Activity: Using picture books – Voices in the Park


Digging deeper into picture books - Voices in the Park Anthony Browne is a former Children's Laureate and one of the foremost makers of picture books. He is known for his surreal and playful illustrations. The books are part of a game he plays with the readers. In his illustrations he draws on famous works of art but he also hides surprising images so that a tree takes on the shape of a hat or footprints become leaves. However, Voices in the Park is more than surreal entertainment. It is rich in many layers of meaning, and I have known children avidly discuss the story for over an hour. Activity one: In the beginning The children’s first meeting with the book… Begin by showing the cover and reading the title. What do the children think the book is going to be about? Many children suggest that it is to do with friendship because the dogs and the two children are together in pairs. Draw their attention to the title. What does it suggest to them? Make a list of ideas. These can be revisited after reading the book. Activity two: What do they think? Discuss pupils’ initial thoughts… Gather the children close on the carpet so that they can see the illustrations, or use multiple copies. Show each page and read the book straight through without stopping. I would then take children’s first reactions. In his wonderful book Tell Me (Thimble Press), Aidan Chambers suggests that a useful starting point for ‘Book Talk’ is to ask the children to list and discuss what they have liked, did not like as well as sharing any particular puzzles or patterns. These starting points will lead into fruitful [...]

Blog: Independent Writers


Independent writing The aim of Talk for Writing is to grow independent writers. Here are some suggestions for how this can be achieved first in relation to narrative and then non-fiction. I then look at how such independence can be prepared for through the innovation stage of the imitation, innovation, independent application process. Independent narrative writing  As the children build up experience of writing stories, there should also be opportunities to write freely, drawing on everything that they have been taught. At the end of units, many schools have developed short ‘really independent’ units where the teacher provides a motivating starting point and the children write whatever they wish. Children never become independent readers until they choose what to read, developing their own taste for different authors and styles; in the same way, children are not writers until they make their own choices about what to write. Here are a few examples of KS2 units that provide time for children to write entirely independently drawing on the taught units. Start from a great stimulus and then list the possibilities with the class. They can then choose what to write. Provide a number of days for them to plan, draft, edit and publish their own writing: Example 1: ‘Stranded’ The children have been shipwrecked on a desert island. The children could: • draw maps of the island; write diary entries and stories about the storm, logging the first few days of survival and even the rescue; • find images of desert islands and write an advert for an island holiday; • Invent their own island – draw the map and write a leaflet about its flora and fauna; • Write a monologue revealing the stranded sailor’s [...]

Short Story Competition – Winners’ Stories


Short Story Competition - Winners' Stories In the summer 2016 newsletter we ran a competition looking for stories of no more than 400 words that could be used as model texts for Talk for Writing. We received a number of entries, four of which stood out as prize winners. Each of these stories are downloadable below for you to use in class. Congratulations to Chris Farnen, Richard Johnson, Jackie Livermore and Heidi Simpson on their winning entries! Morgan and his Magical Maths Underpants by Chris Farnen. Suitable for a Year 2 class. Morgan and his Magical Maths Underpants PDF   The Legend of Bowerman’s Nose by Richard Johnson. Suitable for a Year 2 class. The Legend of Bowerman’s Nose PDF   The Unusual House by Jackie Livermore. Suitable for a Year 4 class. The Unusual House PDF   Through the Forest by Heidi Simpson. Suitable for a Year 2 class. Through the Forest PDF

Document: Writing Toolkits


In this two-page document written by Pie Corbett, Pie explains how it can be useful for children to use writing toolkits when constructing a narrative. Pie focuses on using writing toolkits in these areas: 1. Characterisation and dialogue 2. Description – people, places, objects, creatures 3. Dilemma - suspense and action and 4. Crafting the opening and ending Download as a PDF document

Document: Inventing Stories


Many schools now use the Imitate, Innovate and Invent process to teach writing using the Talk for Writing approach. However, out of the three stages, it seems to be the Invent stage that can prove to be the most challenging. So how do you successfully invent a brand new story that is of a similar quality to an innovated one? In this downloadable PDF document Talk4Writing expert Maria Richards gives her advice. Download document as a PDF   Maria has also adapted Pie Corbett's generic story plots and created a document which should help provide guidance to pupils on how to structure a story. You can download this free resource below. Download document as a PDF