English Lessons

Storytelling Curriculum 

Our whole school has adopted a storytelling (also known as talk 4 writing) approach which underpins our literacy curriculum. This is based on the belief that a child needs to be able to ‘talk it before they can write it’. There are a range of benefits which stem from learning in this way and it especially has an impact on the promotion of language acquisition. Through careful text choices children are exposed to new vocabulary. Understanding of this vocabulary is secured through explicit teaching. Children then internalise and embed this language during the imitate phase and then explore it and apply it independently in the innovate and invent stages.  Because the children are learning texts by heart, they are being familiarised and internalising a range of vocabulary, grammatical features and patterns of narrative.

You should see in each classroom evidence of this approach in the way of storymaps, story telling/ puppet areas and learning which evidences the progression through each stage of the process.

The talk for writing process encourages the children to ‘write like a reader’ and many of our lessons focus on ‘reading deeply’ and unpicking the language and sentence structure that authors have used e.g. to create tone and atmosphere.

‘Helicopter Stories’ (Used in Phase 1)

This storytelling approach combined with a focus on teaching vocabulary teaches children the narrative patterns of stories and also equips them with the language needed to bring these patterns to life. Children are able to showcase their creative story inventions through a process called Helicopter stories, inspired by the work of Vivian Gussein-Paley. Helicopter stories allow children to  tell their own story inventions and have them celebrated during a special class storytelling session. As these stories are written down verbatim they also offer valuable examples of spoken language which is used for assessment and to track progress in areas such as sentence length, confidence with using a range of tenses and use of a range of connectives.


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