At Henleaze Infant School our intention is that all children view themselves as confident and able writers and see value and find pleasure in the writing process. We use quality texts and capitalise on the power of stories to engage and enthuse our children We believe the exposure of children’s literature within the primary school setting is vital as a rich context for learning; not only within English as a subject but to support building a reading culture throughout the school.All staff work with the children to advance pupil outcomes in writing, engaging our learners with the creative writing process, whilst securing deep learning in the core writing skills of transcription, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and composition.
The early development of oracy, reading and physical development play an integral role in a child’s journey to writing and all children will develop at different speeds. Through early identification of needs we ensure that children are given the support needed to convey their knowledge and ideas through the written word. By the time children leave Henleaze Infant School they will have experienced writing across a wide range of real-life and creative genres all of which have purpose within the child’s life experience. They will have a strong understanding of how writing is used in the world around them and see themselves as authors and illustrators.
Writing in all its forms touches all aspects of our curriculum at Henleaze Infant School. We are ambitious for our children as writers and we make it explicit that every child is a writer through our consistent and engaging whole school approach, using an extensive use of core texts as a hook and stimulus to model great writing.
Our curriculum incorporates progression and cohesion, ensuring coverage of the statutory outcomes outlined in the KS1 English Programme of Study – National Curriculum 2014. We will always plan for writing opportunities to be meaningful; whether short or long and to have a clear audience. We ensure that children have real reasons to write, whether to explain, persuade, inform or instruct and that where possible, this may be embedded within text or linked to a curriculum area.
Writing in a role using a range of genres is key to our approach alongside writing a critique of the text and making comparisons – all writing skills that will support children as they progress through their education. Through secure subject knowledge, teachers support and challenge pupils in learning new skills during handwriting, spelling, punctuation and grammar sessions, as well as through phonics teaching, whilst providing opportunities for meaningful application of writing as a skill applied across the curriculum. To ensure deep learning and progression, we use and adapt to our needs, a range of schemes to support teaching and learning. Our core phonics progression follows Letters and Sounds, with Jolly Phonics resources to support. Spelling Seeds is used as a spelling progression and resources and Pen Pals handwriting for our handwriting progression. We use the A to Z of Literacy scheme to support children who are in need of intervention.
Quality texts act as an initial stimulus and are carefully chosen by teachers based on the learning opportunities offered and importantly, children’s interests, to hook children into the writing process. Other resources are also used to stimulate writing; including artefacts, short video clips, a single picture, a message left by someone or a real-life situation that arises. Genres are revisited and applied across the curriculum to allow for deep learning and independent application of skills. We aim to ensure coverage of genres, cultures, diversity and authors through our curriculum. The Literacy Tree planning, partners of the English Hub, acts as guidance for this.
Oracy is used as a foundation for the writing process with increasing children’s exposure to new vocabulary and sentence construction as key elements. Group and paired talk as well as drama are used to support composition, with writing sequences beginning with planned talk. As the children progress through the school they are encouraged to read their work out aloud and edit and improve their work.#
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Whole school curriculum map
Writing Progression Through the school
Click on the following images to view the progression documents for writing.
Writing progress is closely linked to reading progress
We aim to:
Teach using a variety of genres: stories, poetry, factual recounts and instructions
Linked to quality texts used to ‘hook’ the children in
Make writing meaningful, purposeful and fun…with all children seeing themselves as authors!
We use ‘The Literacy Tree’ to support our planning with our choice of Quality texts.
SPAG – Spelling Punctuation and Grammar
- In the National Curriculum for Key Stage 1, there is a strong emphasis on SPAG to enable children to develop automaticity in the core writing elements
- Spelling is key! Regular class based activities to help reinforce accuracy in spelling of high frequency words and common exception words (words that cannot be sounded out with phonemes they currently know).
- Learning the use of different sentence punctuation ? . , !
- KS1 children will be taught SPAG vocabulary connected to their learning-noun, verb, adjective, suffix, prefix…
- Handwriting is explicitly taught weekly in class – the focus is on accurate letter formation before joining. Starting letters in the correct place is key to this. This is linked to their phonics and spelling learning through the week.
Check the class blog for the English focus each week.
The Start of the Writing Journey here at Henleaze Infants – Writing in the EYFS
- We encourage mark making in all areas of the classroom and outside area.
- Children use a variety of mark making tools: pens, pencils, crayons, chalks, brushes, whiteboards and pens, clipboards, iPads, interactive whiteboards etc.
- We practise gross and fine motor skills to improve pencil control and pencil grip.
- We encourage and value emergent ‘pretend’ writing – squiggles / random letters. Ask ‘what does it say?’
- Whole class shared writing is used to teach and practise skills: L- R orientation, finger spaces, word building, sentence construction, full stops.
- We encourage children to write independently using their phonic knowledge to spell words independently.
- We practise the spelling of ‘tricky’ CEW (Common Exception Words) to use in our writing.
Supporting the learning of Writing at home
- Initially you should encourage your child to draw and take some time to discuss their drawings.
- Show an interest in, and ask questions about, the things your child draws, and may try to write.
- Asking your child to write for a ‘real’ purpose is great at home. Lists, cards, letters, memo reminder notes.
- Children need to form their letters correctly. We focus on this every day across all areas of the curriculum that involve literacy and writing. This is a very important step because as children move up through the school, they begin to learn and master joined handwriting which is only possible with the correct letter formation, starting in the correct place, holding a pencil in a tripod grip. Please support this at home. You can click here to view the Phase 2 phonemes with a description of the corresponding action, the correct letter formation and the image children that will associate with the phoneme.
We use 4 Formation Families to help with formation and the starting points for each letter:
- As they move through the school, children write using an extended vocabulary. We model using expressive language and actively thinking of an alternative for simple words such as ‘said’, ‘happy’ or ‘nice’ in our writing. We encourage children to do the same and extend their vocabulary, using a variety of words.
Extending our Children’s Vocabulary
EYFS and Year 1 have a word of the week with year 2 having a word of the day. These are published weekly on our learning blogs. They are displayed in the classrooms and are discussed and used in the children’s learning throughout the week. Sharing the word with your child and discussing it’s meaning and putting it into context with your child at home also is really valuable to supporting enriching their vocabulary.
Ambitious words may require their ‘own’ attempts at spelling, but encourage the correct spelling of words you know they should know! If they are using graphemes for phonemes they know when ‘having a go’ at independent spelling then this should be praised.
Every Time We Write Posters
In school, every time we write we consider the following, each year group building on the previous…
Click on the following links for more information about the following…
Writing Coverage through the school
National Curriculum Spelling in Year 1
National Curriculum Spelling in Year 2
Handwriting is a skill to enable all children to write with ease, speed and legibility.
It is our aim at HIS that from the beginning, all our children will be taught to write correctly formed upper and lower-case letters, appropriately sized and with correct spacing between words and the accuracy of formation will be monitored through practice and independent activities.
The majority of children by the end of year 2 will be able to join letters and words as a series of flowing movements and patterns. It has become a priority to ensure that our children are able to develop an enjoyment of writing.
The Early Years
In the Foundation Stage, all pupils are given access to a wide range of writing tools and mediums to practise and develop the early, fine and gross motor skills. Pupils are given early, independent opportunities to ‘mark make’, trace and follow writing patterns. They are introduced to correct letter formation from the beginning as they learn the phoneme/ grapheme correspondence.
Teachers provide opportunities during the school day for individual children to practise those letters that they are mis-forming. Children are taught to develop a tripod pencil grip. They use Penpals Handwriting scheme and Write Dance to support the teaching of Handwriting. Here at Henleaze, teachers do not teach a pre-cursive script. All letters are printed.
Letter formation: 1 focussed session per week. All letters and digits are taught to be formed correctly by starting and finishing in the right place, following and teaching progress through our 4 letter families. Handwriting is modelled by the teacher and practised under supervision. Letter formation is reinforced during daily learning across the curriculum, including our daily phonics sessions
Years 1 and 2
The next 2 years are crucial for a child’s journey to fluency and therefore good habits must be created from day one.
The National Curriculum advises that handwriting requires frequent and discrete, direct teaching especially in Year 1.
By year 2 it is recommended that children should be taught to write with a joined style as soon as they can form letters securely with the correct orientation. This will enable children to write with greater ease and enable them to focus on other, more creative elements of writing, ie, content and complexity.
Handwriting intervention is offered for those children whose fine motor skills are significantly behind their peers eg, slow, laboured, ranging in size, spidery, very dark/light
In Year 1 children should:
Form all letters and digits correctly by starting and finishing in the right place.
Establish consistency in letter size
Position letters on the line
Orientate letters correctly
Use appropriate spacing between words.
In Year 2, children should:
Position letters correctly on the line including ascenders and descenders
Correctly join digraphs, trigraphs, prefixes, suffixes and word endings
In Years 1 and 2, teachers will support the development of good handwriting daily by teaching both direct and discrete handwriting lessons (differentiated).
Explicit Handwriting Lessons. Teacher models on lined whiteboard. Handwriting sessions enable teachers to oversee children’s letter formation and tripod pencil grip. Correct posture and positioning of paper or books are also emphasized during these sessions. The needs of left handed children are taken into consideration.
- 1 focussed session per week where letter formation and joins are modelled and practised under supervision.
- Handwriting reinforcement in phonics sessions. 1 session per day where words with the weekly phonics/spelling focus are modelled and practised under supervision
- Children are encouraged to self assess and tick or fix and correct incorrectly orientated or formed letters and numbers.
Discrete teaching and feedback:
- Supporting children to identify the letters they find difficult in their writing and giving them opportunities to practise these during morning activities, 1:1/small group with an adult, practise at home, pink pen practise (as set out in marking policy)