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Aston Clinton School

Writing

'English is the language of the future…the most important tool you’ll ever need, no matter what career you choose. You have the right to English. Make it your right!' Benjamin Zephaniah

Intent

At Aston Clinton, we understand that children who learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are at an advantage when continuing their education and further beyond into the workplace and community.

 

We intend for our children to be effective communicators; attentive listeners; confident speakers; and grammatically accurate writers.

 

Our English curriculum offers a wide variety of opportunities to explore and practise both spoken and written language through Jane Considine's approach 'The Write Stuff'. The experience days and sentence stacking lessons provide pupils with the skills they require to successfully communicate their thoughts, ideas and emotions for a range of audiences and purposes. At the heart of this curriculum are high quality books and a range of stimuli, which have been selected by our leaders and teachers to inspire and engage children, whilst equipping them with the knowledge of the wider world. Alongside this, we use the Active Spelling scheme as this is a supportive, structured and progressive sequence of lessons.

Implementation

At Aston Clinton, we ensure that all children see themselves as a writer.  We  follow ‘The Write Stuff’ from Reception through to Year 6.   The Write Stuff is the work of the teacher, author and education consultant Jane Considine.  It brings clarity to the mechanics of writing and provides clear systems through which to focus the writer’s attention. We have structured units of work into a long-term plan that links to our reading scheme.  We aspire to build children's love of reading and writing through the exposure of high quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

 

Each unit begins with a series of ‘sentence-stacking’ lessons that are used to develop pupils’ understanding of grammar, syntax and vocabulary. These provide a high level of cognitive support so that the complexity of learning at this stage is scaffolded for success. At appropriate times, ‘experience lessons’ are used to provide structured opportunities for vocabulary development, drama, experiential learning or research so that pupils’ understanding of the topic or fictional situation is deepened. Following this, a separate series of independent writing lessons takes pupils from the planning stage to the development of a final written piece.  Each lesson  follows a repeated pattern of ‘Initiate’, ‘Model’ and ‘Enable’ which makes use of the three zones of writing (BOOMTASTICS; FANTASTICS and GRAMMARISTICS) to provide a consistent whole school systematic approach to writing composition.

The FANASTICS are used to structure children’s ideas and BOOMTASTICS and GRAMMARISTICS are used to support children in using literary devices and aspects of grammar to enhance their writing. We focus on the language authors use and the way that sentences are structured, thinking about how they impact on the reader.

 

The Fantastics offer 9 lenses with which to structure ideas and target children’s thinking. This supports children in developing variety in their writing by focussing on the vocabulary used, initiating ideas, provoking thoughts and igniting imaginations.   

The Grammaristics focus on the importance of accurate grammqr where tools are taught and used immediately to help children develop fascination around language so that they can manipulate and carefully structure words into sentences 

The Boomtastics focus on the art of writing, using a range of literary devices and techniques to make careful choices, playing with language to add flair to our writing and achieve various intentional impacts on our reader, painting vivid pictures through our word choices.

 

Acquisition of language is of vital importance to us at Aston Clinton and throughout writing lessons we aim to support children in widening their vocabulary, accessing language beyond that that they may use naturally. We achieve this through techniques such as ‘Picture Power’, ‘Shades of Meaning’ and focussing on the sentences.

Impact

Children will be respected as an individual writer, provided with regular opportunities to make individual choices and encouraged to develop their own creativity. Regular practice of key writing skills will provide children with the confidence to apply these in a range of independent situations whereby they have the chance to show what they have internalised. The range of writing experiences we provide will enable all children to alter their long term memory and thus know more, remember more and be able to do more as writers. 

Pupil Voice

Dexter (Year 6), "I feel supported in my writing all the time and the learning chunks really help me organise my writing"

Handwriting

At Aston Clinton Primary School, we teach 'writing' right from the start.   We use the 'Letter Join' Handwriting Scheme; this supports children to develop the correct letter formation and accurate joining of handwriting.  

 

In the Early Years, we align the teaching of handwriting to our phonics programme: Little Wandle.  

 

By the end of Year 6, we want our children to have developed an effective cursive script as a way of effective written communication. They will be able to write fluently at speed so that they can communicate through their writing.

 

By the end of Reception year - the majority of children should be able to form all 26 letters of the alphabet correctly using a pre-cursive script.

By the end of Year 1 - the majority of children should be able to form individual letters and vowel digraphs (see phonics pages) using a pre-cursive script

 By the end of Year 2 - the majority of children should be joining their writing using cursive script

 By the end of Year 4 - the majority of children should be ready to develop their own joined fluent script

 

As with any skill, handwriting develops more rapidly with regular practice. Below are a selection of resources which you can download and use to develop your child's handwriting at home. Please speak with your child's class teacher if you have any questions about the resources, how to use them effectively or to discuss your child's handwriting. 

For more details about your child's learning, please use the following link to the year group learning pages.