Workshop for Literacy
Workshop for Literacy – theory and
practical advice
Big Write
Spelling Progression/Programme
What is the Workshop for Literacy?
• Not a resource! It’s an approach
placing literacy in meaningful
contexts using high quality real books.
• Reading aloud every day at all
• All literacy work taught through real
books – much less reliance on text
Core Principles
Pupil centred, inclusive – same text
done with whole class and differentiated
Daily opportunities to listen to, share,
read and create text
Daily opportunities to play/work with
sounds and words (written and aural)
Explicit meta-cognition – lots of
talking about what, how and
why they are learning.
Vocabulary / meaning
Processing Sounds
Visual processing
Shapes / Print
Daily opportunities to develop the three core pathways.
What does it look like? P1-3
• Listening
• Making links
• Range of questions
• Vocabulary developed
• Special words
• Classification
• Visual discrimination
• Visual perception
• Orientation
• Pencil grip
• Words in context
• Extended text
Quality book linked to
the pupils’ interests
• Listening for sounds
• Identifying sounds
• Syllabication
• Blending
• Rhyme
• Alliteration
• Creating a strong foundation for phonics
Reading the book
• Dirty Dancing Clip
• Book Blessing
• Questions in advance
• Different activities each day
that develop the 3 pathways
Orthographic -practising
J, spotting j and J,
finding Js in other texts
Phonological making/finding words
that rhyme
Semantic – finding the
answering questions
How can you help at home ?
• Reading for
• Reading aloud to your child
every day
• Having fun with words - games
• Spot rhymes
• Spot environmental print
• Sing songs
• Clap syllables
• Don’t give up on picture books
too soon
• Encourage prediction
• Audio books
• Lots of praise
Workshop for Literacy
Primary 4-7
High Quality Texts
Favourite childhood book?
• Engaging
• Relevant
• Emotional content
• Rich vocabulary
• Inclusive – decent life lessons
Introducing the Book
• Hook in – book bag
• Read whole chapters without stopping – immersion in text
• Grammar, comprehension and Big Write stimulus through
• Whole class lessons differentiated as appropriate
• Lots of discussion – high levels of critical analysis
How you can help at home
Read for enjoyment –
literacy rich home
Share reading and opinions
Word games – scrabble,
boggle, hangman,
Have fun with words!
Reading Homework
• Child will still come home with group text e.g.
ORT book or novel
• Too easy? Not just the reading aloud.
• Listen to reading but ask lots of questions about
what has happened, what will happen next,
meanings of words, classification of words,
• Make it fun and relaxing.
The Big Write
Commercially produced – proven effective
Study the genre daily before attempting the
Focus on Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers
and Punctuation (VCOP)
“Steal” words
Works in conjunction with Workshop for
Stages of Writing
Orally telling a story
Making marks
Drawing a picture and talking about it
Draw a picture and write a few marks beside it
Draw a write a few relevant sounds e.g. they may draw
a dinosaur and write d
• Blend sounds together and spell some words
phonetically and use words from a visual word bank
• Orthographic spelling with punctuation
Writing should never be scribed – value everything your
child writes.
Spelling Stages
Preliminary spelling(mark making)
Semi-Phonetic- initial sounds and
consonant blends eg. bl, -sk
Phonetic – vowel sounds, soft and hard g,
Silent letters, double consonants,
Transitional- plural rules, suffixes, prefixes
Independent- combining rules, phonics
and etymology
In School
Research has found that children learn to spell better, quicker and more
easily if they are given short but fun activities on a regular basis. Tasks
that are interactive and can be undertaken collaboratively are more
effective than worksheets or memorisation and will lead to pupils
becoming more independent and focused learners.
• Sound is taught
• Sound is reinforced through a carousel of activities
that support the 3 pathways – phonological,
orthographic and semantic.
• Homework is sent home with a variety of activities that
address the 3 pathways
• Children are tested weekly
Building Blocks
• We are giving the children the bricks
so that they know how to build the
• We are not teaching them every
word but how families of words are
• Too easy?
Fly sky spy shy sigh sight fight flight right bright
side slide – teaching was i-e, igh and y.
Explain why the y is used at the end of a word
The different ways we can make the i sound
Teach them that words ending in the i sound are spelt
with a y and it can be extended to : comply, imply,supply
Once children know the i sound can be created in the
middle of a word with the igh grapheme, they can spell
Slight, tight, nightmare, highlight etc
When they know yet another way is to create the i sound
with the magic e, admire, desire, require, advise etc.
Children will have a list of spelling words
They should write them out using look, say, cover, write and check
They will then have to do one activity that develops one of the pathways
– orthographic, phonological
or semantic. Over the weeks they will do a variety of activities that will
develop all the pathways
They will be tested weekly
Please do the activity set
Please have fun with the words
Don’t say these are far too easy as that devalues the learning
Encourage children to have a go at all words using the knowledge they
are gradually building up eg. how can you make the i sound.
Educational rationale for homework
20 minutes a night
Read, read, read
Talk to them
Do different types of activities
Play thinking games
Give them free time
Let them get bored
Encourage independence
Read some more