I hope all our families had a very enjoyable and refreshing school holiday break.
At the recent Staff Professional Development Day, our teachers received training from the Dyslexia SPELD Foundation in an internationally recognised whole-school approach to teaching written expression called Talk for Writing. This unique process uses spoken activities and pictures to develop student writing skills. The aim is to develop written language skills by first targeting oral language skills.
Many students find the writing process, both fiction and non-fiction, extremely challenging. These students may have wonderful ideas but struggle to get their thoughts onto the page. Even those who read reasonably well can experience difficulty with written expression.
In Talk for Writing, the process of ‘Imitation – Innovation – Invention’ is explored. Students learn to orally recite and act out popular stories through listening and reading. The teacher maps out the story using pictures to aid students’ memory. The repetition allows students to interact with the text and helps them internalise the language patterns and features.
Students are then taught to use the underlying structure of the original text to create their own version on a different topic. Over time, they move towards independent writing as they create texts about their own topics.
Research evidence suggests the following are the most effective strategies to improve writing:
- Explicit instruction
- Ensure abstract concepts are made concrete
- Emphasis on fluency comes through exposure and repetition
- Development of meta–cognitive strategies to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills
- Cumulative and sequential presentation of content and skills
Our teachers will implement Talk for Writing strategies in conjunction with our current writing programs to teach and encourage our students to become successful writers.