How we Teach Writing at Blackhorse

Why Writing is Important.

Writing is a way of communicating our thinking to others.  In school this can be through fiction, poetry and non-fiction, across all areas of the curriculum.  In life this can be through email, letters, reports, lists, etc.  It is imperative that children learn to write and communicate effectively, as this is an important life skill.


How we teach writing

In Reception, we develop children’s gross motor skills – through movement, bikes and scooters, using paintbrushes, using playground equipment and we develop children’s fine motor skills – through threading activities, using play-dough, scissors, etc.  These motor skills are important for children’s physical development and allow them to develop the skills to write.  We teach children to use a correct pencil grip – crocodile grip, to sit up straight and face forwards when writing.  We teach children pre-cursive letter formation, but digraphs in phonics are taught joined, from the start.  We teach children to write using capital letters to start sentences, full stops to end sentences and finger spaces between words.


In KS1 (years 1 and 2), we embed these basic skills and further develop them, teaching question marks and exclamation marks.  We also begin to teach grammar skills – plurals, adjectives, nouns, noun phrases.  By the end of year 2, children should be able to write a legible joined script, using paragraphs and including the grammar and punctuation taught in the infants.


In KS2 (years 3-6), children are taught further grammar and punctuation skills and are also taught how to use content to engage the reader.  These are taught through explicit skills lessons, alongside use of quality texts which model these skills and engaging content.


Why we teach writing like this

Children need to see quality writing in order to be able to produce it.  We analyse texts so that children can understand how to produce this.  Alongside explicit grammar and spelling lessons, children are able to use these skills to improve their writing and use these for effect.


Vocabulary teaching enables children to hear and use new words effectively to broaden their own vocabulary and understanding. 


Editing and redrafting writing allows children to have enough working memory free to concentrate on content when they write, whilst having the opportunity to improve their grammar, punctuation and spelling through weekly edit/redraft sessions.


Impact of this approach

We are proud of our strong, effective writing teaching at Blackhorse, which has led to us having the highest writing outcomes in the county.