Talk for Writing

What is ‘Talk for Writing’?

As part of our school priorities at St. John Fisher, we aim to raise the attainment of our pupils in writing through an engaging, relevant and rich curriculum. In order to support this we have joined a nationwide project called ‘Talk for Writing,’ which has a proven record of accelerating children’s learning.

Talk for Writing is split into three phases:

1. Imitation: telling the story

Imitation phase is when the children really get to know what text type they are going to be learning about. They learn a model text off by heart using a ‘text map’ to help them. Then they look at the structure, the language and other features that they need to know for their own writing.

2. Innovation: changing a story

This phase is when the teacher uses shared writing (writing as a class) to create a text that is very similar to the one they have just learnt in the imitation phase. Younger writers or less confident writers may need to stay close to the structure and the vocabulary used in the model text to build confidence and understanding. More confident writers will come away from the model text and want to explore their own ideas or ways of writing.  Within this phase we would also encourage children to ‘magpie’ good ideas/vocabulary to use in their own writing.

3. Independent application: writing my own story

This phase is when the children are expected to write independently and apply the skills they have learned. Their final piece of writing is called the ‘hot task’.  Typically, teachers work with the children to set ‘tickable targets’ (toolkit) which focus on aspects that they need to attend to followed by an opportunity to polish and publish their work.


How and why can ’Talk for Writing’ benefit pupils at St. John Fisher?

Talk for Writing is powerful because it enables children to imitate orally the language they need for a particular topic before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version .  Talk for Writing is very much dependent on the use of quality literature. Our school takes this very seriously and has invested in quality books for every year group. Teachers can use these alongside ‘model texts’, to develop pupil’s understanding of unfamiliar words and ambitious vocabulary which in turn will improve writing attainment.

What can you do to help?

1. Talk for Writing begins and ends with enjoying stories and reading books. Children who read for pleasure are more likely to succeed as writers because of the way in which reading develops language development. At St. John Fisher, we encourage all parents to read with their children every day, whatever their age or ability.  

2. Your child may bring home a story/text map to learn from time to time as part of their home learning.  Encourage your child to use their text map to retell the story they are learning in class.  
For more information about Talk for Writing visit the website: