At Southmead our aim is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and developing their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
We use the school's exciting Picture Curriculum to celebrate our British literary heritage. Children revel in discovering new writers, genres and texts that fuel their creative writing.
Staff at Southmead think very carefully about the hooks we use to launch new texts. So far this year we have had: crashing unidentified, alien spacecraft; secret garden hidden trails, and even giant, green beanstalks growing in the classrooms! Launching books in these interesting ways, excites children and encourages them to learn more about their new text, and helps their creative thinking.
At Southmead we love drama and oral rehearsals; they help us remember text structures and new language, and encourage the exploration of characters' feelings and emotions. We always add actions as we find the physical movement helps us remember the sequence of events.
We teach a model where there is no glass ceiling to what children should be exposed to when becoming writers. We believe all children are capable of becoming exceptional authors and want to help them in realising this for themselves. Teachers use high-quality modelling that provides children with access to new vocabulary, writing styles and grammar techniques. Teachers then talk aloud their decisions and choices. We have found that teaching to this high level has enabled all learners to reach out to language or techniques they may not have experienced before. Through exposure children can competently and effectively use these newly acquired skills, making for some pretty amazing writing!
Staff work with small groups developing ideas through shared writing, where the children contribute their thoughts and take ownership to create a high-quality draft. This leads into independent writing, which at Southmead is our main aim - top quality, independent writing - that our children are proud of.
We showcase writing in classrooms and corridors, celebrating children’s successes and appreciating their writing journey. The children are so proud of themselves and of their peers when they see their work displayed.
“If I was Baby Bear, I would be very mad at Goldilocks. She was so unkind to him and didn’t even apologize. She wasn’t using our value of reflection to think about her choices.” (Emeli)
‘It was fantastic when I was Grandma from George's Marvellous Medicine; I was really vile. My favourite line that we scripted was – what are you snivelling at you repulsive little bug? – it was hard to keep a straight face but I had to be as mean as she truly is. I ended up using that line in my own story." (Subhan)
Click here to see some
of our exceptional writing!