At Altmore Infant School, we aim to provide our children with a writing curriculum which enables them to become creative, confident and independent writers who are able to articulate their own ideas. We support our children to develop transferable skills which they can use across the wider curriculum and throughout their lives. Using a range of high quality literature, film, art and educational visits as stimuli for writing, we are able to link learning to real life experiences, and provide a meaningful curriculum.
In the Early Years we aim to make the physical process of writing enjoyable from the start, so that children can see themselves as ‘writers’. We aim to provide a range of opportunities for the development of children’s fine and gross motor skills through physical activities, as when children are active, they are developing core strength, dexterity, and hand-eye coordination. In order to support engagement, we model being a writer for our children through showing them how to use writing as a form of communication and self-expression. For example, playing in a role-play shop, modelling how and why we might write a shopping list and encouraging the children to write their own.
In English lessons, writing is modelled through our termly core text choices which engage our children to become thoughtful, creative and inventive writers. Children have opportunities to extend their vocabulary through gamification and plenty of opportunities are planned to support them in orally rehearsing stories, sentences etc. Children learn to take pride in their work and this is celebrated throughout our school environment and our ‘Super Writers.’
Please see our Yearly Curriculum Maps to see our termly core texts.
As well as our bespoke planning around English, children also have the following opportunities to write:
- Daily phonic sessions
- 5 sentence stories during out Early Morning Work
- Cross-curricular opportunities for writing during Topic lessons
To celebrate children’s achievements in Writing, children are awarded the title of ‘Super Writers’. Teachers select Super Writer’s in their class to wear a special Super Writer Cape and mask for the day so that their achievement is recognised by everyone at school. This is a great incentive in school and encourages children to give their all in their writing tasks.
In EYFS and KS1 we use the RWI scheme for Handwriting to ensure that children build up their handwriting skills every day. In EYFS children are introduced to the letters of the alphabet through Phonics lessons where they are given the opportunity to practise their letter formations through the use of mnemonics.
These simple memory pictures help children visualise the letter before they write it down. Therefore, children learn the letter formation alongside learning the sound.
Children in KS1 have a minimum of 3 handwriting sessions per week. The scheme makes the physical process of writing enjoyable from the start, so children see themselves as ‘writers.’
There are 3 stages of handwriting using the Read Write Inc programme.
During Stage 1 children learn correct letter formation using the same picture mnemonics they have already learnt in the Set 1 sound lessons. These letters are taught in handwriting groups:
‘Around’ letters: c a o d g q
‘Down’ letters: l t b p k h i j m n r u y
Curly’ letters: e f s
‘Zig-zag’ letters: v w z x.
Once children can form the letters correctly, they learn how to place the letters on the line and of relative size. Children are encouraged to continue using the picture mnemonics help children to visualise the size and placement. The Read Write Inc programme uses the boat and waterline as a guide for children to learn to form their letters within size and orientation. See below:
Some small letters are called ‘boat letters’: a c e i m n o r s u v w x z
Letters that are written below the line are called ‘water letters’: g j p q y
Tall letters are called ‘sun letters’: b d h k l t f
Stage 2 – Children learn a mature style of writing that will lead to joined-up writing.
Stage 3 – Children learn the two basic joins: the arm join (diagonal) and the washing line join (horizontal) and the two variables for each join.
In KS1 we follow the Nelson Spelling which provides a whole-school programme for the teaching of spelling from Reception–Year 6. It is fully matched to the National Curriculum outlined in the following document – Spelling.
Nelson Spelling Scheme introduces spelling rules, structures and patterns in small steps and offers three levels of differentiation, with plenty of writing practice and a clear record of progress for every child. At Altmore, children in KS1 are taught a spelling rule every Monday and then have homework for the week, practising this rule and applying it on a Friday in a spelling test.
A good understanding of grammar gives children conscious control over how they construct their writing; it is an essential part of learning and communication. At Altmore, in KS1, we embed the teaching of grammar in our daily English lessons as well as teaching a discrete grammar lesson each week.
Terminology is taught from an early age, and children learn to recognise and use the correct terminology through discussion and practice. We place high importance on the continuous consolidation of the terms children need to understand, in order to allow them to meet their specific, age-related expectations, in line with the National Curriculum.
We consider enrichment activities to be an important part of our children’s learning, providing children with stimulating and engaging practical experiences that support the curriculum and create a love for learning. Throughout the school year, children take part in a variety of enrichment activities. These include: visitors in school, visits from authors, educational visits, competitions, performances and celebrating our ‘Altmore Achievers’ in a weekly assembly.
Inspiring a love of learning in the resilient and confident leaders of tomorrow.