We want to help all our pupils to develop into creative writers. We achieve this through the Talk for Writing approach. It enables pupils of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of stories and varying text types. The multi-sensory and interactive teaching activities used include:

  • Listening to and learning texts and stories;
  • Taking part in drama and role-play;
  • Drawing and story mapping;
  • Using exploratory and presentational talk:
  • Collecting words and language strategies;
  • Building their working knowledge of grammar;
  • Taking part in debating and discussion.

Talk for Writing is an innovative approach to teaching writing. It was developed by the literacy specialist and writer Pie Corbett. It uses high quality model texts to introduce the pupils to different story/text types. They then learn these off by heart and scrutinise with a writer’s critical eye. The underlying structures and the process of planning are identified using story/text maps and pupils learn key strategies for creating interesting characters and settings. A range of sentence types and literary devices are taught to create different effects including suspense and adventure.

Talk for writing has three key phases which work together to develop knowledge, confidence and independence in writing.


Talk for Writing units begin with a hook which fires up the creativity and imagination of the children before they are immersed in the model text.

During this phase, the pupils learn the text using actions and story/text maps. The key to success for the pupils is that they internalise the text type through repetition and rehearsal. They explore the structure of texts and investigate the different characters, settings and events. They also begin to look closely at the language used and the effect this has on the reader. The pupils ‘read as a reader’ and ‘read as a writer’ during this process. The classroom becomes a dynamic, interactive resource filled with vocabulary ideas, sentence types and language tools collected by the pupils to use in their writing later.


During this phase, the teacher and the pupils begin to change aspects of the model text using their own ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and develop new ideas for descriptive language whilst sticking closely to the underlying structure.

It is during this phase that the pupils work using their toolkits. The toolkits, based on the features and ingredients of the model text, remind pupils of the different strategies they could use in their stories and helps them to see the progress they are making. 

Independent application

In this third phase, pupils now independently apply what has been taught and practised in the previous phases. They experiment with the ideas and begin to explore their own style of writing – they are able to do this by hugging the original model text tightly or they can develop in their own way – flying away from the text.

In order to develop independence, we provide pupils with the opportunity to have more freedom and choice with their writing. The pupils will then plan their own piece of writing using a story/text map and will then independently create and edit a piece of writing. The teacher may also choose to extend high attaining writers by providing them with greater freedom allowing them to write at length in a way that will stimulate their interests and creativity.

We believe that by providing this choice, it will further develop a love for writing and will also provide each child with a bank of truly independent pieces of writing that can be used for assessment purposes.