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at West Didsbury CE Primary School

At West Didsbury CE we are passionate about developing our children 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

We are very enthusiastic about this approach as writing becomes a joint enjoyable adventure between pupils and teachers alike.

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 scrutinise 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

During this phase children learn a model text with 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 in 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.

For more information see the Talk For Writing website:  What is Talk for Writing? - Talk for Writing (talk4writing.com)

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