What is The Write Book approach to writing?
The Write Book was a project for Year 5 teachers run by Book Trust and funded by the Arts Council from 2013-2015. It supported teachers in four primary schools to run whole-of-year-5 writing projects inspired by classic or popular children's books, enabling pupils to respond creatively to high quality children's fiction and nonfiction texts. The schools chose 'The Write Book' for their school: one that they thought would inspire children to enjoy writing.
The aims of The Write Book were:
- Increasing teachers' confidence in teaching creative writing
- Increasing teachers' knowledge of children's books
- Raising pupils' attainment in writing at Year 5
- Increasing pupils' enjoyment of writing at Year 5
- Making cross-curricular links for writing
- Linking reading and writing
Book Trust supported teachers to create engaging writing projects based on the book of their choice. This involved coming together at a number of Teacher Inspiration Days to share good practice and work with well-known children's writers to inspire ideas. Teachers then formulated a plan for the project, ran it in school and captured their successes and challenges in case studies. As a result of their projects over two academic years, many schools implemented long-term reading and writing strategies using books as a focus for writing.
What does it do?
- Children enjoyed writing more, and wrote better, when they were inspired by a high quality book they loved
- Book choice was key in encouraging children's creative response
- Children loved having more time to read and write at school
- Children enjoyed writing when it was taken beyond the classroom or involved an intriguing event
- Teachers valued the opportunity to talk to knowledgeable experts about new releases and contemporary children's books
- Using high quality books to inspire and emulate writing encouraged children to think of themselves as writers
- Using 'books as hooks' encouraged creative learning and helped embed reading and writing for pleasure deep into the curriculum
- Using books as inspiration for writing worked well with lower achievers and reluctant writers
What difference does it make?
In the four pilot primary schools that we worked with between 2013 and 2015:
- Reported that they thought their creative writing had improved since they did the project (88 per cent in year one and 87 per cent in year two)
- Said that they liked creative writing more as a result of the project (79 per cent in year one and 78 per cent in year two)
- Enjoyed having time to read a whole book as a class and time to write, with notable improvements noted in their writing as a result
- Improved the technical elements of their writing such as vocabulary, descriptive writing skills and sentence structure
- Developed more interest in and enthusiasm for books and writing
- Wrote voluntarily at home and in free time at school, often where they had never done so before
- Made significant and sustained changes to teaching practice
- Created projects designed to fascinate children with books and writing
- Increased their knowledge of new and contemporary high quality children's books
- Began to consider implementing long-term legacies for writing within the project and other writing work at school
- Became more confident in teaching creative writing
- Adopted a 'books as hooks' approach to teaching after the projects - putting a high quality text at the centre of each unit, either just in Year 5 or across the whole school
- Engaged families with reading and writing and developed other home-school links
- Made new dedicated writing areas in the school
- Created themed reading areas in classrooms and libraries