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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 orally before reading, analysing, innovating and then writing independently.  ​

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

There are 3 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 it.




In this stage the original text is adapted with the children using shared writing.  This could start with a simple change of character or for the older children it may involve telling the story from a different viewpoint.  Children can make changes to their story map and rehearse retelling their innovated story orally.  Following shared writing, children then write the innovated story in manageable sections working in guided groups with the teacher or LSA at least once in the week.  Pupils then receive feedback and have an opportunity to respond to this before writing the next section.  It is a very supportive and structured approach to allow children to gain confidence and know what they need to do to improve.


Independent Application

This is the final 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: 10/01/22