In the Early years, our children are encouraged to attempt their own emergent writing.
As their phonic knowledge increases and they are introduced to red words (common exception words), it is expected that this will be reflected in their writing. A wide variety of opportunities are provided for our children to engage in writing activities linked to our engaging projects. These include: shared writing, independent writing and role-play. Through engaging in these activities, the children become aware that writing is used for a range of purposes and can distinguish it from
drawing, learning the left to right convention of writing in English. The children are introduced to basic punctuation and will begin to use this in their independent writing.
In Key Stage 1, our children build on their writing skills through daily English lessons that cover the National Curriculum objectives. These are integrated as part of our curriculum. Children are introduced to a range of punctuation and taught how to use this accurately and effectively in their writing. We encourage children to say their sentences out loud to help them remember what they want to write and to record this accurately, self-editing where necessary. The children are set individual targets for their writing and are encouraged to use and think about these each time they write. These targets are monitored and reviewed regularly.
To enrich the English curriculum, each week our children take part in ‘Free Writing Friday’, an initiative championed by the ‘How to Train a Dragon’ author Cressida Cowell to encourage children to write for pleasure. Each Friday, our pupils are encouraged to write creatively in their own personalised notebooks for at least fifteen minutes. By taking part in these we aim to promote a love of writing for all children and boost their confidence in the subject by allowing them to write freely and creatively without fear of being corrected. Throughout the year, our children are also given the opportunity to take part in various poetry and creative writing competitions, which are celebrated in whole school assemblies.
In the Early Years, our children are provided with a range of opportunities for mark making both in an inside and an outside environment. They also have access to many different gross and fine motor activities to help strengthen and develop these important skills. When teachers are modelling activities, they demonstrate and encourage correct pencil grip. The children are taught how to correctly form pre-cursive letters through the Read Write Inc handwriting scheme using the rhymes to support.
In Key Stage 1, handwriting is taught in explicit, regular sessions focusing on cursive letter formation, consistent size and shape of letters, as well as accurate joining. Extra intervention is offered to children who need further handwriting support.
In the Early Years, spelling is taught daily through Read Write Inc phonics sessions, in these sessions children have the opportunity to practice spelling words containing the sounds they are taught in each lesson using ‘Fred Fingers’. When learning how to spell, the children hold up their non-dominant hand and sound out the word they are spelling. They then put up the correct number of fingers and pinch the sounds to support them. E.g. m-a-t = 3 sounds = 3 fingers.
In Key Stage 1, our children continue with Read Write Inc phonics sessions, learning how to spell words with each sound that they are taught and develop their use of ‘Fred fingers’ to spell longer and more complex words. As the children complete the Read Write Inc scheme, they will begin to learn spelling patterns and rules to support them in moving beyond phonically plausible spelling and will be able to use this knowledge to select the correct graphemes when writing. In Year 1, our children are taught and practise spelling at least three common exception words throughout the week. These common exception words are sent home and the children are encouraged to practise these regularly. In Year 2, our children are given differentiated spellings to learn at home taken from the common exception word list. The children have their own spelling books and are encouraged to complete various spelling activities and games.