At Woodland we view the acquisition of writing skills to be of the utmost importance and so the teaching of all aspects of English is given key priority. We believe that developing writing skills is one of the core purposes of primary education: literacy skills empower individuals to unlock their potential as independent lifelong learners.
When pupils enjoy what they are writing about, they write more and they write with increased skill and enthusiasm to succeed. We link our text-based writing curriculum, as much as possible, to our IPC curriculum to provide our children with language rich, relevant and focused writing opportunities. Writing is integral to our children’s whole language experience. When pupils have a clear sense of a real world audience that lies beyond the classroom, their writing is focused and they approach the task with a heightened sense of purpose. The audience might consist of parents, local government, visitors to the public library or perhaps visitors to the school website. At Woodland we believe that writing should be both inspiring yet challenging and enable our pupils to become motivated and adept writers in a range of situations.
How is writing taught at Woodland?
We use the IPC themes, wherever possible, to provide meaningful writing experiences through contexts and to enhance learning. High quality texts are used to challenge, enthuse and engage children. There is planned progression in the teaching of writing, including exploring features, planning, drafting, assessing and editing through the familiarisation of the text type, the identification of structure and language features, modelled writing, shared writing, supported composition, guided writing and independent writing.
At Woodland we are focused on enabling the children to construct sentences which are powerful and varied in structure. We call these our "Supersonic Sentences" and we teach these in a variety of different ways. We encourage the children to write a broad range of sentence types when composing and we use the Alan Peat sentence structures to help us to do this. Please see below our curriculum map for the sentence constructions we introduce at various different points in the year.
/site-content/1/Alan Peat Whole School Map.pub
Ask your child about the "supersonic sentence" work they have been doing in their class.
Green Pen Marking
We started the Autumn term by providing all of the children with a green pen with which to respond to the teachers' marking. The children have produced some fabulous writing this term and are being taught how to make improvements to their writing. At least once every two weeks the children are expected to produce a lengthier piece of writing based upon the book they have been studying. The teacher provides very detailed feedback to this and the children then use their green pens to edit, improve and annotate their work. The children love their green pen marking and we have seen some fabulous work produced this half term using the system!
Presentation is a priority at Woodland and we are committed to providing the children with the skills necessary to write their work fluently, legibly and eventually with good pace. We expect the children to use a cursive handwriting style, which they start to learn in EYFS. We establish high expectations and pride in everything we do – both of ourselves and of the children and we have a taught handwriting session per week where the children develop their skills to be able to do this. Children of all abilities are expected and able to present their work to their highest possible standard increasing their confidence and self-esteem.
See below for an example of our cursive handwriting alphabet.
Talk for Writing
Talk for Writing is an approach which supports children to explore, through talk, the thinking and creative processes involved in being a writer. It is embedded at an early age at Woodland, with our KS1 children successfully using it to improve their writing. Talk for Writing is an approach that goes beyond the development of children’s general spoken language skills – it allows children to explore the processes involved in being a writer, and extends oral rehearsal so that it becomes a draft for their written pieces. The approach supports the move from talk into writing and is hugely enjoyable for the children.
Reading at Woodland
Woodland Primary has a clear, consistent, whole school approach to reading. Competence in reading is the key to lifelong learning and is given the highest priority, enabling the children to become enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers. Success in reading has a direct effect upon progress in all other areas of the Curriculum and is crucial in developing children’s self-confidence and motivation.
At Woodland we teach reading through a blend of Focussed Phonics Sessions, Group Guided Reading, Individual Reading, Shared Reading across the curriculum and opportunities to read for pleasure.
From Reception the children receive 2 Guided Reading sessions per week with the teacher or TA, initially focussing on telling stories from picture books . As children move into Key Stage 1 and 2, Guided Reading is timetabled daily for 20 minutes. Children continue to have 2 Guided Reading sessions per week and when not reading with an adult they are engaged in an independent reading task.
Guided Reading is a daily session which all children have access to throughout our school. These sessions are opportunities to teach and practise the full range of reading strategies including phonic and grammatical knowledge, word recognition, graphic and contextual knowledge, that children need to become happy, confident and great readers! Children and adults will discuss books with reference to author, illustrator, genre, theme and characters, and express personal responses with increasing fluency. Adults ask differentiated questions and use these to help to track children’s progress.
From Reception individual reading is also part of our weekly reading provision. Oxford Reading Tree is our core scheme, offering children the opportunity to engage with the cumulative nature of a Reading Scheme. These are supplemented with phonics books (if they are still working at Phase 1 – 6 of Letters and Sounds) and ‘real books’ that provide a wider breadth of genres.
We also operate the one-to-one intervention Better Reading Partnership, which we use to accelerate progress in reading.