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West Wycombe School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust





At West Wycombe, we want to inspire the children’s love of Literacy by developing their skills to become thoughtful readers and creative writers. Our mission is to enable children to immerse themselves fully in a text. They will broaden their speech and language, widen their vocabulary and further their understanding of the different text types. Every child has the potential to be a creative writer and confident reader. Through Talk 4 Writing, we want all children to be able to embrace literature in its many forms.



Talk 4 Writing was developed by the literacy specialist and writer Pie Corbett. It uses high-quality model texts to introduce the pupils to different story/text types. They then learn these by heart and scrutinise them with a writer’s critical eye.


At West Wycombe, we want to help all our pupils to develop into creative writers. We achieve this through the Talk for Writing approach. It enables pupils of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of stories and varying text types. The multi-sensory and interactive teaching activities used include:


  • Drama and role-play;
  • Building their working knowledge of grammar
  • Drawing and story mapping
  • Listening to and learning texts and stories
  • Using exploratory and presentational talk
  • Collecting words and language strategies
  • Taking part in debating and discussion


Talk for writing has three key phrases which work together to develop knowledge, confidence and independence in writing.


Imitation and Immersion

Talk for Writing units begins with a hook which fires up the creativity and imagination of the children before they read the model text.

During this phase, the pupils learn the text using actions and story maps. Pupils internalise the text type through repetition and rehearsal. They explore the structure of the narrative and investigate the different characters, settings and events. They also begin to look closely at the language used and its effect. During this process, children ‘read as a reader’ and ‘read as a writer’. The classroom becomes a dynamic, interactive resource filled with word ideas, sentence types and language tools to use in their stories later.



During this phase, the teacher and the pupils change aspects to model the text using their ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and develop new ideas for descriptive language whilst sticking closely to the underlying structure.


It is during this phase that the pupils work using their toolkits. The toolkits, based on the features and ingredients of the model text, remind pupils of the different strategies they could use in their stories and helps them to see the progress they are making. 



During the invention stage, the pupils plan and write their own stories based on the text type they have been learning. They experiment with the ideas and explore their style– they can do this by hugging the original model text tightly. They can develop in their way – flying away from the text.


To develop independence, we have implemented a new structure that gives children more freedom and choice with their writing. The teacher, on occasion, may choose to skip the imitation stage and move to the invention stage. Pupils are provided with a stimulus, such as a short video, a picture or a story opening, and will then be allowed to choose one of the four purposes for writing (to entertain, to persuade, to discuss, to inform). Pupils will then plan using a text map and independently create and edit a piece of writing.


The teacher may also choose to do this to extend high-attaining writers by providing them with the opportunity to write at length in a way that will stimulate their interests and creativity.


We believe that providing this choice will further develop a love for writing. It provides each child with a bank of truly independent pieces for assessment purposes.



  • Five x 1-hour English slots over the week 
  • A separate half-hour session is held at the beginning of the week to introduce spellings for that week. 
  • SPAG starters used to support grammar and punctuation 
  • Five dedicated reading sessions taught in each year group – reading skills used during modelled text and reference to “the reader” when writing is always encouraged 
  • Opportunities for writing across the curriculum 
  • The Cold task sets targets and learning intentions for the upcoming unit. 
  • The Hot task used to celebrate learning 
  • Fiction writing for four weeks
  • One week of Short Burst Writing to generate language needed for the unit. 
  • One week of imitation to learn the genre and toolkit 
  • One week of innovation to write a story together with modelling being the main focus (SPAG and specific genre toolkit skills developed further) 
  • One week of independent application for children to showcase their learning 
  • Nonfiction taught over two weeks 
  • One week of learning the text style, and toolkit and innovating 
  • One week of planning and independently writing 
  • Daily feedback and marking for pupils to know the next steps
  • Intervention groups are used across the school to plug gaps
  • Scaffolded learning is given to pupils who need support and those who need more of a challenge



The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. Although Talk 4 writing is new to our setting, children are becoming more confident writers and are developing a love for writing for different purposes. 


Over the course of the year, children will have the opportunity to develop their ability to: 


  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding.
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often for both pleasure and information. 
  • Acquire a widened vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • Write accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style for different contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • Use discussion to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain their understanding and ideas. 
  • Become competent in speaking and listening, using drama to further understanding and literary depth.


The teachers in West Wycombe use formative and summative assessments to ensure children are making progress from their starting points. These assessments show the percentage of children at Age Related Expected standard and Greater Depth Standard is above National Average. We monitor progress very closely to quickly and efficiently identify and support children not making progress. 


What our children have said:

"By breaking down stories, poems and plays into 'chunks', it's easier to remember and recall the features. It's great that there are activities to help us learn and practise the language structure. Not only that, but I find it fun too! " 

Abbas Year 6

Page last updated: 27/04/24