Talk for Writing Overview

“If you can’t say it, you can’t write it!” – Pie Corbett

What is Talk for Writing?

“Talk for Writing is an engaging teaching framework developed by Pie Corbett, supported by Julia Strong. It is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. It enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version.”


Talk for Writing is an approach to teaching writing that encompasses a three-stage pedagogy:

‘imitation’ (where pupils learn and internalise texts, to identify transferrable ideas and structures)

‘innovation’ (where pupils use these ideas and structures to co-construct new versions with their teachers)

‘invention’ (where teachers help pupils to create original texts independently). These tasks aim to improve writing ability by giving pupils an understanding of the structure and elements of written language.


As a teacher of Computing and Digital Literacy was; ‘can we incorporate this into our lessons.’

Of course we can.

First, we give students some text and they could use presentation software to gather pictures and construct a visual story (imitation).

Students could then re-arrange those pictures and change the story, making them new (innovation).

Students could use word processing software to create their own story (invention).

Here is an example.

Part 1 : Imitation of this story

Part 2 : Use presentation software to create a text map

The next steps would be to rearrange the text map and create a new piece of writing.

Creative writing is a hobby of mine; this has me so excited. I can’t wait to try it.

Edit: how about a story?

A Trip to the Sharjah Farm

One day there stood a beautiful farm.

“Look,” said the child. “It looks like the one in the Superman movie. Maybe this is where it all started.”

“Maybe,” said Dad. “But Superman has moved on with his life. Let’s have a look at the farm.”

They looked around the farm.

“I want to see big tractors with big wheels,” said the child.

“There they are,” said Dad. “Working their magic.”

“Wow,” said the child.

The child has a name. We can’t keep calling him ‘the child.’

“Wow,” said Clark.

“There’s also a train ride,” said Dad. “Would you like to go on it?”

They boarded the train. It was a fun ride.

However, Clark wishes it was more exciting.

“Do you know,” said the attendant, “there is a bullet train that passes by here every hour. Super-fast and super noisy.”

But Clark knows, it is not as fast as Superman. Nothing is faster than Superman.

“Look in the sky,” shouted Clark.

“Some nice birds?” asked Dad.


“A jet plane?” asked Dad.


“Superman?” asked Dad.


“Flying sheep and cows.”


“We’ve seen it all now. Let’s go back home. We have school tomorrow.”

“Fantastic,” said Clark. “Tomorrow, I’ll have an amazing story to write.”

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