One of our priorities at Swaffield School this year continues to be raising attainment in Literacy, particularly in writing. Our aim is to ensure that effective techniques at teaching writing are employed consistently so all pupils write confidently and creatively.

Read, Write Inc

After great results, Read, Write Inc, the systematic and structured phonics programme we use in school which is proven to benefit all aspects of Literacy, including speaking and listening, continues to be used. A ‘start-up’ programme is in place for children starting school and a ‘catch- up’ programme for those who are struggling in Literacy. All children are grouped according to ability and the aim is to get children through the programme as soon as possible and in to whole class daily Literacy teaching.

Read Write Inc. is a method of learning centred around letter sounds and phonics, and we use it here at Swaffield School to aid children in their literacy.

Using Read Write Inc, the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into composing what they write.

When using Read Write Inc to read the children will:

•    learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts.
•    read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out.
•    show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.

When using Read Write Inc. to write the children will learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent:

•    44 sounds.
•    write simple sentences.
•    compose stories based on picture strips.
•    compose a range of stories based on writing frames.

To gain the most from the programme and to have the biggest impact on the children’s Literacy levels, it is important all parents/ carers understand how they can help their children and parent/ carer sessions are going to be held to explain the Read, Write Inc. programme in more detail.
You can also visit www.ruthmiskinliteracy.com for more information.


Every Friday, all children from Year 1-6 (Reception will begin in the Summer term) in the school have a ‘Big Write’ lesson. Leaflets have been sent home detailing how parents/ carers can help at home (a copy can be downloaded HERE )

How does Big Writing work?
Big writing is a way of teaching writing, based on the research of Ros Wilson. Big Writing focuses on four main aspects of the writing process (VCOP) and gives the children the skills to improve their writing through self-assessment.

So what does VCOP stand for?

V- is for vocabulary (ambitious ‘WOW’ words) and children are encouraged to widen their use of language to make their writing richer. In the classroom, new and expressive words are collected and shared.


C – is for conjunctions (joining words) such as and, because, so, besides, although, however, but etc. This makes writing more cohesive and interesting.


O – is for openers (opening your sentences in a variety of ways). Varying the way you open sentences makes them more engaging to read. There are three main ways of opening sentences – using conjunctions and words ending in ‘ly’ and ing’. Another way includes starting a sentence with a word ending in ‘ed’.


P – is for punctuation – correctly using punctuation appropriate for age or level. Children are taught the names of the different punctuation and they learn how to use them to ‘up level’ their writing

Children are taught in class which specific vocabulary, conjunctions, openers and punctuation will be suitable for particular task or writing genre e.g. a story or an information sheet.  They then go on to practise these in different ways such as through games, highlighting text, or using them in their own writing.

Ingredients that make a Big Writing lesson

• A lively, fun lesson that focuses on the VCOP and generates ideas or writing – games, activities and active learning.
• An undisturbed writing session, special pens and books
• Lots of experience of writing different text types chosen for Big Writing e.g. story, report, news article, diary entry.
• A chance to read through good examples of similar writing – we call this ‘hooking in’.
• Talking homework – discussed in class and sent home (important discussion and planning time).
• Reading the writing with a partner and helping one another to make improvements.
• Setting targets for how to make progress next time they

The importance of ‘Talk’ in Big Writing

The premise of Big Writing is that if children can’t say it or talk about it, then they can’t write it. The better we can talk, the better we can write. Having a wide vocabulary and using language well helps children with all of their learning. Your child will be given ‘talk homework’, giving them a talk topic to discuss with you.

Here are some ways in which you can help your child at home with their writing:
• Talk! – ask children to describe anything and ever thing.
• Write! – encourage them to write letters, a diary, email friends and family, send postcards, make lists, play vocabulary games, write stories and illustrate them.
• Take the opportunity to comment on interesting use of VCOP when reading with your child.
• Use a dictionary or a thesaurus to find interesting words to use.
• Encourage children to think about how to improve work completed at home through use of VCOP. • Be prepared to explain new words to your child and give examples of how to use them.
• Read often and widely with your child.
• Encourage children to use phrases or words seen in a book in their own writing.
• Take it in turns to tell a story. One person starts it, the other says what happens next etc

Please visit your child’s Year Group section under the Learning tab above for more detail of the “Talk Homework” which is given to help children prepare for their “Big Write” lesson.


Please visit the Reading and Books page for more information about reading at Swaffield.
Below are links to reading lists by Year group.


Help at home gives children the best support in reading and writing. Here is guidance for what you can do at home to support and improve your child’s literacy skills before starting school and throughout their years at primary school.
Please see the attached documents on how you can support your child in literacy:

* Guidance for parents of children in Early Years Foundation stage
* Guidance for parents of children in Key Stage 1 (Years 1 & 2)
* Guidance for parents of children in Key Stage 2(Years 3 to 6 inclusive)
* Parents’ guidance: Useful addresses

You’ll find some useful resources on the Homework page to help you support your child.
These resources include:

  • Glossary of Grammar Terms 
  • Information to support your child with Speaking & Writing, Reading & Writing.
  • Supporting your child with reading (also translated into Somali and Urdu)