Talk for Writing

Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular type of text orally before they try reading and analysing it. Through fun activities that help them 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. 

Talk for Writing works with any genre of writing and each term children will work with a fiction (story) and non-fiction (instructions, diary, explanation etc) text linked to their current topic. Children will share poetry linked to their topics on a regular basis.  Have a look at our curriculum maps to find out more.


At the beginning of a writing unit the children complete a cold write/tell to show what they already know.


A Talk for Writing unit is based on 3 I’s: 

  • Imitation– Each unit begins with the teacher sharing an engaging, topic related text with the children. As a class, or in groups, children create actions to accompany the oral re-telling of the story. They also create story maps, using pictures and symbols, to depict actions and events from the text.  Children then explore the key ingredients and language that make the text work and build a tool kit of important features to use when writing their own versions of the text. 
  • Innovation – This stage of the process is where children and teachers work together closely using the structure of the example text but changing certain aspects to make it different in some way. This process enables the children to write their own versions through developing their ability to generate good words and phrases. This stage begins with shared writing between teacher and pupils and develops into children working with peers to edit and review their work regularly as they re-write their own versions. 


  • Invention – This stage is where children write their own text on a different topic but based on the structure and genre of the example text and using the key features they picked out and placed into their toolkit.


 An example 
The given text could be an adventure story about space with an exciting event in the middle. During the invention stage children may be asked to write an adventure story but based at the funfair (linked to current topic of Fairgrounds). They would follow the structure of the space story and utilise some of the exciting story language used in it but they would change the setting, maybe the characters and the exciting event to make it into a different story. Children who are confident writers may change all of these things where as children who are less confident may change smaller aspects, still making it their own story.


If you would like to find out more about Talk for Writing, then follow the link to Pie Corbett's website. http://www.talk4writing.co.uk


Wider Application of Writing

Children have regular opportunities for a wider application of writing where they can choose from their bank of story types and toolkits to showcase their skills in other subject areas.



We use the Nelson Thornes Handwriting Scheme. We want our pupils to know the importance of clear and neat presentation in order to communicate effectively. We aim to teach our pupils to write legibly both in joined and printed styles with increasing fluency. 


Lower case letters






Cursive Script

The Four Joins

  1. to letters without ascenders
  2. to letters with ascenders
  3. horizontal joins
  4. horizontal joins to letters with ascenders


The break letters (letters that aren’t joined from) are:

b g j p q x y z



Synthetic Phonics

All children at Somerville are initially taught to decode and spell via the ‘Little Wandle’ Letters and Sounds programme. Children learn to read and write letter-sound correspondences, decode effortlessly and spell. Our phonics lessons are exciting and fast paced.


How to say the sounds


Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 1

Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 2

Phase 3 sounds taught in Reception Spring 1

Year 1 

Quick guide to Alien words

How we teach tricky words

How we teach blending

Additional Resources

Capital Letter Formation

Phase 2 Pronunciation Guide - Autumn 1

Phase 2 Pronunciation Guide - Autumn 2

Phase 3 Grapheme Information sheet Spring 1




We follow the Nelson Spelling course.  Children are encouraged to use their knowledge of the sounds (phonics) to spell (encode) and read (decode) regular words.  Children will be given words to learn each week.  These will often be linked to certain letter patterns or spelling rules.  We have now expect children to copy a statement correctly using the correct cursive handwriting script whilst it is being dictated by a teacher! 


Please download the document below to view the words that your child is expected to spell.