Improving Outcomes in Writing: The Write Stuff Approach
As a school we have adopted “The Write Stuff” by Jane Constantine to bring clarity to the mechanics of writing. ‘The Write Stuff’ follows a method called ‘Sentence Stacking’ which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing.
This approach makes sure that all of our children are exposed to high quality texts that stimulate quality responses to reading, high quality writing and purposeful speaking and listening opportunities. Our curriculum ensures that all children have plenty of opportunities to write for different purposes. We encourage writing through all curriculum areas and use quality reading texts to model examples of good writing. Writing is taught through a number of different strategies. We believe that children need lots of rich speaking and drama activities to give them the imagination and the experiences that will equip them to become good writers.
An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken in to three chunks:
The Write Stuff is based on two guiding principles; teaching sequences that slide between experience days and sentence stacking lessons. With modelling at the heart of them, the sentence stacking lessons are broken into bite-sized chunks and taught under the structural framework of The Writing Rainbow. Teachers prepare children for writing by modelling the ideas, grammar or techniques of writing.
● Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
● Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
● Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.
“The Write Stuff” also reinforces grammar through the use of:
● The FANTASTICs which are an acronym that summarise the ideas of writing
● The GRAMMARISTIC is a classroom tool that enables the teacher to drive key grammar messages.
● The BOMBASTICs which helps children capture 10 ways of adding drama and poetic devices to writing in
a vivid visual
Writing for Pleasure
Our Writing for Pleasure ethos is embedded in the Write Stuff approach. Children are given the chance to craft their own narratives termly. This allows the children to develop a true love of reading and thus help support outcomes.
Extended Writing Opportunities
Alongside our delivery of the Write Stuff Approach, there are additional opportunities for extended writing. We think it is important that the children are given as many opportunities cross-curricularly to apply their learning. This allows them to build up a repertoire of text types while also consolidating learning from other subjects.
How does it improve outcomes for disadvantaged children?
As a school, we have decided that implementing one strategy well (linked to teaching as opposed to intervention) will be more effective in helping improve the outcomes of our disadvantaged and lower attaining pupils. The Write Stuff uses effective approaches for tackling disadvantage which is heavily supported by the EEF. Wider research shows us that disadvantaged children have lower self esteem and feel less successful; they have a reduced vocabulary; less or different life experiences and we know relationships really matter to these pupils. We need to make it our job to help these children with these particular areas so that they become confident and independent writers.