Talk for Writing

"Reading is like breathing in, writing is like breathing out."   (Pam Allyn)

At St Chad's, have adopted the Talk for Writing approach (first developed by Pie Corbett and supported by Julia Strong).

The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. The term Talk for Writing not only describes all of the talk that surrounds the teaching of writing but also the wider learning within a unit. It helps the children become better speakers, listeners, readers, writers and thinkers. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.

Talk for Writing involves teachers, children and families engaging with stories and rhymes. A key aspect is to help children to build up a 'bank' of tales, developing their imaginative and linguistic repertoire. The foundation of this work involves Early Years and Key Stage 1, establishing the very roots of imaginative play and early language development through stories and rhymes.

Research into early language development highlights the importance of children being read to as well as the role of interactive language and play. From a young age, children should be brought up within a rich language context, including plenty of family chatter, being read to, as well as storytelling and singing rhymes. Talk for Writing develops a systematic approach to early language development through story and rhyme. Children are taught a bank of well-known stories so that over time they begin to internalise the imaginative world as well as language patterns. These are then used as a basis for creating new stories, drawing on the known patterns as well as reading and children's lives. Finally, the children make up new stories by calling on the imaginative bank of ideas.

 Talk for Writing further allows children to rehearse the structure and sequence of a piece of writing and guides how the text should sound - its style and voice. It also encourages them to generate and rehearse appropriate language and grammar as they work collaboratively to plan, draft and improve their writing.

The Talk for Writing process is underpinned by three key stages:

  • Stage 1 – imitation

  • Stage 2 – innovation

  • Stage 3 – independent application

The imitation stage is centred around getting the children to learn a text type orally which enables a child to internalise a narrative pattern so that it is added to their linguistic repertoire. During this stage, the teacher creates a memorable, meaningful version of the text type being taught (pitched just above the level where the children are), building in the structure and age-appropriate language features,
The children are then taken on a journey from imitation to innovation to independent application for each of the key text types. 

At St Chad's, we have underpinned our Talk for Writing work by establishing a core reading spine that all children experience and draw upon.

A copy of our progression map for Talk for Writing can be found below.