Broadway, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN7 4HX


Dunsville Primary School

Working as one to achieve excellence through enjoyment

Headteacher - Mrs V Wilson

Talk for Writing

At Dunsville Primary we teach English through the Talk for Writing process.

What is Talk for Writing?

Talk for Writing is an engaging teaching framework developed by Pie Corbett. It is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. The movement from imitation to innovation to independent application can be adapted to suit the needs of learners of any stage.

The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.


The Talk for Writing approach

The Talk for Writing approach enables children to imitate orally the language they need for a particular topic, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version. Here are the key phases:

1. Baseline assessment and planning – the cold task

Teaching is focused by an initial assessment of what the children can already do in the form of a cold task. The aim is to see what children can do independently at the start of a unit so the teacher can work out what to plan to teach the whole class.

2. The imitation phase

The teaching begins with a creative ‘hook’ which engages the pupils with a sense of enjoyment, audience and purpose. The model text is pitched well above the pupil's level and has built into it the underlying, transferable structures and language patterns that children will need when they are writing. This is learned using a ‘text map’ and actions to strengthen memory and help children internalise the text.  Once children can ‘talk like the text’, the model and other examples are then read for vocabulary and comprehension before being analysed for the basic text (boxing up) and language patterns as well as writing techniques or toolkits. Short-burst writing is used to practise key focuses such as description, persuasion or scientific explanation.

3. The innovation phase

Once children are familiar with the model text, they then start to create their own versions. Through planning, children change the text map and orally develop ideas prior to writing. Shared and guided writing is used over a number of days and feedback is given so pupils can improve their own work

 4The independent application and invention phase – the hot task

Eventually, students move on to the final phase, which is when they apply independently what has been taught and practised. Children are guided through planning, drafting and revising their work independently. Writing may be staged over a number of days and there may be time for several independent pieces to be written. The final piece is used as the ‘hot’ task, which clearly shows progress across the unit.


For an example of children learning a story, please see the following link:

Take a look at some of the work produced in school following the Talk for Writing process.