Becoming an accomplished writer is a slow process, which is why a text-based curriculum is so important; it exposes children to great examples of writing over a long period of time.
It’s not just a process of osmosis, however, and James Clements outlines four particular ways in which a text can provide inspiration for writing in the classroom. We might, for example, take particular story tropes and think about what might be a fitting ending (an element of story writing to which children often don’t pay enough attention). Or we could explore specific genres, such as historical fiction, that allow pupils to connect their writing with what they have learned in other subjects.
There are texts that will create purposes for writing through the events in a story. For example, if one character writes a letter to another, then the children might have a go at writing this letter, drawing on their knowledge of the story, and possibly pen a reply too. And we can give pupils a way in to creating a story by letting them write about an already familiar character.
Children stories can often end up as lists, so James outlines what teachers might put in place to support children to create more structured and interesting writing. We also look at the process of creating new characters, and how this can inspire new stories
All this stems from a curriculum that includes inspirational texts, creates opportunities for children to draw on their reading when they write, and allows some freedom for pupils to explore their own interests and ideas.
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While working as a senior leader in an outstanding inner city primary school, James was instrumental in developing effective reading provision, and was also consulted on the 2014 National Curriculum. A former local authority lead teacher, he is now an English advisor supporting schools and LAs to improve the teaching of reading, writing and drama - and an author for Oxford Owl.
About the Course
In this set of films, education adviser James Clements explores how teachers can develop a text-based approach to the English curriculum. The films take a detailed look at selecting texts, structuring units of work and practical classroom ideas for using rich texts in the classroom.