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Elmhurst School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust

English Curriculum Implementation

At Elmhurst School we teach writing through the Talk for Writing approach. Talk for Writing is powerful because it enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version. 

‘Talk for Writing’ was developed by the author Pie Corbett.  It is a fun, creative yet also rigorous approach to develop writers.

There are 3 key stages to the Talk for Writing approach:



A text is introduced and read to the children; together the class learn to tell the story. To help the children remember the text a multi-sensory approach is used:

  • A visual story map

  • Actions

  • A focus on lively, animated expression


As children learn the stories word for word, they develop the use of specific sentence structures, which they can then use in their own writing. The principle is that if a child can tell a story, they will be able to write a story. changing the characters or the setting. You may have heard the children talking about the key stages: imitation, innovation and independent application




In this stage the original text is adapted by the children. This could start with a simple change of character or for the older children it may involve telling the story from a different view point. Children will make changes to their story map and rehearse retelling their innovated story orally . Children then write out the innovated story in manageable sections. Pupils then receive feedback from their teacher and have an opportunity to respond to this before writing the next section. It is a very supportive and structured approach so children gain confidence and know what they need to do in order to get better.


Independent Application

The final stage is the independent application stage where the children use all the skills they have learnt to write an independent piece. There is the freedom to draw upon their own ideas and experiences, or they can ‘hug closely’ to the shared text should they need to. 

Page last updated: 23/08/21