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Talk For Writing at Churchtown

Why Talk for Writing?

At Churchtown we want all our children to develop into thoughtful readers and creative writers and it is through the Talk for Writing approach that we believe we can achieve this. Through its multi-sensory and interactive teaching it enables children of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of story/text types using various methods including:

  • listening to and learning texts and stories;
  • taking part in drama and role-play;
  • drawing and story mapping;
  • collecting words and language strategies
  • building their working knowledge of grammar.

At Churchtown we are very enthusiastic about this approach as writing becomes a joint adventure between pupils and teachers.

What exactly is it?

Talk for Writing is an innovative approach to teaching writing developed by the literacy specialist and writer Pie Corbett ( It uses high quality model texts to introduce the children to different story/text types, which they then learn off by heart and scrutinize with a writer’s critical eye.

They learn the underlying structures and the process of planning using story maps. They also learn about the key strategies for creating interesting characters and settings and how to use a range of sentence types to create different effects including suspense or adventure.


Talk for Writing has three key phases that work together to develop knowledge, confidence and independence in writing:

Imitation and immersion

We usually like to start our Talk for Writing work with short burst poetry which fires up the creativity and imagination of the children before they immerse themselves in the model text.

During this phase the children learn a model text using actions and story maps. The key to success for this is that they 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 the effect this has on the reader. We call this process ‘read as a writer’. The classroom becomes a dynamic, interactive resource filled with word ideas, sentence types and language tools collected by the children to use in their stories later.





During this phase the teacher and the children begin to change aspects of the model text using their own ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and new ideas for descriptive language whilst hugging closely to the underlying structure.

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


During the invention week the children plan and write their own story based on the text type they have been learning. They experiment with the ideas and begin to explore their own style of writing using sentence types from the model text.


Parents Workshop  




Talk for Writing Parent Workshop Feedback (2/3/16)

Enlightening! Very useful and gives us ideas for doing fun T4W things at home. Excellent. Thank you!

Fabulous! What a great framework. So well presented by enthusiastic teachers, who clearly know their topic.

Hugely reassuring to know the children have such a good methodology to follow. Thank you.

Really useful info. Importance of reading to your child. Word of the day-love it! Liked the example of ‘Dino video’ and use this at home. Might be useful to break up into older/younger children. More examples at work at my child’s level i.e. Reception.

Great ideas, thank you. We have a very keen reader/writer and a keen to be read to child. :)

More top tips and examples please.

Very interesting. Would perhaps be useful to have 2 different workshops, one for EYFS, Y1 and Y2 - so more specific ideas per age group.

Thanks. Some ideas for my son in Reception, we will work on verbalising some stories and use pictures.

Handouts of ppt. Abbreviations- explain more of them. Thank you for your time.

I’m always grateful for additional support to help my son on his learning journey. It’s been a good insight into what my son will be learning and how it’s taught.

Great to learn about T4W. Could worksheet go onto website for others to see?

Thank you, I enjoyed this presentation. I can see that this method of inspiring children to write is effective and fun.

Thank you for your time and enthusiasm. Would love to hear more about rhymes, poetry and everyday life stories to make interesting for children to write about. Thank you.

Thank you for this opportunity. I personally feel this helped tie everything together which we hear from talking to class teachers. Also, it has given me a much better understanding. 

Really useful, very interesting and very achievable for parents to do with their child.

Very interesting and informative. Will go away and try different ways with Ruby. 

Very useful, glad I came.

Extremely informative and expertly delivered. Thank you.


Top Tips For getting your child to write 

  • Build a climate of words at home.  Visit places and see things with your child, then talk about your experiences.
  • Let older children see you write often.  Make sure children see you write notes and letters and perhaps stories to share.  Perhaps read aloud what you have written and ask your child their opinion of what you’ve said.  Making changes in what you write confirms for your child that revision is a natural part of writing.
  • Be as helpful as you can in helping your child to write.  Talk through their ideas with them; help them to discover what they want to say.  Give them help when they ask for help with spelling and punctuation.
  • Provide a suitable space for your child to write.  Perhaps provide different kinds of pens and pencils, pads of paper and stationery, a book for a diary or journal, a dictionary  and thesaurus appropriate to their age.
  • Encourage frequent writing and be patient with reluctance to write.  Frequency of writing is important to develop the habit of writing.
  • Praise your child’s efforts at writing, resisting the temptation to focus on errors of spelling and punctuation.  Emphasise your child’s successes.
  • Share letters from friends and relatives and urge them to write notes and letters to your child, no matter how brief.  Writing is especially rewarding when the child gets a response.  Write thank you notes alongside your child.
  • Encourage your child to write for information, free samples etc.
  • Be alert to occasions when your child can be involved in writing, for example, helping with shopping lists, taking down telephone messages, writing notes to friends, helping plan trips, drafting notes to school for parental signature and writing invitations for family get-togethers.


Writing for real purposes is rewarding, and the daily activities of family and friends present many opportunities for purposeful writing.  Involving your child may take some coaxing, but will be worth the effort!