Writing at St James



At St James CE Primary school we strive to build bright futures, enabling all children and adults to reach their full potential academically. Across school, we aim to further improve and develop writing through a sequenced, ambitious curriculum, especially for boys. In order to do this, we implement nationwide project called ‘Talk for Writing’, which has a proven record of accelerating children’s learning. It is developed by the author Pie Corbett and is a fun, creative yet also rigorous approach to develop confident writers. We have developed a whole school progressive writing overview, so our young writers are exposed to many genres of writing and they gain confidence because they are building on prior knowledge.


“If you can’t talk it, you can’t write it!” Pie Corbett.


The ‘Talk for Writing’ method, that we embrace from Nursery to Year 6, enables our children to imitate orally the language they need for a particular topic, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version. In other words, ‘Talk for Writing’ starts with enjoying and sharing stories and learning to tell a story off by heart with expression and actions. Once a story is learnt, the children are encouraged to adapt it to make it their own, for example by changing the characters or the setting. When they are confident, they write independently.


‘Talk for Writing’ is a very supportive and structured approach to writing.  Children gain confidence and know what they need to do in order to get better through peer and teacher developmental modelling and marking, mainly within the lesson. We actively encourage reflection on learning. We invite parents in to school throughout the year to help to support and enjoy their children’s learning e.g. in parent workshops and experiencing life in class.


Our children say:

‘Talking before writing, and practicing my writing with the help of my teacher and friends, helps me to understand what I need to do to write a story of my own’.

What does writing look like at St James?

We retell stories to help us to write them too...

Still image for this video

We enjoy listening to and learning to retell poems. Watch the following link - the importance of this is explained brilliantly by Pie Corbett.