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Skills Based Approach to Writing

The teaching of writing at St John’s is a ‘skills based’ approach. As children move through school they learn the new skills specific to their year group whilst being provided with the opportunity to consolidating the skills they have been taught in previous years. We use a range of good quality texts and real life experiences linked to our Cornerstones topics to provide children with the stimulus to write in a range of genres including poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

Below are the key skills that are built upon as children move through St John’s.



Early mark-making is not the same as writing. It is a sensory and physical experience, which they do not yet connect to forming symbols which can communicate meaning.

Distinguishes between the different marks they make

Sometimes gives meaning to marks as they draw and paint.

Ascribes meanings to marks that they see in different places

Gives meaning to marks they make as they draw, write and paint.

Begins to break the flow of speech into words.

Continues a rhyming string.

Hears and says the initial sound in words.

Can segment the sounds in simple words and blend them together.

Links sounds to letters, naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet.

Uses some clearly identifiable letters to communicate meaning, representing some sounds correctly and in sequence.

Writes own name and other things such as labels, captions.

Attempts to write short sentences in meaningful contexts.

Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds.

They also write some irregular common words.

They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others.

Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.

Children can spell phonically regular words of more than 1 syllable as well as many irregular but

high frequency words. They use key features of narrative in their own writing

Assessment of writing across school uses the secure fit model that ensures children have no gaps in their learning and helps teachers to identify where children may need additional intervention or support. Interventions may also be required to include activities to support reading, language development or physical development depending on the needs of the individual.

Homework linked to writing is ‘Chat at Home’. When appropriate, children are asked to talk with someone at home about what they will be writing about. The idea of this to help children to form ideas orally or collect vocabulary to use in their writing.

Parents can play an important role in support their child’s progress in writing. Writing that has a purpose is especially important and has a value. From a young age children can help by writing shopping lists, birthday cards and party invitations. As children get older they can write notes for others, write emails and blogs or even keep in touch with a pen pal.

Reading is an important way of supporting writing development. Our experience tells us that children who are confident and able readers are confident and able writers. Reading can help children to gain ideas and a wide vocabulary as well as understand how to structure sentences and whole pieces of writing.