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Improving Ks1 Writing


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My KS1 Co-ord (also under role as Y2 Lit teacher) has been asked to write an action plan to improve wriitng in KS1 - particularly getting more Level 3s by the end of Y2. As the Y1 Lit teacher, I have some responsibility in implementing parts of the plan.


At the moment we generally follow Jolly Phonics from FS thru, but have been covering Grammar 1 between Y1 & Y2 - do we need to invest in Grammar 2 and use that for Y2 and Grammar 1 for Y1?


At the moment we plan throughout school using LCP files and the Primary National Strategy Literacy Planning CD-ROM. The spellings are taken from LCP - are we better off to follow Jolly Phonics suggested spellings? Are there better 'aids' for planning? I'm not sure whether to go for the 'story theme' approach or what - particularly with Transition issues becoming more emphasised.


Writing has generally been poor across the school, but a decline is evident in KS1 over the last 2 years, altho our approach etc hasn't changed.


Any ideas on how to improve standards (and what to use) across KS1 would be gratefully appreciated!


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We have been focusing on writing over the past year from Foundation 1/2 to year 6. in the early stages we concentrate on talk providing lots of role play oppurtunity for writing a garage postoffice vets book shop etc and also developing thinking skills through a focus on drama throughtout the school and the result are beginning to show hope this helps




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I've just become lit co-ord at my school (FS and KS1), and we have similar problems. We are particularly poor with writing. Here are a few things i'm currently implementing to try and improve standards (although some of them are just being trialled and not in our policy yet)



Basically focuses on speaking and list and reading in 1st week, and reading and writing in second (although S & L is always a big part). Phonics / spelling etc is done throughout as appropriate. The idea is that the children get lots of opps for TALK FOR WRITING (not just a blank canvas). At the end of the 2 week block (sometimes 1 week if appropriate) it leads into an extended writing session, with time for reviewing and redrafting.



Prob mostly what u already do, but we're using the 'Playing with sounds' stuff a lot now which is great. There's a book called 'Year 2 and 3 planning exemplification and spelling programme' which follows on from this for Year 2. It combines revision of phonics with a spelling prog. (fits into 2 week block)



The staff have filled in an audit about what they currently do, and how they see writing in school (most were very honest). Soon i'll be interviewing a selction of children to get their perceptions of how they see writing in school. This'll feed into my action plan



Most school's seem to be going this way now. we're pushing a lot of the stiff we already do in FS into KS1 e.g. writing in context (in role play areas), puppets, small world etc. (all supports TALK FOR WRITING)


In addition i'm doing / have done all the usual stuff, e.g.

Audit of planning

Lesson observations

Staff Meetings

Audit of classroom environments etc



I'd like to hear how things go for you and your Lit co-ord, as I'm sure you'll have loads more ideas I can borrow! :D (PLEASE!!!)



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As Literacy Co-ordinator at our school, we have done similar implementations to Kelly N.

We have put in intervention strategies:

Children in Year 1 + Poor Year 2's receive ELS (Early Literacy Support)

Children in Year 2 borderline 2c's for predicted SATS receiive ALS (Additional Literacy Support) ALS is a Year 3 intervention strategy but a lot of Year 2 teachers use it.






We also run the Better Reading Partnership which has had an improvement with writing.




Children from Reception to Year 2 who have poor fine motor skills and grouped and do extra work with a teaching assistant.

We do Extended writing sessions on a Friday morning - Year 1 + 2 children - where the focus is more creative writing.

Generally drama has a big focus, things like:

Character in role - hot seating

talk partners

use of puppets

think/feel/speech bubbles to stop stories at different stages and discuss

there are boys writing flyers:



There is a speaking and listening pack with drama activities:



Have you used Developing Early Writing?


In school we have opportunities for writing across the curriculum in early years and ks1.

Just some ideas, I will have a dig into my file if you need any more help.

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Thanks Beckyann, KellyN and les 346 for your replies. It sounds like we do pretty much the same things. We do a writing audit once a (main) term (we are on 6 term year), marking writing against NC levels. However, I'm not sure how productive that is as it comes down to individual opinion and judgement.


I definately feel we need to make a much bigger push on phonics - probably following Jolly Phonics much more closely. We are also looking at buying in Action Words for September.


I have started to do a 2 week planning block where possible - We have covered Cinderella and Goldilocks so far. However, I seem to struggle to cover all that I need to in that time, although some of my boys have made great improvements in imaginative writing from working and planning that way.


I think my biggest issue is that as a school we have started to use the FOCUS assessment sheets that give targets for children wroking towards each level of the NC. They are focused to writing and S&L for Literacy. In order for me to feel that my children are making progress (we have been told in KS1 they should make a whole level progress each year - e.g. in Y1 go from 1c to 2c etc) all the work I plan should be target focused, but I seem to be missing big gaps in other areas as they are not on the target sheets. I think both myself and Y2 teacher feel trapped between targets, SATs and knowing where the children are actually at!


Imaginative play and drama are definately areas to look at and improve - space and support is an issue there, but I'm sure we can work around it to some degree!


Some of our Y1 childeren are placed on the ELS programme - hadn't thought about putting poor Y2s on it too, that is worth a thought. Y3s use ALS, again we don't use it with Y2s, but worth thinking about. Will mention those to Y2 teacher/Lit Co-ord.


Have started to use Developing Early Writing - although have to say, not sure I'm 100% sure on what to do with it. Feel a bit lost with it all at the moment!!!


Thank you again for your help, advice and support



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Guest tinkerbell

To keep the FUN in all of this in KS1 you could do rainbow writing.This is where the children use a diferent coloured pen (gel are great) for each new sentence.This idea can be introduced when the target is sentences.This was an idea in Child educationa few years ago and I know my year2 at the time really enjoyed and thought about sentences.

To have everything to hand to make writing easier we have a plastic tidy tray with alphabet cards,my try spelling cards, topic words etc.

In the back of my year 1 books we have a target sheet that is stuck on the back page and flips out so the child can see their target and refer to it in the writing session.

We have a book that each child writes an unaided piece in each half term , this is levelled and targets made ,shared with child and the book goes with child through school.The progress can be tracked through this book.

Hope these help

tinkerbell x

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Think improving writing seems to be a target for most schools nationally. We are doing all the things mentioned already (we have been doing Jolly Phonics for 10 years and 2 years of Action words)but our big emphasis is on the FUN bit! Making writing interesting motivating the children to WANT to write rather than it being another task (groan!)

Not sure but I seems to think the the Jolly Phonics grammar2 is for older children (junior xD )


Can I just say I have hidden my LCP file at the back of a very dark cupboard :o someone mentioned Literacy goes MADD on here and I am hoping to start that in the summer term. :)

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Someone recommended it and think it was Susan said she'd been to a workshop.

It stands for Literacy goes Music Art Drama and Dance (I think) Its writen in the framework of the NLS NC QCA etc guidelines but looks at teaching literacy in a creative fun way while still coving everything that has to be taught

Only problem is its expensive :o Hoping I can use some e learning credits to buy the Foundation Stage units :)


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Thanks guys for the guidance.


I'm very aware that need to make all lessons fun, just not sure how to do it. We've got a lot to think about as a school I think. I've looked at Literacy goes MADD from the links on here, but think the answer I'll get from the powers that be is that it is far too expensive - we only have £50 budget for each subject!!!


I think part of my own personal problem is insecurity with teaching in different styles. I'm in my 3rd year of teaching and I guess still a little 'wary' of trying different styles.... hopefully putting Transition between FS/Y1 will help me with this.


Any suggestions - particularly on how to incorporate learning through play etc would be great!!! :D


In the meantime I shall return to the darlings after a week of peace and quiet!!


Thank you again


Spam :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

We invested heavily in Literacy goes Madd, but after using it for a year some staff were not happy with it and so it has been downplayed - the resources are good but we didn't agree on the timings eg spending a lot of time on one book .


Great shame



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