Talk for Writing

As a school we use Talk for Writing as our approach to teaching English / Writing.

This approach has been developed by Pie Corbett who says, "If children learn stories orally, it improves the quality of their writing and develops the children's self-confidence as story tellers. If a child knows a story really well, it makes the task of writing easier because they do not have to compose at the same time as tackling handwriting, spelling and punctuation."

This approach breaks the teaching of writing down into three steps / stages.

  • Stage 1: Immersion

Underpinning the whole approach is the need for children to learn stories off by heart.  Therefore, during the first week of a unit of work the children learn a text (e.g. a story, a report, a set of instructions, a diary entry, a poem) off by heart. We call this the WAGOLL – which stands for “What A Good One Looks Like”.


The children repeat the WAGOLL lots of times, and use actions and a text map (see the school website for examples) to help them to memorise the text, until it creates a groove in their mind (in the same way as jingles on adverts do!).


During this week they also look at other examples of the text type, identify the key language features and, wherever possible, use drama, artefacts, pictures, video clips and even visits (including using our wonderful Immersion Room) to inspire and engage the children.

  • Stage 2: Innovation

During the second week of work the children use the WAGOLL as a basis for their own text.  They use the structure that the WAGOLL provides but develop their own ideas and experiment with their own language choices.  The children then receive daily feedback on their writing (using our pink (for “perfect”) and green (for “growth”)) which allows them to develop and improve their writing as they go along.

Of course, they still keep practicing the WAGOLL every day so that they know it really well!

  • Stage 3: Invention

After these two weeks we give the children a chance to write their own text from scratch to demonstrate their ability and learning.  The subject of the writing is often linked to their topic (e.g. History, Science).


Please click here to download the Rickley Park Grammar Glossary for Parents

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