Authors as Writers

Our Intent

We aim to inspire our children to be authors and enjoy the writing process. We aim to give them the skills and knowledge they need to write accurately and confidently so that they are well prepared for using their writing skills in life.  

Our Approach

Using high quality texts, often drawn from the excellent CLPE ‘Power of Reading’ book list, we develop specific reading and writing skills over a several weeks as the children immerse themselves in the language and structure of the book.  Short films may also be used to inspire writing; Literacy Shed is a particularly rich resource of inspirational (often prize-winning) animations.  

Children read excellent examples of a particular genre of text before beginning to write themselves.  Pupils should know at the beginning of a unit what type of text they will write for an audience at the end of the unit and develop their knowledge and skills for that goal.  The writing will often have a real-life purpose, for example, writing a persuasive letter to the Mayor to express an opinion on the Bristol airport expansion.

Wherever possible, useful links are made with other areas of the curriculum but some aspects of English are taught discreetly.  Teachers expect skills and knowledge learnt as Authors to be applied across the curriculum.


A consistently high standard of handwriting is promoted across the whole school as successful teaching of handwriting empowers children to write with a fluent and legible style.  Sea Mills follows the progression, resources and teaching guidance produced by Nelson Handwriting.  Our approach aims for children to write using a semi-cursive handwriting style.

Handwriting & mark-making is taught regularly through short, focused and discrete sessions and may be linked with spelling, grammar, phonic objectives or fine and gross motors skills.  Teaching of handwriting occurs outside of Author lessons although high quality handwriting is modelled at all times by adults.

Useful links

Handwriting Progression through the Years

Spelling, Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation

Spelling is taught on a weekly basis when children (years 2-6) are introduced to a focus spelling rule or pattern. A set of words based around this spelling rule are given to the children and practised and then tested. It is expected that children not only learn how to spell these words but also use them correctly within their writing. Children will learn to spell words that follow a pattern or rule as well as those that are identified as being common exception words (words in which the English spelling code works in an unusual or uncommon way).

Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation is taught mainly within the teaching of English lessons in order to make clear the purpose and relevance of a specific word, piece of punctuation or grammatical term. These elements will be explored through identifying them in texts and by practising them before applying them in their own writing.

Progression of Grammar and Punctuation in Primary Schools

Spelling progression through the school

VGP progression through the school

To find out what each class is learning about as Authors, please see their specific class page or class newsletter.

How you can help at home:

  • Primarily and most importantly read with your child. If you do nothing else do this; every day if at all possible.  Research again and again has proved this is very, very important in a child’s literacy development. 

Early readers should be read to and when they are able to read listened to daily.  Once they can read, children should still be read to and listened to daily as long as they are still keen (which is probably secondary school if you have kept it up with the right books and interest).  Try reading some pages and then listening to your child read a page.  Don’t swamp the session with too many questions, just enjoy the book!  If you want any advice on getting the home reading habit going, class teachers or a member of the reading team (Mr Kinnear, Mrs Thomas & Mrs Goodgame) would be delighted to help!

  • Practise spellings

Spellings for the term for your child’s class are available on the class page of the website.  These are taken from the National Curriculum. There are some useful suggestions for how to practise here:

  • If you have done the above two (most important) suggestions and your child still wants more then encourage them to write for a real and purposeful reason e.g. thank you cards, emails to a friend, a letter to a relative, shopping lists, etc.

Useful links

Support in understanding and applying skills in writing

Take a look at our Sea Mills Primary Authors as writers…

As a Shakespeare Hub School we have worked with local arts organisations and engage our pupils with ambitious texts in way that is fun and meaningful.

Sea Mills Villanelle
John Hegley a famous performance poet, comedian  and musician visited Sea Mills in December and worked with our children to improve their poetry skills. 
Whilst here he began writing a villanelle poem (a 19 line poem) about our wonderful children which he has now turned into a song. 
He has recorded his brilliant poem/song with a Bristol band and sent us the audio. Have a listen and a sing along to ‘Sea Mills Villainelles’.
A Sea Mills Villanelle with extra portions
by John Hegley
With two classes of children, in Sea Mills
With paintings, pencils paper and some Pritt
And with our basic education skills
Malaika and I came down from the hills
And happily, our faces seemed to fit,
That Wednesday, in December, in Sea Mills.
Along with poetry – some other frills:
Drawing, songs and drawing upon wit
And Clare there, with her observation skills
(and a bit of folk guitar).
For a fan of local football thrills
We incorporated Bristol City
With an Edvard Munch and scissors, at Sea Mills.
We opened up the doors to Psyche’s inner ills.
Malaika played a winner – eyes were lit,
with everyone assembled – it more than paid the bills.
It has been said that poetry distils.
It boiled down to us all doing our bit:
Our team, the gleaming children of Sea Mills
And teachers with their burning and discerning and their entertaining skills
And Clare there with a bit of folk guitar.