Read as a writer

Every story a child discovers can open the doors to a new writing adventure. Maria Richards explains how to use the successful ‘Talk for Writing’ approach with The terrible tale of the Lambton Worm.

So what can you do with a story? You can read it, act it out, draw the pictures that it creates in your head, hot seat the characters; in fact, the list is endless. But one of the most exciting things that you can do with a story is use it to help you become a better writer. This is the philosophy behind leading educationalist Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’ approach.

For children to write well, they must have a bank of stories that they can draw upon when they need to create one of their own. These are stories that they know well, that they have read, had read to them or have learned as part of regular storytelling. These stories create a child’s ‘narrative storehouse’ which they need to become a confident, creative writer. When teaching writing through ‘Talk for Writing’, an existing story becomes the scaffold that allows children to create their own – all in three, simple phases: imitate, innovate, invent.

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