Schools from foundation, to primary to secondary have told us that the Talk for Writing approach has transformed their schools – here are just a few of their stories. If the approach has worked in your school, please email and let us know.

Below are examples of Talk for Writing in actions, presented as a series of Case Studies, Projects and Analysis.

Case Study: Turning over a new page at Maidwell

Page Turners - Developing children as readers at Maidwell Primary in Northamptonshire Download a PDF of this article here . As we all know, there is a direct correlation between the amount a child reads, their attainment in reading and the quality of their writing. For quite a number of years we have been talking to the children about how and why the most avid readers make the most creative writers. Whilst the message has been received by a few, we felt we needed to change the mindset of all. Having introduced Pie’s suggested spine books [...]

Case Study: Creating a love of reading

Creating a love of reading Beckie Reeve, Reading Leader at Selby Community Primary School explains how the school has transformed attitudes to reading Download a PDF of this article here 1. The beginning … What instigated change for us Our change began in 2016 when our reading results sank dramatically. After licking our wounds, we reflected on how we were currently teaching reading and realised that the “guided reading” texts covered in previous KS2 years had, in some cases, been unengaging, irrelevant and always differentiated. Classes were working within a carousel system with levelled books for [...]

How to write your own model text by Kathryn Pennington

How to write your own model text by Kathryn Pennington Talk for Writing trainer Kathryn Pennington explains how to write your own TfW model text. Download a PDF version of document here . This article is best read as a PDF. It is therefore only available for download as a PDF.

Article: The Manor House – Free model text and teaching notes

The Manor House by Jo Pearce Talk for Writing consultant Jo Pearce explains how a model text can be used to help pupils become effective writers of suspense stories. Below is the model text, teaching notes and worked examples. Download a PDF of this text here The Model Text One step at a time, Lara crept down the stairs. At the bottom, she paused but all that she could hear was blood thumping in her ears. She’d be back before they awoke. Twenty minutes later, she entered Harrow Woods. Her torchlight found the path and occasionally flashed [...]

Article: How do I use this novel within Talk for Writing?

How do I use a novel with Talk for Writing? Talk for Writing trainer Kathryn Pennington explains the importance of model texts and answers the question 'How do I use this novel with TfW?'. Download a PDF version of document here . This article is best read as a PDF. It is therefore only available for download as a PDF.

Case Study: Quality Writing at Hallsville Primary

Creating quality independent writing Hallsville Download a PDF of this text here . Lyndsey Miller, a teacher at Hallsville School in Newham, concisely explains how they achieve such high standards of quality independent writing. At Hallsville Primary in Newham,  East London, we have found that there is not one magic ingredient for creating quality independent writing, but many. What do we think is the most important? Reading. We have found that the longer you linger with the text, the better the independent outcomes are. It is easy to rush through the imitation stage, especially when you [...]

Case Study: Talk for Writing in the Australian outback

Case Study: Talk for Writing in the Australian outback Evelyn McKenna illustrates how Talk for Writing is creating outstanding progress in Pia Wadjarri Remote Community School in the Australian outback. Download a PDF of this text here . Pia Wadjarri Remote Community School is a unique little school, located in the Murchison region of Western Australia, a vast sparsely populated area encompassing pastoral stations and ancient red desert country. There are no shops – the closest ones are reached by travelling 200 km on a largely unsealed road. The 12 students enrolled in Pia Wadjarri RCS [...]

Little Vixen Street – Free model text and teaching notes

Little Vixen Street by Dean Thompson Download a PDF of this text here The Model Text One by one, the shop fronts in the Northern Quarter flicker and die. In the distance, a lone Uber purrs and carries away its last ride. A cool breath exhales through the side streets and the city prepares to sleep. Suddenly, a side door crashes open and a pool of light reveals tired bins, spewing detritus over the oily pavement. Enola flinches and sinks into the shades and shadows of Little Vixen Street. A figure emerges from a door, lifts the [...]

Case Study – Getting to the end point

Getting to the end point Emma Mann, from Penn Wood Primary in Slough, takes us through how they get their pupils to the end point - real, quality independent writing.  At Penn Wood, the stages of Talk for Writing support ‘the end point’, i.e. getting children to write well independently. In order to do this, we follow Talk for Writing’s three Is process. Imitation: children learn a high-quality model whilst also being exposed to other models and snippets of writing. This is the point at which children unravel the how of writing – how certain effects can be achieved. . [...]

Comment: Writing for Pleasure by Pie Corbett

Writing for Pleasure There has been a lot talked about ‘Reading for Pleasure’ over the last year. Even the government recognises the significance of the link between reading for pleasure and attainment. Of course, if children, or any of us, love doing something then we are more likely to put in the practice and over time become more skilled.  It makes me smile that whilst ‘Reading for Pleasure’ is enshrined in the National Curriculum, the powers that be have yet to make the same link into maths or science or ‘Writing for Pleasure’. Children are not really readers until they [...]

Case Study: Mary Poppins

A Mary Poppins inspired unit of work in Year 4 at Greengate Junior School , Barrow-in-Furness ‘Winds in the North West, there’s Talk for Writing coming in, like something is brewing and about to begin…’ Following Talk for Writing training, Headteacher Sue Jackson invited an enthusiastic staff to plan a unit of work based on a creative hook and quality texts. This case study features a unit of work in Year 4 based on Mary Poppins and exemplifies some key aspects of the Talk for Writing teaching sequence in action. The unit followed a visit to the theatre production of [...]

Analysis – Quick tips for how to building a school community that reads

Maria Richards, Talk for Writing trainer Quick tips for building a school that reads by Maria Richards We all know the importance of strengthening and increasing the amount children read and, as Pie Corbett would say, ‘helping children to catch the pleasurable habit of reading.’ As part of our recent Talk for Writing research, many of the training centres have shared their experience and success in building reading for pleasure into the culture of the school. Inspired by this, I have worked with one of my local schools to really focus on building the reading culture. Here are our [...]

Creating seasoned writers at Summerhill 

How a Talk for Writing project at Summerhill Primary School transformed writing Summerhill Primary School, in Tipton in the West Midlands, has been on an exciting and inspiring Talk for Writing journey. It is a four-form-entry school with 760 pupils and 109 staff - a large and complex organisation that requires clear strategic direction to ensure consistent and effective implementation of curriculum structures and teaching processes. In the summer of 2016, senior leaders were looking for a strategy that would ensure improvement in writing outcomes. The overall aim was to develop a whole-school approach to writing that would consistently use [...]

Putting reading up front

Putting reading up front Front Lawn is an average-sized primary school situated in Leigh Park, the most deprived area of Hampshire. The children range from the ages of 2 – 11 with above the national average percentage of children on the child protection register; 50% of the children are pupil premium. The school has been on a journey of improvement since 2013, when Talk for Writing was first introduced. Reading results are greatly improved with children making accelerated progress. Historically, our children rarely read for pleasure and boys, in particular, had a negative attitude towards reading. Reading was taught in [...]

Getting it right!

Core Comprehension Skills Getting Reading Right! by Kathryn Pennington This document is designed to bring together the ‘Big 3’ in order to support teachers, and those working with learners, in the assessment and teaching of reading. The 'Big 3' are the: National Curriculum Interim Frameworks Standardised Assessment Tests From my experience of both teaching and working with teachers, I am very much aware that it can be challenging at times to know what comprehension skills to focus on and when. If you’re in Year 2 or Year 6, do you prioritise the Interim Framework as you have a sneaky suspicion [...]

January 2017 Newsletter – Free resources

January 2017 Newsletter - Free resources Below are details of the four new free downloadable resources we have recently added to the website: 1. Grammar never-heard-the-word Grid If you're teaching grammar, as with any teaching, it's important to establish what the children already know and what needs to be taught. Use the never-heard-the-word grid with your class in order to establish which of the key grammar terms need teaching, or which the children have understood from previous grammar lessons. . Download the resource here . . 2. Mood and tense sorting activity . A grammar sorting activity for moods and [...]

Analysis – Short-burst writing in the Talk for Writing sequence

Bursting to write! Maria Richards, Talk for Writing Trainer Talk for Writing trainer, Maria Richards, explores how to teach writing well through Talk for Writing's short-burst approach. There are so many things I have learned about teaching writing well. There is the use of a blueprint model, matched to the learning needs of children; there is the place of quality literature to feed children’s knowledge of shaping writing; there is the understanding of the writing elements that create a toolkit for a particular aspect of narrative – to name but a few. However, the one thing that I [...]

Case Study – Feeling the impact

Feeling the impact Maurice Leahy, teacher at Carlton Hill Primary School in Brighton, studied one child's writing over a year to see the impact that Talk for Writing made. At the beginning of the 2015 academic year, Carlton Hill began the two year process of embedding Talk for Writing throughout the school. This journey involved training on three INSET days (one involving the entire school team); 6 days training for project leads (teachers in YR, Y4 and the assistant headteacher); and 6 staff meetings led by the project lead team. At the beginning of the second year of the process [...]

Case Study – Getting Yew all reading

Getting Yew all reading Maureen Carroll, Talk for Writing Lead at Yew Tree Primary in Birmingham, explains some of the steps the school has taken to embed a love of reading in the pupils. Our greatest challenge has always been reading; the learning of the new vocabulary and inference being the main area the children struggle with. As a school, over the last few years we have constantly reflected, re-addressed and ensured reading was high on the agenda. Our main priority was developing a love of reading throughout the school in order to boost self-confidence in reading and open up a world [...]

Case Study: Teaching languages through ilanguages and Talk for Writing

Case Study: Teaching languages through ilanguages and Talk for Writing Louise St John explains how Victoria Road Primary School is using ilanguages and its links to the Talk for Writing approach to enhance the children’s ability to communicate in French and Spanish. At Victoria Road Primary School, as in other Plymouth schools, we have had a lot of success using the Talk for Writing approach in English to increase the children’s progress and enjoyment in writing and I was very interested by the connection with the ilanguages schemes of work for French and Spanish. The basic principle of Talk for [...]

Case Study: Teaching science at Selby using Talk for Writing

Case Study: Teaching Science at Selby using Talk for Writing How the Talk for Writing approach can enhance learning in science and develop vocabulary across the curriculum, by Year 6 teacher Tom Wriglesworth at Selby Community Primary School, Yorkshire.  Our school has been using the Talk for Writing approach for some years now and has become one of the growing number of Talk for Writing training schools in England.  The whole school community is very proud of this achievement. Through working closely with Pie Corbett, Julia Strong and a large number of skilled teachers based in other schools, we have [...]

Case Study: St Matthew’s C of E Primary School, Birmingham

Paulette receiving her MBE for Services to Education in March 2016. Case Study: St Matthew's C of E Primary School, Birmingham The story of how Talk for Writing helped transform St Matthew’s C of E Primary School, Nechells, Birmingham from a disaster into a shining example, by Headteacher Paulette Osborne MBE.  There are some moments when one sits back and reflects on life. For a headteacher, this is often just before and after an Ofsted visit (or when a parent makes an appointment for the second time in the same week to inform you that their son/ daughter [...]

Case Study: Bevendean Hearing Support Facility

Shared Writing I am writing this as Teacher of the Deaf in Charge of the Hearing Support Facility at Bevendean Primary School in Brighton. Our school have been part of the Talk For Writing (TFW) project this year. It is the first time I have used TFW with the deaf children I teach. However, I have always taught in a very interactive way, igniting imagination and desire to write. TFW has given a new, innovative structure to this teaching method. The children I teach are very language deprived and significantly language delayed. I have been so excited by [...]

Case Study: Thomas Becket Catholic School, Northampton

Thomas Becket Catholic School How Talk for Writing has helped move Thomas Becket Catholic School, Northampton, from special measures to 80% good or better for teaching and learning in just one year. When I joined the school as Assistant Principal and Director of Teaching and Learning, the school was in a difficult place. We were in Special Measures, had a large number of temporary staff and a recent round of observations suggested that the quality of teaching and learning was weak. We had a huge mountain to climb. Myself and three other members of staff had already received [...]

Case Study: Talk for Writing saves the day in Thailand!

Talk for Writing saves the day in Thailand! When I set off on holiday to Thailand this summer, little did I realise how useful my Talk for Writing skills would be. I am a Foundation Stage teacher working at Penn Wood in Slough. Penn Wood was one of the first Talk for Writing schools and we've embedded Talk for Writing into everything we do. This year, I was lucky enough to spend the summer travelling around Thailand and took part in a voluntary programme to help rehabilitate elephants living with the Karen Tribe. To my delight, it turned out the programme [...]

Case Study: East Hunsbury Primary School

How Talk for Writing has achieved “outstanding evidence of the writing process” at East Hunsbury Primary School, Northampton by Liz Martin Like many other schools, our last Ofsted inspection left us pondering our writing results and how we would get raise our pupils’ writing standards to be “in line” with our reading results. In November 2013, schools across our town were invited to a meeting to discuss the writing approach Talk for Writing as a strategy to improve the town’s writing results. After listening to the approach, and seeing the success of writing levels of other schools nationwide, we decided [...]

Case Study: Selby Community Primary

How Talk for Writing can transform children’s writing Ian Clennan, headteacher of Selby Community Primary School, explains how the Talk-for-Writing approach rescued writing from the doldrums in his school and has the potential to transform writing in all schools.   Selby Primary School, serving a catchment area that is in the top 10 most deprived catchment areas in North Yorkshire, is a 3 to 11 primary school, taking 2 year olds for the first time this September. The proportion of pupils receiving Pupil Premium funding is well above National indicators and mobility is also above National indicators. When I took [...]

Case Study: Aylesbury Aspire Project

Why effective school project teams are the key to the successful development of Talk for Writing in schools Last year, Talk for Writing trainers Julia Strong and Maria Richards were approached by the Aspire group of schools in Aylesbury to train the staff of 6 primary schools plus some secondary colleagues. The key aspect of this training was not the two training days for all staff, first in fiction and then non-fiction, but the role of the project teams in leading the project within their schools. All the six participating primary schools took the project very seriously and sent a [...]

Case Study: Bringing Talk for Writing to India

Bringing Talk for Writing to India by Gina Menon Every year I work for part of the summer holidays in India, with The Teacher Foundation, ( a teacher-training organisation based in Bangalore. In July 2014, I was asked to work with a cohort of pre-service teacher trainees, ranging in age from seventeen to early forties, on the content of the Indian primary English curriculum, and its interactive delivery, covering all four strands – listening, speaking, reading, including phonics, and writing – from class 1 to class 5. Not only had the trainees to grapple with the content of the curriculum, [...]

Case Study: Slough and Eton College

How Slough and Eton College is developing Talk for Writing to suit secondary schools Slough and Eton C of E Business and Enterprise College is well on its way to becoming the first Talk for Writing Training Secondary School. Last spring, Senior Deputy Aruna Sharma approached Julia Strong about an extended project to help embed Talk for Writing throughout the school. The key aspect of this extended training was not the two training days for all staff on how to adapt the approach for all curriculum areas but the role of the project team in leading the project within the [...]

Story Songs CD ROM

Pie has collaborated with Early Years music expert Steve Grocott and the result is the new Story Songs CD ROM. It has new musical stories and songs along with some evergreen 
favorites for children aged between two and five years old. It plays in your CD player and also in your computer where you
have the text of the stories, extending activities and story maps as well as audio. This collection is about how to bring the story out of your songs and how to put music into your stories. Emphasising the musical elements of a story is a very good way of [...]

Case Study: The Three Little Pigs

In May 2014, Pie was made aware via Twitter of a Talk for Writing video filmed at Highbank Primary and Nursery School in Nottinghamshire featuring a re-telling of the Three Little Pigs. We got in touch with Highbank and asked how for more info about how the school has been using Talk for Writing. Sophie Ishmael, a teacher at the school, kindly took the time to explain the work they've been doing. Talk for Writing at Highbank Primary and Nursery The video clip (above) that was posted on Twitter recently was of Gracie-Leigh a child in F1 (Nursery 2) [...]

Case Study: Talk4Writing and Kensuke’s Kingdom

In this case study Janet Gough, Assistant Headteacher and English Subject Leader at Cockerham Parochial School in Lancashire, explains how to use Talk for Writing techniques to embed language skills within the context of the novel Kensuke’s Kingdom. Whatever National Curriculum comes along, teaching writing is teaching writing. Although the teaching of spelling, vocabulary, punctuation and grammar is now explicitly required in the new curriculum, it is not new. Grammar for Writing was published in 2001 and the principles behind that document still hold water. Research shows that teaching discrete exercises which are unrelated to anything else is not effective and [...]

Case Study: Talk for Writing in Primary Maths Classrooms

A case study by Mari Palmer, St. Hedda’s RC Primary School, Esk Valley Alliance Origin of project I work in a very tightly knit cluster of small schools in the Esk Valley, which is near Whitby, in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. We had been using, to a varying degree across schools, Talk4Writing for a considerable period of time and were very happy with the outcomes for children and the enjoyment and engagement that it brought to lessons. As we were already working as a cluster, and doing quite a considerable amount of literacy work together, we decided we [...]

Case Study: Talk for Writing travels to China

Storymapping in China Cara O'Connor, a teacher at Robin Hood Academy in Birmingham, tells us how she took Talk for Writing to the Chinese capital.  Recently I was fortunate enough to travel to China and teach in the 'No 2 Experimental School' in Beijing. I use Talk for Writing at my school in Birmingham and I am a huge fan of the Talk for Writing approach. I therefore decided to use Talk for Writing to teach a group of Grade 2 children in China. It was brilliantly received. The class teacher loved seeing a different way of teaching literacy especially the idea [...]

Project: iLanguages

Preparing for statutory KS2 languages in September 2014 iLanguages is a new scheme of work based which is ideal for non linguists and includes: uses a ‘Talk for Writing’ approach with active and collaborative learning a strong phonics focus top aid accurate pronunciation includes tablet and smartphone apps to reinforce the learning at home creative use of stories, songs and games links to the KS2 framework and the new MFL primary curriculum with NC levelled assessments the methodology enables children to quickly make progress to being able to speak and write in full sentences  

Case Study: Little Red Hen in the United Arab Emirates

Little Red Hen triumphs in the United Arab Emirates, by Louise Alleyne. I am a 4th Grade teacher in a government-run school in Abu Dhabi. I teach English, maths and science, in English, to two classes of girls. This is their second year of being taught in English and, as you would expect, their language acquisition is at varying stages, depending on their interest, their opportunities to practise out of school, their confidence and the importance given to education at home. Some students and their parents do not read or write Arabic, their home language. The school is old and [...]

Case study: Talk for Writing in languages in primary and secondary schools

How the Talk for Writing approach really helps to engage pupils The Talk for Writing methodology lends itself well to foreign language learning and this is exactly what teachers Juliet Park and Wendy Adeniji have implemented in their new primary languages scheme. The innovative scheme uses stories, songs and games and has a strong phonics focus in order to build children’s confidence through highly interactive language learning.  The Talk for Writing approach helps learners to extend sentences in French and Spanish by effectively recognising and using high frequency verbs, opinion phrases, connectives and nouns.  Popular stories such as the Enormous Turnip and [...]

Analysis: Pie Corbett examines the New Curriculum for English

Not the Department of Education’s finest hour Pie Corbett examines the good and bad features of the new National Curriculum for English Is the first draft of the new National Curriculum for English a ‘gold standard’ vision of English in the 21st century? Well, let’s start with some of the real strengths. It specifies: English as ‘a subject in its own right’; an appreciation and love of reading; a strong focus on vocabulary; familiarity with key stories, traditional tales, etc; having ‘conversations about books’; discrete teaching of handwriting; oral rehearsal of ideas and sentences prior to writing; ‘showing the skills [...]

Case study: Talk for Writing in action

How Talk for Writing has transformed Rachel Orr's primary school. Her blog includes tangible evidence not just in the impressive data but also through samples of writing from a child - and some attractive displays too. Visit her blog to read about here experiences.

Project: Primary Writing Project

The Primary Writing Project (PWP) is designed to help clusters of primary schools implement Talk for Writing at a whole-school level by providing support and training over 5 or 6 terms for around 8-10 schools. Schools embarking on the programme should see it as a long term investment in the improvement of writing, primarily, but with additional significant benefits for standards of reading comprehension and communication skills more widely. Setting up a PWP partnership requires a long lead time so that schools can agree dates, schedules and plan financial commitments. To date we are working with around 20 partnerships of primary [...]

Project: Transforming Writing

Raising attainment through effective formative assessment is a National Literacy Trust project funded by Esmee Fairburn led by Pie Corbett. Here teachers from leading Talk-for-Writing schools are involved in investigating what assessment approaches really make a difference to the children's progress as writers. The Transforming Writing Project, funded by Esmée Fairburn and managed by the National Literacy Trust, focuses on what difference is made to children’s progress if formative assessment is at the heart of teaching writing. The project is led by Pie Corbett, supported by Julia Strong, and is being evaluated by Jonathan Rooke from Winchester University. Teachers and headteachers [...]

Case Study: T4W across the secondary curriculum

Vardean School, Brighton My journey into ‘Talk for Writing’ and how it applies to maths At the end of 2010, Brighton and Hove set up a Talk for Writing pilot to be attended by a range of teachers and advisers across the curriculum. A few months after the first session, I was stunned and delighted to receive the following from Zeb Friedman, Maths Adviser, Brighton and Hove, and AST maths teacher Varndean School, from the Brighton Talk-for-Writing pilot. I was persuaded into going to the session on Talk for Writing in Brighton and Hove, and really although I am always [...]

Case Study: The early years family storytelling project

Porter Croft School, Sheffield Involving the families in Talk for Writing works wonders Katie Houghton, Foundation 2 teacher at Porter Croft School, Sheffield, reflects on how involving families in the Talk-for-Writing approach has transformed the school. If you had said to me at the beginning of the project, “You will be able to get four-year-old children to structure and invent stories,” I would have laughed and said it was impossible. But they can. It’s made me realise they are far more capable than I had given them credit for. If you provide the right building blocks and structure, then they [...]

Project: T4W across the secondary curriculum

The talk-for-writing approach is ideal for helping secondary schools turn literacy across the curriculum into a practical reality, thereby raising achievement across the board through meeting the quality written communication requirements of the curriculum. The approach focuses on helping students tune into the language of each subject through talking the text before they write it. When the approach is applied systematically in a school, so that there is a consistent approach to presenting exemplar text, students can easily transfer learning from one subject to another. Since 2010 a number of schools and local authorities have been trialling the approach. In [...]

Project: Family Storytelling Project

The Family Storytelling Project involves families, teachers and children in learning and creating stories together. For a number of years, Pie Corbett’s ‘storymaking’ project has been used in Sheffield’s ‘early years settings’ as a key strategy for helping children to build up a bank of traditional tales, developing their imaginative and linguistic repertoires. The Family Storytelling Project builds upon these foundations to involve parents, grandparents, carers and other family members in learning the same stories that the children are learning in school. The initial trial for the Family Storytelling Project, in 2009 - 2010, focused on children in Reception classes [...]