Mighty Writer

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Intent - What we want for the use of Mighty Writer, as part of our English Curriculum?

When we initially saw the Mighty Writer resource at a conference, the use of this as a visual aid to writing really appealed to us. We know that early writers find holding a sentence difficult as well as understanding how to adapt sentences. We saw Mighty Writer as a visual tool to support this in Reception and KS1. We envisioned how useful this would be as a scaffolding tool to show the construction of a sentence and model how this can be adapted. We also saw potential for use of this in KS2, for writers who may need it.

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As a school who used story maps as a writing aid, Mighty Writer can be used as a storytelling scaffold/map which can be created alongside the children.

We launched the use of Mighty Writer at the beginning of the 2022/2023 academic year for storytelling across Reception and KS1. Adults across school became familiar with the resource and English Leads adapted our current English writing scheme in Reception to include the use of Mighty Writer and complement the existing curriculum.

Across the 2023/23 academic year, our intention is to combine the use of Mighty Writer (MW) as part of our Pathways writing units in KS1 and for the resource to be used across KS2 to support accelerated progress for our lower achieving writers.

Implementation - How is the Mighty Writer resource used?

Beginning Mighty Writer in Reception

In Reception, we have rolled out the use of the MW resource as a phrased approach across the Reception year. This is to ensure the amount of content is being fully taught, embedded, and then built upon as the year goes on. Details of the MW content that is introduced is organised into half terms and has been included as part of our EYFS curriculum. This is based on our school approach and what works for us following MW training.

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The MW resource is used initially as a storytelling tool, to encourage independent storytelling and use of vocabulary. Storytelling sessions take place daily with the MW resource and it is available every day on the carpet, as part of the basic provision in Reception. It is used as part of our English Pathways writing units where appropriate for storytelling during the autumn term. As the Spring term begins and children begin to complete 2/3 focused tasks a week in their writing books, the MW resource is planned into our English writing units much more explicitly. This is additional to the ongoing storytelling and vocabulary development.

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The resource gives the flexibility to change and adapt elements of storytelling instantly alongside supporting the engagement and growing independence of our developing writers.

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Mighty Writer and Continuous Provision

The MW mat is always left out on the carpet during Continuous Provision, so children always have access to the MW resource. Any additional MW resources that have been created for focused teaching sessions, such a sentence strip sheet, are left out during provision time to allow children to apply taught writing skills further.  As further elements of the MW mat are introduced and it is being embedded further into writing units, MW templates would be included as part of the basic provision.

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Any enhanced provision that would be added to the environment each week that is Literacy, Communication and Language focused, would include elements of the MW resource. For example, if the challenge was to ‘Write a simple sentence about a … ’, the sentence strips, pictures, sentence starters and blanks would be taken off the mat and used to form part of the challenge.

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The quality of storytelling during Continuous Provision is always observed to be in line with what is being taught currently during whole class shared reading. For example, if the sentence starters ‘once’ or ‘first’ were used as part of the story re-telling of the class text, children were observed using the language independently when creating their own stories. Children would continue to use this language when telling stories in the reading corner, and during role play.

Mighty Writer across school

The MW resource is being used daily in Reception and KS1 for story-telling, where led by the class teacher, children are creating and performing exciting stories. Mrs Davies leads a Mighty Writer story time every Thursday afternoon.

Once adults are confident with the use of MW and have practised creating stories and understand the different symbols and strips, it is very easy for all adults to use for group or individual work. As well as a storytelling aid which can improve oracy and vocabulary usage, we use MW as a sentence composition aid and to support structure of a writing piece. Adults can work with a group creating simple sentences using MW as a visual aid, which enables children to see how adaptable this is and consolidates their understanding of sentence composition. The MW tool enables children to hold the sentence, so you don’t get them saying ‘what’s next’ when writing - they know what’s next. As children become confident, their adaptations of the tool become more advanced and independent. We have found that in group/individual work, it works best when pre-planned. Adults need to be clear on the sentences they are creating, the images they will use and the structure of the final piece. Our school cohort has a percentage of children in year groups who have significant gaps in schooling. When using MW as a tool, we have seen instant progress and enjoyment, even for children higher up the school.

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Impact - How do we know Mighty Writer is an effective resource, as part of our English curriculum?

Vocabulary Development

Our 2022-23 class of Reception children thoroughly enjoyed the use of the MW resource and we found that there was an increased amount of independent storytelling during Continuous Provision time. As a result, there was a varied use of vocabulary being used around the classroom and children’s communication and language skills were much improved.

The MW resource is very inclusive and accessible for all children, whatever their primary level of need.  All children have gained language development from the MW resource in some form and it has had an impact on their overall development. Children spend longer amounts of time using the resource during Continuous Provision and enjoy sharing their stories with their friends during Plan Do Review time.

Writing progress in Reception

By the end of the Reception year, we found that the resource made significant impact on independent writing and the ability to construct, hold and write a sentence without any adult support.  The MW resource supported the children’s ability to create their own stories and the confidence to do it. We saw an increased amount of expected writers at the end of the EYFS, who were equipped with the writing tools to make a great transition into Year 1.

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Writing progress across school

In KS2 last year, MW was used in T6 for 3 boys working on a low KS1 writing level. One of the boys was a writing refuser. Initially, we did not know how they would respond to the resource - but they loved it! We planned an intervention plan that they followed for their English lesson and MW was the visual tool to support them with understanding sentence composition, help them with structuring their writing (boxing up) and give them opportunities to apply the phonics/spelling patterns that they were working on. Because MW is so flexible, the stimulus could be set at an age interest level. For example, we used videos from The Literacy Shed, Film clips, etc. Confidence was increased instantly and all boys joined in. By the end of the year, all boys met the expectations based on the Year 2 writing framework. Progress was exceptional. We are now using the fantastic ongoing support from MW to ensure that all adults across KS2 are confident in the delivery of MW.

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A specific Mighty Writer planning sheet was created to support sequenced and progressive writing planning for children in KS2, using the Mighty Writer resource.

Next steps

After a successful first year of using MW, we have evaluated its use as being very successful and a real positive addition to our English Curriculum. After trialing its use as part of our writing units in Reception, our next steps are to adapt our Year 1 units and allow this cohort of children to continue to use the MW resource. We would then hope for this cohort to move through school, having had the full impact of Mighty Writer. We want to include it as part of units across all of KS1.

In KS2 we are planning to embedded the use of MW in all classes, to support accelerated progress for our lowest 20% of writers.

If you have any further enquiries relating to the use of Mighty Writer as part of our Writing Curriculum, please email Mrs Davies on adavies@hornsmill.cheshire.sch.uk or Mrs Jobber on deputy@hornsmill.cheshire.sch.uk