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Talk for Writing Information for Parents

Riverside Primary School implemented the Talk for Writing approach to learning English in September 2022. It is creative, yet rigorous approach developed by the author Pie Corbett. It is fundamentally based on the key principles of how children learn.

Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language patterns they needs for a particular text type orally before they try reading and analysing it. Though fun activities that help them to rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style.

The process includes three main stages, usually taught over two weeks:

Have a go task!


We begin the teaching and learning process with a ‘cold’ writing task. This means the children have a go at writing in the text type they will learn about. Teachers use this piece of writing to identify strengths and set individual targets.

Let’s imitate!

A text is introduced and read to the children; together the class learn to tell the story. To help the children remember a multi-sensory approach is used:

-A visual story map


-Using an animated, lively expression

As the children learn the stories word for word, they develop the use of specific sentence structures and language patterns that suit the text type.

The principle is that if a child can tell a story, they will be able to write a story.

During this first stage we also use a range of drama games to develop an understanding of the story and begin to build up a washing line in our classroom with posters reminding children of the learning journey so far.





Let’s innovate!

The children explore different ways they could change aspects of the original text, for example changing characters, setting or writing from a different point of view. They then make changes to their story map and orally tell this new story.

Through shared and guided writing, the children write this new version in manageable sections.

This stage is very supportive so children gain confidence and know what they need to do in order to get better.





Let’s invent!


 Show what you know!

In this final stage, the children use all the skills they have learnt so far to write an independent ‘hot’ piece. We call this the ‘Show what you know’ task.

There is a freedom to draw upon their own ideas, or they can ‘hug closely’ to the original shared text should they need to. Teachers use this task to assess how much progress the children have made.

The children present their work by either publishing, presenting or reading out loud to peers to celebrate their successes.

Schools around the country, which have embedded the Talk for Writing approach, have been successful in raising attainment and improving progress of children’s writing. At Riverside Primary we are thoroughly enjoying teaching and learning in this style and it already is showing how our children are wonderful story-tellers.

For more information about Talk for Writing, click on the link below.