What is Talk for Writing?

Talk for writing has been around for a number of years, but became more known from .  The creator Pie Corbett created a unique "storytelling approach" for children to remember stories with. This method was then taken up by the National Strategies 'Talk for writing' programme, after he presented it to The National Strategies (UK) organisation in 2008.  The National Strategies Organisation promoted a design that was based on the following approach.

The basis for the approach was set out in the joint UKLA/PNS publication, Raising boys’ achievements in writing (2004). Based on the work of Bearne (2002), the research recommended a structured sequence to planning where the children and teachers began by familiarising themselves with a text type, capturing ideas for their own writing followed by scaffolded writing experiences, resulting in independent written outcomes.

The Stages of Talk for Writing (Pie Corbett)

Talk for Writing has three key phases which work together to develop knowledge, confidence and independence in writing:

Imitation and Immersion

We usually like to start our Talk for Writing units with a ‘wow’ starter which fires up the creativity and imagination of the children before they immerse themselves in the model text. During this phase the children learn a model text using actions and story maps. The key to success for the children is that they internalise the text type through repetition and rehearsal. They explore the structure of the narrative and investigate the different characters, settings and events. They also begin to look closely at the language used and the effect this has on the reader. We call this process ‘read as a writer’. The classroom becomes a dynamic, interactive resource filled with word ideas, sentence types and language tools collected by the children to use in their stories later.


During this phase the teacher and the children begin to change aspects of the model text using their own ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and new ideas for descriptive language whilst sticking closely to the underlying structure. It is during this phase that the children work using their toolkits. The toolkits, based on the features and ingredients of the model text, remind children of the different strategies they could use in their stories and helps them to see the progress they are making.


During the invent week the children plan and write their own story based on the text type they have been learning. They experiment with the ideas and begin to explore their own style of writing using sentence types from the model text.


Imitation – learning and remembering a text

The Official Talk for Writing website has much more detail about the organisations approach and lots of free resources.  

Find out more

Talk for Writing Research
There are two pieces of research that review talk for writing.
Talk for Writing Resources
There are a number of reseources taht further explain the process of talking for writing and the version refined by author Pie Corbett