Writing at Carrick Knowe

We are changing the way we look at writing at Carrick Knowe. In the summer, all of our teachers attended a training session led by James Clements –  more information about James Clements can be found by clicking here.

In order to provide effective writing teaching, we use the Edinburgh Writing Strategy:

1.Teach children to think like a writer- model the writing process explicitly.

2.Teach children about the process rather than the product.

3.Sustain a focus on spelling and handwriting to give children greater fluency.

4.Inspiration and purpose are important- real purposes and real events give real reasons to write.

5.Look how authors use language and words in good quality fiction and non-fiction.

6.The importance of talk – effective spoken language is the bedrock of effective writing.

7.Grammar and punctuation are essential for good communication – keep them high on the agenda.

8.Get children to write lots, following the writing process and receiving diagnostic feedback.

9.Vocabulary development is crucial – make sure children expand their vocabulary by reading widely.

10.Providing constructive oral and written feedback, giving clear advice on ways to improve.


Below are a number of words which you might hear your child and/or child’s teacher using. We know that sometimes children may have difficulties explaining some of the terms so we have come up with a simple ‘Jargon Buster’ linked to our writing lessons:

‘Big Writing’  This is the name of the approach which we base our writing lessons on.

Up-levelling – take a simple sentence and make it more interesting eg “The man walked along the road” could become “The nimble young man dashed across the busy highway” or the same basic sentence could become “The poor man hobbled painfully across the uneven cobbled street”.

VCOP – four aspects of writing which the Big Writing approach focuses upon – vocabulary, connectives, openers, punctuation.

Vocabulary – use “wow” words ie interesting and ambitious words. “Nice” is boring and could be replaced by fantastic, amazing, delicious, etc.

Connectives – includes conjunctions, ie joining words between two phrases, eg so, and, but, because, that, however, in addition to, etc.

Openers – good ways to start a sentence eg next, later, after, then, when. A good piece of writing would not start each sentence with the same word, eg, Then, then, then.

Punctuation – using capital letters and full stops correctly, moving onto commas, question marks, exclamations marks, etc.


Children start with learning to print letters. They then move on to cursive writing. When learning to write, it is vital that children learn to form the letters in the correct way. This means being careful about where they start each letter and most handwriting sheets have a large dot where the children start to form the letter and little arrows to show which way to go round.

It is also important that children realise that lower case letters are different sizes as this helps them to recognise the letters more easily.

Please make sure that they do not put capital letters in the middle of words – k and r are often written as K and R in the middle of a word, the letter p’s “tummy” needs to sit on the line.