Talk for Writing in Early Years

The Rethinking Literacy conference in Singapore was an opportunity for me to explore how we use technology to bring voice to children’s writing. As early years educators we bring with us experiences based on theorists and pedagogy. Technology is a ‘new’ disruption to what has worked so well in the early years field for centuries. In the early years sector we have been hesitant to engage in too much technology for fear of it overtaking the great practise which we already immerse children in. We (early years educators) have spent hundreds of years trying to justify to Primary and Secondary sectors that what we do with play based teaching is valuable and just as important as the work they do.

At this conference, I spoke at a workshop on using technology to enhance ‘talk for writing’ (screen shots of my slides can be found below). I took educators through a journey of giving children a voice for storytelling, I love this quote from Barbara Hardy;

We dream in narrative, remember, anticipate, hope, despair, believe, doubt, plan, gossip, learn, hate and love in narrative” (Barbara Hardy, 1978)

Everyone has a desire and passion to tell a story, but often our young learners have trouble moving that story from their minds to paper. Audio and visual play such a powerful role in bringing these stories to life.

Two people who are worth looking at that inspire talk for writing in young children are:

51XYESU05cLAngela Stockman – She has been inspirational in getting children and teachers to make writing. Over the past 8 years her writing spaces have morphed into maker spaces, where writing is as prominent as the making.


51lNLJxOKVL._AC_UL320_SR224,320_Pie Corbett – Pie Corbett is an English educational trainer, writer, author and poet who has written well over two hundred books. He is now best known for creating the Talk for Writing approach to learning, which is widely used within UK primary schools.

Some of my favourite go to tools for audio and visual are listed throughout the slides:

One point i try to tell all early years educators is, we don’t always need a glossy finished digital product. Putting digital tools into their hands and allowing them to explore and use them to bring their voice and stories is often enough. Technology is such a great tool that can bring awe and wonder and sometimes, just sometimes, that’s enough to have your story heard!