house spelling scheme called Spell Well. This focuses on the high frequency words that children should be able to spell at the end of each year, the new spelling rules for each year group, whilst also recapping the high frequency words and spelling rules of the year group before.
We encourage our children to practise these words every day and look out for opportunities to use them in their day-to-day writing.
We also want all our children to have a neat, legible handwriting style.
In early years, we focus on fine motor skills to ensure all children have the muscle strength for writing. The children also learn how to form all the letters with a lead-in and lead-out which gets them ready for joining their writing in later years.
In KS1, our children begin to use those lead-ins to join their writing and by the time the children start KS2, most are doing this confidently. We continue to practise our handwriting with daily short sessions in year 3 and 4. Joined up writing not only ensures the children's work is more presentable and readable, but increases the children's ability to write quickly and fluently.
At our school, we like to foster a love of writing and to encourage all our children to view themselves as creative writers. We do this by focusing on the purpose of writing. We use the four main headings of writing to entertain, writing to inform, writing to persuade and writing to discuss.
As much as possible, we try to ensure our writing has a
real life purpose. Some of these have included writing letters to supermarkets to encourage them to reduce their use of palm oil, writing to SeaWorld to encourage them to stop using dolphins for entertainment, writing book reviews for Amazon about books we have read together and writing letters to our pen pals.
We will often link our writing to our class text and/or our class topic and follow the same writing journey each time. Our writing journey always begins with sharing and exploring some quality examples of the type of text we are going to be writing. Next, we spend some time generating some useful language and teaching the specific grammatical features that will be relevant to our final piece of writing. We then move on to planning our own piece of writing using the new grammatical features. We are then ready to spend some time writing our own independent compositions. Lastly, and one of the most important steps of our journey, we edit and improve our writing. We often then think about how to present our writing for display.
Of course, writing doesn't only happen in our English lessons; we ensure we are doing extended pieces of writing across the foundation subjects, too. During topic based lessons, children will be given the opportunity to write short essays based on a question to do with their key learning in a particular subject. Although the aim of these essays is to show off the children's knowledge and research in one subject area, we still have the same high expectations for their writing skills as we do in an English lesson.
Lastly, and most importantly, we believe that reading quality texts is one of the key developers of children as writers. As such, all classes focus on sharing quality, vocabulary rich texts every day - for guided reading lessons, as stimulus for writing lessons and for enjoying together as our class story (please see our reading page for more information on how we develop our children as readers). As Stephen King says, "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot."