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Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. Through fun activities that help them rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style. Schools that have adopted the approach have not only increased their children’s progress but have found that children and teachers alike love it. It not only works throughout primary schools from the early years to Year 6 but also in secondary schools where it is key to making literacy across the curriculum really work. 




Once the teacher has established a creative context and an engaging start, a typical Talk-for-Writing unit would begin with some engaging activities warming up the tune of the text, as well as the topic focused on, to help children internalise the pattern of the language required. This is often followed by talking an exemplar text, supported visually by a text map and physical movements to help the children recall the story or non-fiction piece. In this way the children hear the text, say it for themselves and enjoy it before seeing it written down. Once they have internalised the language of the text, they are in a position to read the text and start to think about the key ingredients that help to make it work. This stage could include a range of reading as-a-reader and as-a-writer activities. Understanding the structure of the text is easy if you use the boxing-up technique and then help the children to analyse the features that have helped to make the text work. In this way the class starts to co-construct a toolkit for this type of text so that they can talk about the ingredients themselves – a key stage in internalising the toolkit in their heads.




Once the children have internalised the text, they are then ready to start innovating on the pattern of the text. This could begin with more advanced activities to warm up the key words and phrases of the type of text focused on so the children can magpie ideas. Younger children and less confident writers alter their text maps and orally rehearse what they want to say, creating their own version. The key activity in this stage is shared writing, helping the children to write their own by “doing one together” first. This could begin with using a boxed-up grid (innovating on the exemplar plan) to show how to plan the text and then turning the plan into writing. This allows the children to see how you can innovate on the exemplar text and select words and phrases that really work. Demonstrating how to regularly read your work aloud to see if it works is important here. This process enables the children to write their own versions through developing their ability to generate good words and phrases and also, hopefully, develops the inner judge when they start to decide why one word or phrase is best. If, during this process a teaching assistant (or in KS2 an able child) flip-charts up words and phrases suggested, these can be put on the washing line alongside the shared writing so when the children come to write they have models and words and phrases to support them. Throughout the shared writing, the children should be strengthening the toolkit so they start to understand the type of ingredients that may help. Once they have finished their own paragraph/s children should be encouraged to swap their work with a response partner. Then with the aid of a visualiser, the whole class can also discuss some of the more successful work. Time now needs to be found to enable the children to give their own work a polish in the light of these discussions and perhaps to begin the dialogue about what works by writing their own comment on their work for the teacher to comment on.






The teacher now has the opportunity to assess the children’s work and to adapt their planning in the light of what the children can actually do. This stage could begin with some activities focused on helping the children understand aspects that they were having difficulty with and should include time for the children to have a go at altering their work in the light of what they have just learnt so that they start to make progress. This stage will continue to focus on the next steps needed to support progress so the children can become independent speakers and writers of this type of text. Perhaps some more examples of the text are compared followed by more shared writing on a related topic and then the children can have a go themselves on a related topic of their own choosing. Typically, teachers work with the children to set ‘tickable targets’ which focus on aspects that they need to attend to. Again this section will end with response partner and whole class discussion about what features really worked, followed by an opportunity to polish your work. This process also helps the children internalise the toolkit for such writing so that it becomes a practical flexible toolkit in the head rather than a list to be looked at and blindly followed. At the end of the unit, the children’s work should be published or displayed. The teacher will now have a good picture of what features to focus on in the next unit to move the children forward. It is important to provide children with a purpose for their writing so classroom display or some sort of publishing is useful.





Coleshill Heath School Library Launch! 


We are thrilled to announce that on Wednesday 25th January, we will be launching our brand new library! 


Here are some photographs of the library so far.  Check back here in a couple of days for more photographs of our launch. 



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English Curriculum:

At Coleshill Heath School children are provided with a wealth and variety of reading, writing, speaking and listening opportunities which develop, secure and embed key English skills for lifelong learning.  These skills not only underpin children’s understanding across the curriculum, they are essential ingredients for instilling confidence and resilience, enabling them to fully access all areas of the curriculum - unlocking their unique potential.



Our Core Vision

Reading and writing are inextricably linked – through this vehicle of communication, pupils access an extensive range of quality reading and writing experiences, providing enrichment and fulfilment; igniting their passion for learning and bringing this to fruition.


Speaking and listening, reading and writing experiences permeate throughout our Cornerstones curriculum; it is vital that these skills are integrated and accessed daily to further consolidate pupils’ knowledge and understanding.


CHS School Mission:

To ensure that all pupils at CHS foster a love and enjoyment of reading; promoting a varied and wide reading diet, mastering and unlocking the skills of reading for lifelong learning.

Our core belief is that the most important gift we can give to our children is the power to read and to instill a love of reading for pleasure. First we learn to read; then we read to learn.

Within the pages of a book the limits are boundless…

At CHS reading is a daily occurrence and is structured using the following ways:

Diet of Reading at CHS:


Reading sessions at CHS EYFS (Rec / Y1)

Reading session

Reading (time allocation)

Focus of session



To ensure children are secure in their phonic knowledge.

Love to Read

40 minutes daily

To ensure pupils read a variety of stories, familiarization with classic texts and modern texts.

Rhythm and Rhyme

1 session per wk 30 minutes

Learning familiar rhymes/ rhyming patterns/ classic poems / develop language skills/ using props to bring the story to life.


20 minutes x 5 daily

Developing children’s reading for pleasure working towards the Book Awards.



Year 2

Reading session

Reading (time allocation)

Focus of session



To ensure children are secure in their phonic knowledge.

Love to Read

40 minutes daily

Develop children’s knowledge of authors and reading for different purposes/ immersing children and igniting a love for reading / sharing stories. Develop knowledge of class and modern texts.

Rhythm and Rhyme

40 minutes – 1 hour

Language development/ learning rhymes off  by heart/ knowledge of onset and rhyme/ embedding knowledge of classic poems / poets.


20 minutes x 5 daily

Developing children’s reading for pleasure working towards the Book Awards.



Year 3 – 6

Reading session

Reading (time allocation)

Focus of session

English lesson

60 minutes daily

Talk 4 Writing

Using the text to illustrate SPaG skills and reading as a writer / writing as a reader.

Focused Reading

40 minutes daily

Structured session to develop key areas of reading:

Comprehension skills/ inference / retrieval / evidence/ skimming scanning to locate information and the way pupils’ respond to different reading materials/ personal response to the texts through journal tasks.


Additional 20 minutes per week.

Reading materials shared through curriculum content – revisit skills taught in English and Focused Reading / ERIC time.


Reading National Curriculum 2014

The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 key elements:

  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading)

It is of key importance that children develop their competence in both areas to become skilled, confident readers. Children are encouraged to read widely and often, they should be proficient in accessing a range of texts for different purposes; reading for information (comprehension) and reading for pleasure (enjoyment). Both reading diets are taught extensively throughout the school. Teachers use high quality discussions to bring a range of texts to life and enable children to use reading skills for different purposes.

Timetabling for Enquiry Hub:

All classes have a scheduled slot for visiting the Enquiry Hub, providing access to non-fiction texts. Pupils are able to use the Enquiry Hub to develop their research skills for all areas of the curriculum.

Library Areas:

Each phase has a library area; books have been selected on their age/ author appropriate/ wide range of books to interest and develop the children’s enjoyment of reading. Children are able to change their library books once per week.

Book Awards Boxes: Each phase has a book box with a selection of the Book Award author texts. The Book Award boxes are labelled with their specific Book Box Jewel. These books stay in school; children have weekly access to their Book Box

School Library: CHS subscribes to MLS library services as part of Reading Cloud. All teachers and pupils have access to the Reading cloud and online facilities.

Children have a unique library card and are able to take out 2 books per week from the library.

MLS Reading cloud provides pupils with information about authors and a catalogue to their work. All staff and pupils are issued a library card and online access to the Reading cloud facility. Teachers can support pupils when choosing library books using the “Who’s Next” feature; this makes author suggestions based on pupils individual choice – therefore personalizing their reading diet, ensuring it is wide and varied.

ERIC time:

ERIC time (3 x 20 minute sessions per week in addition to focused reading).

During ERIC sessions, teachers encourage pupils to develop their own silent reading strategies and tastes for reading.

Teaching staff ensure that they are supporting pupils and tailoring the reading session for pupils varied needs and requirements; working with specific pupils, groups and the whole class to develop and embed a variety of reading strategies.

Phase 1 (EYFS) & Phase 2 (Year 1 & 2)  Our primary focus is to ensure that we are teaching the skill of reading. Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (where additional support is required) will learn essential reading skills through our Read Write Inc. scheme:  Practitioners are confident to support children's language and literacy development through the development of phonic knowledge.


Through use of the RWI programme, pupils are exposed to well-planned high-quality lessons for the teaching phonics which give children the understanding of letter–sound correspondences (the alphabetic principle) and the skills for blending and segmenting which – together with building comprehension – are the foundations on which reading, spelling and writing are based.

Synthetic) approach to teaching phonics, the key features of which are to teach beginner readers:

  • grapheme/phoneme (letter/sound) correspondences

(the alphabetic principle) in a clearly defined incremental


· to apply the highly important skill of blending

(synthesising) phonemes in order, all through a word, to

read it

· to apply the skills of segmenting words into their

constituent phonemes to spell

  • that blending and segmenting are reversible processes

Overview of the RML Programme

The children:

  • Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts.
  • Learn to read words using sound blending.
  • Read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out.
  • Show that they comprehend the stories by answering “Find It” and “Prove It” discussion questions.


During the teacher led session there is a clear focus for developing children’s phonic skills and a range of reading strategies they can employ to decode a text.

Class teachers at CHS ensure that children develop their phonic knowledge:

  • Pupils are able to recognise the sounds individual letters make
  • identify sounds that different combinations of letters make
  • blend sounds together to make words
  • decode new words
  • develop their sight vocabulary
  • further develop their language skills and vocabulary

During this session the primary focus is to teach and master the skill of reading; the second skill is to ensure that we are equipping our children with the skills to talk articulately about the books they are reading to develop ‘pleasure talking readers’.

Love to Read: Reception/ Year 1 / Year 2

We are encouraging the pupils to foster and ignite a love for reading. Love to Read sessions will enable staff to deliver high quality reading skills whilst ensuring children are stimulated and inspired to read a range of texts. Love To Read is delivered Mon – Thurs (40 minutes per session).

Phase 2 (Year 3) & Phase 3 (Year 4 – Year 6)

Focused Reading Sessions: Year 3 – Year 6

We are encouraging the pupils to find pleasure, enjoyment and develop a love of reading through a varied diet of reading experiences.

Focused Reading sessions enable staff to deliver high quality reading skills whilst ensuring children are stimulated and inspired to read a range of texts. The Focused Reading session is delivered daily (40 minutes per session).

During Love To Read and Focused Reading children have the opportunity work in small group reading sessions guided by an adult. During these sessions the children interact with a group text and develop their reading strategies as well as their comprehension skills.

The children complete journal activities which develop their comprehension, inference and decoding skills.

Rhythm and Rhyme sessions Years 1 & 2

Focus : Developing children’s phonological and early graphic awareness.

( 30 minutes per week) .

Reading linked to speaking and listening skills

Language development and knowledge of language, is an intrinsic part of our day to day existence and is key in developing confidence when communicating in a variety of contexts.


Rhythm and Rhyme:

Rhythm and Rhyme sessions are used to develop children’s love of literature through nursery rhymes and poems. Where possible, Rhythm and Rhyme sessions link to the shared class text and to RWI focused phoneme for that week / spelling rule.

Class poetry:

All classes from Reception – Year 6 are allocated a class poem which they learn and recite by heart.

Environment: To inspire all children to read, and to read widely, the following themes are prominent throughout the school building with use of featured walls:

EYFS: Growing Readers theme

Evidence of nursery rhymes and classical poetry

Growing and nurturing the children with speech and language,

Phase 2 Developing Readers: Famous authors and illustrations by each themed library area.

Phase 3 Inspiring Readers: Famous authors and themed library areas relating explicitly to the reading skills.

Reading display: Reading Owls

All classrooms have a reading corner/ reading area. Children have daily access to the reading area during ERIC time. All classrooms have a set of reading owls displayed which focus on four main skills of successful reading:

  • Retrieval

· Inference

· Skimming

  • Scanning


Writing National Curriculum 2014

The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 key elements:

  • transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • composition (articulating ideas and structuring through different forms of writing)

Through writing experiences, we empower the children to take ownership of different writing styles; to develop their independence and writing for a variety of purposes. We encourage them to master the skills of writing to develop confidence, independence and resilience. Writing skills are explicitly taught through English lessons; however children apply their writing skills to different areas of our rich and varied curriculum. 

English lessons take place daily (1 hour) where children can respond and access a variety of texts and literacy experiences. Friday’s English lesson is linked to our Cornerstones topic and work is produced in our cornerstones books.


Writing processes:

• Igniting the passion for writing – hook lesson, visual literacy, inspiring the children and sharing the purpose (what is the writing used for?)

• Working with teacher support – modelled, shared and guided writing experiences

• Pupils writing in response to a text, visual stimulus or non-fiction prompt

• Drafting, editing improving your writing.


English Curriculum Overviews for reading and writing ensure breadth and coverage as outlined in the National Curriculum. Key words are taught from reception to Year 6 and form part of the weekly spelling list alongside a list of spellings linked to a spelling rule.

Home spellings

Children take home weekly spellings; the spelling rules are taught during class English lessons. In addition, children are also exposed to the statutory word list as part of their English lessons: two words per week are sent home as part of the ‘home list’ to consolidate their spelling skills.

Practising spellings at home will help your child prepare for the weekly spelling test.

Dictated Sentences

In Phase 3, as an additional support you may ask your child to write down a dictated sentence – this will familiarise them with hearing the word within a given context. Moreover writing a dictated sentence will also support your child with note-taking skills. 

SPaG skills

From Y1 – Y6 all pupils complete daily SPaG lessons to explore and secure key skills; where possible these tasks relate to the key skills taught within the English lesson, through writing and reading elements to consolidate, practise and embed understanding.

Spoken Language

At CHS all pupils are given a wide range of opportunities to develop their spoken language skills. It is of paramount important that children are given regular opportunity to develop their language acquisition and recognise the different contexts and purposes for speaking.

Children learn three key areas for spoken language:

  • Interpretive (reciting a class poem)
  • Technical ( changing intonation / pace)
  • Communication (responding to the needs of a speaker/ holding a conversation)

Pupils are taught to:

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
  • use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary
  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
  • give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes,
  • including for expressing feelings
  • maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on
  • topic and initiating and responding to comments
  • use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising,
  • imagining and exploring ideas
  • speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
  • participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and
  • debates
  • gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s)
  • consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the
  • contributions of others
  • select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.



All children at CHS access the Martin Harvey & Debbie Watson Handwriting Scheme. This semi-cursive font allows children to learn and form letters using different joins which belong to different letter families.

All children currently have a weekly handwriting session to support them in learning and practising these formations.

Children from Nursery – Year 3 will write using pencil, whilst children in Years 4 – 6 will write using a handwriting pen when they have secured key joins.

Working walls are used in all classes showing modelled examples of writing and texts for children to refer to. Children are shown the different working and thinking processes that take place to produce a polished piece of writing. 


Read Write Inc Phonics

At Coleshill Heath we use the 'Read Write Inc' phonics programme to teach our children to read.  The above link will open a parents' guide to explain how this programme works. 
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