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Speech and Language in the Classroom

The Blog

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Book review: Talk the Big Talk

'Big Writing: Talk the Big Talk' by Ros Wilson (2012)

A resource book for schools to support laying the foundations for the Big Writing initiative.

This book introduces the importance of developing talk for writing with this opening line,

“If a child can’t SAY it, a child can’t WRITE it’.

This book highlights throughout the important link between talking and literacy (writing), which as they explain, is being emphasised within recent government publications (National Curriculum).

It provides lots of clear advice and examples of how to model and extend children’s spoken sentences, in the lead up to and during learning to write.

I particularly like the Talk Homework suggestions for discussions around the dinner table.

There are some lovely ideas within the school case study at the back of the book, Conversation Lunches being one.

And an idea which made me smile… the conservation area that turned in to the conversation area! This happened in response to the children’s use of the outside area, as the school commented, “There is something about that outdoor experience that frees up children’s voices, voices not confined by four walls.” The children started calling it the conversation area! This reminds me of the ‘places to talk’ idea from Time to Talk (Gross, 2013, see our review here).

All in all, a fab resource for schools, that highlights the importance of supporting talk for writing.

Sarah Wall, Speech & Language Therapist