Merrow C of E Infant School

English Writing

 

At Merrow we believe that a secure development of literacy skills underpins all other areas of our curriculum. We are proud of the varied writing opportunities that are provided in school. We ensure that children are able to make steady progress in their writing by underpinning our planning with the 2021 Early Years Framework and the 2014 National Curriculum. Teachers carefully design writing opportunities at Merrow; these are based around high-quality texts and ‘hooks’ to engage children in their writing.

At Merrow, our children’s writing journey begins with mark-making in Reception. The Reception teachers provide various ways for children to develop their mark-making skills e.g. using chalk on the playground or making marks in glitter. Children then further develop their readiness to write, by engaging in fine motor skill activities. In Reception, children are encouraged to use the ‘finger gym’ provision daily where they can squeeze different items, do threading, use pipettes and tweezers. Gross motor skills are also developed to ensure children have good stability, strength and are ready for letter formation. Children in Reception are taught how to form movements with their bodies- especially in an anti-clockwise direction- using objects such as ribbons, streamers and magic wands. Once children are developmentally ready, they will then find a comfortable pencil grip position to adopt for their letter formation. As the year progresses, children are introduced to writing for purpose for e.g. writing lists, cards and party invitations.

The children’s writing journey then progresses in Year 1 where children are carefully coached into writing structured sentences. Children in Year 1 develop an understanding that words put together, build sentences. This means that grammar rules are introduced, i.e. use of capital letters, finger spaces and full stops. Once children have mastered the understanding of what comprises a sentence, they are able to incorporate adjectives and conjunctions into their work. Children in Year 1 are encouraged further to consider the purpose of their writing. The children’s writing opportunities are planned to expose them to fiction and non-fiction texts and thus changing the purpose of their writing. In Merrow, the Year 1 children love writing dinosaur facts, captions and labels of different dinosaurs. They also love re-telling the story of the Gingerbread Man. Year 1 children at Merrow are encouraged to write more independently and adopt a ‘have a go’ attitude where they can put their learning into practice independently. Handwriting is further developed-from the fine and gross motor skills introduced in Reception- to discrete weekly handwriting sessions (with additional fine-motor skill support for those who need it). 

In Year 2 at Merrow, the children’s writing skills are then further nurtured. Year 2 children at Merrow are motivated to increase their stamina when writing, also to adopt new grammar, punctuation & spelling rules into their written work. Year 2 children experience a wide variety of opportunities to write with purpose, and to consider their audience, this has been highlighted positively from external moderations. In Year 2, children’s writing opportunities have often been planned to link to a topic of study and/or following the children’s interests. For e.g. Great Fire of London diary writing & poetry, recounting of school trips, dragon story writing, persuasive letter writing (from the POV of Florence Nightingale to the Prime Minister) and creating a ‘Guide to Planet Earth for An Alien’. Year 2 children are taught to take ownership of their writing; not only to construct their work but also read through it, read it out loud with intonation, edit their writing and give peer feedback on each other's work. In Merrow, Year 2 children further master their understanding of writing sentences by being able to differentiate between different sentence types for e.g. commands and questions. They are also encouraged to build upon their knowledge and understanding of vocabulary; children are taught to write expanded noun phrases using ambitious adjectives and incorporate learnt terminology in their work (for e.g. ‘extinguish’ and ‘inferno’ when writing about the GFoL).

In all three year groups at Merrow, one can find excellent scaffolded support for children with additional needs when writing, also adequate challenge for other learners. We promote an ethos that every child is a successful writer.