At Chatsworth children are taught through a scheme developed by Pie Corbett. They are familiar with the three stages of imitation, innovation and invention and this can be seen consistently throughout the school. Talk for Writing is powerful because it enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version.
The three stages explained
Imitate: Once the teacher has established a creative context and an engaging start, a typical Talk-for-Writing unit will begin with some engaging activities warming up the tune of the text, as well as the topic focused on, to help children remember the pattern of the language required.This is often followed by talking through an example text. Children are given the chance to orally retell the model text using actions to the rest of the class. This helps them to remember the key language used which they can then use in their own writing.
Innovate: Once the children have internalised the text, they are then ready to start innovating on the pattern of the text. We usually begin with advanced activities to warm up the key words and phrases of the type of text focused on so the children can magpie ideas. Younger children and less confident writers alter their text maps and orally rehearse what they want to say, creating their own version. The key activity in this stage is shared writing, helping the children to write their own by “doing one together” first.
Invent: We use this as our “hot task” where children apply everything they have learnt from the first two stages and put it into action by writing independently. Children use working walls, dictionaries, thesauruses and toolkits to help them with their writing. At the end of this stage, children have a chance to edit and improve their work.
Reading at Chatsworth
At Chatsworth we use ‘Bug Club’ which is a structured reading scheme. Bug Club is a finely levelled, phonically based reading scheme, which ensures that each child can find a book at exactly the right level for them. Each child has a personalised homepage where they'll find the eBooks they've been allocated by the teacher and motivating rewards. The online reading world ensures children can access independent reading resources anywhere at any time. Bug Club books are graded into colour-coded Book Band levels, and within each level there is a carefully planned progression of books. This fine progression gives children plenty of opportunity to develop their reading skills and master each fine step while moving through the reading programme. Guided reading follows a ‘five different group’ model and takes place daily. Children are expected to complete a comprehension every week and are also given time to read books for pleasure which is included in sessions. All pupils are exposed to a wide variety of literature and genres which deepen their understanding of the written and spoken word. . Every child is heard reading by the class teacher once per week. This allows the teacher to track the progress and developmental needs of each child in the class.
As well as Bug Club, all children in key stage 2 are taught using a method known as Reciprocal Reading. Reciprocal teaching refers to an instructional activity in which students become the teacher in small group reading sessions. Teachers model, then help students learn to guide group discussions using four strategies: summarizing, question generating, clarifying, and predicting. Once students have mastered the strategies they take turns being the leader and lead the discussions about a small chunk of text they have read.