Learning to Write
When children are learning to write, they develop two sets of skills;
This part of writing is all about being able to compose or generate ideas for writing. This is a journey which begins with listening to words, rhymes, information and stories often. Children need to be able to think and speak well before they can compose ideas in a way that they can write down. Listening to, learning by heart and reciting stories (or sections of them) allows children to internalise the sort of language they might later need to try writing a story of their own ('Once upon a time' or 'All of a sudden' or 'Happily ever after'!).
Role Play, small world play (with farm animals, puppets or dolls houses) and drama games allow them to practice putting words together to tell 'stories' which help them embed story language.
At Faringdon Infant School, we are committed to the importance of out young learners having opportunities to speak, role play and recite before, and alongside writing. We also recognise that being able to write in different forms means that children will need to have experience of lots of different forms of writing. We promote a language rich environment where children can see, hear and find, labels, signs and posters, poems and rhymes, information books and stories of all types.
When we teach a form of writing, we ensure that children have had the chance to see some writing of that type, and classroom staff always model composing their writing.
We believe that writing is a process and not a one time activity. This means that we encourage planning, writing, editing and improving, not just sitting down and expecting to produce a finished piece!
This part of writing is all about the mechanics and tools for writing. It includes handwriting, using phonics and other strategies for spelling, using appropriate punctuation and grammar. There is a lot for young children to think about in terms of transcription, which is why developing fluent and practiced language and ideas verbally is so important before they try to cope with all the mechanics of getting it onto the paper!
In our Read, Write, Inc. phonics lessons we prepare children for how to use their phonic knowledge to write a word. This is the method we use.
Some words are harder to sound out because they do not follow the usual phonics rules (letter do not make the sounds we expect them to make!). Words that are commonly used but are tricky words are introduced separately and practiced, paying attention to the unusual way the letters work in them, for example 'was', where the letter a sounds like an 'o'. There is a list below of words of this sort which children should be able to read and spell by the end of year two. There are also some ideas that we love using for spelling practice!