The Write Stuff Approach at Woodcote
As a school we have adopted “The Write Stuff” by Jane Constantine to bring clarity to the mechanics of writing. ‘The Write Stuff’ follows a method called ‘Sentence Stacking’ which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing.
This approach makes sure that all of our children are exposed to high quality texts or videos that stimulate quality responses to reading, high quality writing and purposeful speaking and listening opportunities. Our curriculum ensures that all children have plenty of opportunities to write for different purposes.
The Write Stuff is based on two guiding principles; teaching sequences that slide between experience days and sentence stacking lessons. With modelling at the heart of them, the sentence stacking lessons are broken into bite-sized chunks and taught under the structural framework of The Writing Rainbow. Teachers prepare children for writing by modelling the ideas, grammar or techniques of writing.
We encourage writing through all curriculum areas and use quality reading texts to model examples of good writing. Writing is taught through a number of different strategies. We believe that children need lots of rich speaking and drama activities to give them the imagination and the experiences that will equip them to become good writers.
Most lessons are based on a modelling excellent sentences, broken in to three chunks:
Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’ s imagination and set up a sentence.
Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.
We teach our grammar progressively using “The Write Stuff” through:
- The FANTASTICs which are an acronym that summarise the ideas of writing – feelings, emotions, senses
- The GRAMMARISTICs is a classroom tool that enables the teacher to drive key grammar messages.
- The BOOMTASTICs which helps children capture 10 ways of adding drama and poetic devices to writing in a vivid visual
To find out about how we teach spellings from EYFS - Year 2, please see Phonics and Early Reading
Children will be tested on their spellings in years 3 - 6 using the Rising Stars scheme. They will bring home spellings each week to practise and be tested on these in the form of dictation exercises ensuring that they know the meaning of all the words in context. Please support your child by practising the spellings at home and encouraging them to place the words in sentences. To make spellings less daunting, practise 2 or 3 a day - there is no need to learn them all at once.
Children are expected to know their common exception words by the end of year 1 and year 2 (known through Sounds-Write as everyday words) year 3, 4, 5 and 6. In year 6, children will have a spelling test in their SATs which will cover rules and common exception words they have been taught throughout school.
Making spellings more challenging
A good way to think of etymology is to use the image of tree roots. As language develops, all the individual roots of a word come together to form a sturdy foundation. The tree is the current form of a language, standing tall thanks to the roots that came before it.
Perhaps they can establish whether the word has Greek or Latin roots, or how has it changed over time or perhaps find out what the word is in other languages?
Supporting my child
For some children and adults, learning patterns of spellings and how to write can be very tricky. Our curriculum is for everyone and we put support in place to help those who find this area of learning difficult. Please speak to your class teacher if you have any concerns or want to know more. Find out more about how we support SEN: SEN (Key Information menu tab)
This website gives some excellent tips to help children and adults with dyslexia, although it has excellent support if you find spellings difficult without having a dyslexic diagnosis.https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/advice/children/how-can-i-support-my-child/spelling