Purpose of learning to write
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
read easily, fluently and with good understanding;
develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information;
acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language;
appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage;
write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences;
use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas;
are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
transcription (spelling and handwriting)
composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)
It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils will be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.
Spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and glossary
The two statutory appendices – on spelling and on vocabulary, grammar and punctuation – give an overview of the specific features that should be included in teaching the programmes of study.
Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers should show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They should also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. References to developing pupils’ vocabulary are also included within the appendices.
Pupils should be taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They should be taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ listed. This is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, but simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons. A non-statutory Glossary is provided for teachers.
Throughout the programmes of study, teachers should teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching.
At St Augustine's Primary School we celebrate good progress and attainment in writing by choosing a 'Writer of the Week' from each class. 'Writers of the Week' are recognised in our Celebration Assemblies. We also have a 'Handwriting Spy' who identifies and rewards excellent handwriting. Nobody knows who the Handwriting Spy is!
Click the link above to see what your child/ren will be learning about in writing during their time at St Augustine's.
Click the link above to see what your child/ren will be learning about in grammar during their time at St Augustine's.