The Big Write

UPDATED May 2012: You can now view examples of the children’s work by visiting the Gallery.

As part of our continued drive to enhance learning in Literacy at St Joseph’s, we are introducing a new initiative across the school, ‘The Big Write’. It is based on Ros Wilson’s Big Writing scheme which follows the philosophy that if children can say it, they can write it. Big write will involve children bringing home talk homework once a week or fortnightly to discuss at home in preparation for writing the next day. Through Big Write we hope that our pupils will become more confident and ambitious in their writing.

Big write sessions will take place once a week in Years 4, 5, and 6, and fortnightly in Years 1, 2 and 3. In reception, children will take part in The Big Talk. The sessions will be an hour and half dedicated purely to writing (one hour in KS1). The day before the Big Write session, your child will bring home ‘talk homework’. The Big Write session will begin with developing four elements of writing –Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation, through engaging activities. This will give our pupils the necessary tools to write with confidence across a range of genres. The sessions will include time for children to plan their writing and teachers will create a special atmosphere for the writing session, such as background music, special books and pens.

Early Years

In reception class, the children will take part in ‘The Big Talk.’ It is vital that children develop their language skill through talking, enabling them to progress with their writing skills. Each fortnight, children will be given a topic to talk about at home. The following day, pupils will have the opportunity to talk about their ideas.

Talk Homework

Each week or fortnight, depending on the class your child is in, they will bring home ‘talk homework’ on a slip of paper the day before the Big Write so that they can begin to prepare ideas for their writing the next day. The opportunity to talk about their ideas at home will also help children to develop their writing voice.  Children do not need to write down anything for this homework, but it would be beneficial to them if you could support them in thinking of wow words (exciting vocabulary). The subject for the Big Write may link to class topic work and will include a range of genres.

 Ros Wilson, the creator of Big Writing, suggests that we try to do the following:

 – Encourage as many family members as possible to be involved in Talk

– Homework, possibly around the meal table!

– Switch off the T.V.! Try to ensure this is dedicated talking and listening time.

– When giving your opinion, use the ‘because’ word to explain why you think that.

– Give the possible opinions of two contrasting family members who are not present for the talk, and use the ‘because’ word to explain why they may be different.

– Ask others around the table to give their opinions and to use the ‘because’ word.

– Ask your child his / her opinion and ask them to use the ‘because’ word.

– Link the topic you are given to discuss back to something you remember from when you were a child and say why things may be different now. Project forward to how things may be different in the future.

 VCOP

Your child will begin to become familiar with this terminology. VCOP is Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation.

V: The range of ambitious vocabulary a pupil knows; WOW words.

C: The range of ways pupils have of joining ideas, phrases & sentences

O: The strategies pupils have for opening sentences; especially the 3 key openers: connectives, ‘ly’ words & ‘ing’ words

P: The range of punctuation a pupil can use & the accuracy with which they use it

 We are excited about beginning The Big Write at our school, some classes have already begun and the feedback from pupils has been very positive. Please do ask your class teacher if you require any further information. 

Read how one of our classes has been getting along …….. 

Year 4 made a flying start to their Big Write on Wednesday and produced some exciting recounts.  Here is an example of how our Big Write learning is helping us to use… V (wow words), C (connectives), O (sentence openers) and P (punctuation).