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Creative approaches to writing at Shinewater

Reluctant writers from years 1 to 6 worked intensively with a dramatist and storyteller to explore creative, story, and game-based approaches to writing. Levelled writing assessments before and after the intervention confirmed that the majority of children had made one or two levels of progress.

Who was involved

  • Children and teachers from years 2 to 6 at Shinewater Primary School, East Sussex
  • Creative practitioners: Toni Brown (Drama specialist) and Kevin Graal (Storyteller)

Enquiry

How can storytelling and drama motivate reluctant learners to improve their writing skills?

Objectives

To use drama and storytelling taught alongside and as part of the curriculum to improve the writing skills of a targeted group of children with a specific focus on:

  • To motivate pupils write
  • To increase the depth of vocabulary that the children possess
  • To expand the range of language in their everyday speech
  • To utilise their expanded vocabulary to impact on and improve their writing skills.

Outcomes

Underachieving children from years 2 to 6 were able to make significant and in many cases rapid improvements in their writing skills. Participating teachers confirmed that all the pupils developed more positive attitudes to writing and school in general.

Feedback from parents was extremely positive and there was also evidence of improved attendance at school whilst the project was running. Perhaps most significantly, all the children involved in the project improved their performance in writing by one or two sublevels in less than one term.

The partnership has also embedded new approaches and skills in the school. The teachers involved gained a wide range of new skills in delivering the curriculum through drama and storytelling. One legacy is a bank of fully developed ‘creative lesson’ plans, and a new range of high quality and multi cultural literacy resources for teachers to use in the future.

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Before I could only write two lines but now I’ve written a whole page…

Year 2 pupil

The Creative partnerships programme has had such an effect on the children’s creativity and confidence – it has grown so much. And this is right the way through the school.

Head teacher