Talk for Writing

Oakwood Primary Academy implemented the Talk for Writing approach to teaching English from September 2023.  Below are more details about what this approach entails and why we adopted it. 

Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. Through fun activities that help them rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style. Schools that have adopted the approach have not only increased their children’s progress but have found that both children and teachers love it.

Talk for Writing is powerful because it enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version.  It build on three stages of teaching:

1) Imitation - the children learn a text and the language they need

2) Innovation - the children adapt the model text with ideas of their own

3) Invention - the children create their own text using the language and skills that the model taught them.

The Talk for Writing approach was develop by Pie Corbett, an educational writer and poet.  He is well known for promoting creativity in the classroom and has experience as a teacher, head teacher and OFSTED inspector.  He regularly lectures on education around the world and the UK government consult with him as an educational advisor. 

The video below is of Pie Corbett explaining more about Talk for Writing.

Pen Licence

What is a Pen Licence?

Children can work towards earning a Pen Licence when they can write in a fluent and cursive joined handwriting style. The Pen Licence is awarded by the Head of School or Assistant Head of School in a celebration assembly.

Children must be able to:
  • Join correctly using the cursive style taught.
  • Keep letters a consistent size.
  • Ensure that all ascenders and descenders are correct.
  • Remember to join handwriting consistently over a period of time and not just in one piece of work.
Please see the Handwriting Expectations from the National Curriculum in the documents below for further information and guidance. If you have any questions about handwriting please don’t hesitate to talk with your child’s class teacher.


At Oakwood we have introduced a cursive style to teach handwriting which helps to develop a fluent style of handwriting.

The National Curriculum 2014 for English states that:

“Joined handwriting should be the norm; pupils should be able to use it fast enough to keep pace with what they want to say.”