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Image is important

Over the years I have built up a collection of postcards for writing. Soppy seaside sunsets don't work well - but postcards of paintings by Dali or Magritte, or photographs, provide an endless source of material. We have used the cards for narrative as well as descriptive writing and poetry.

One ideal use for the whiteboard is to display a bank of photos, paintings or film clips for teaching writing and reading.

For instance, show a short clip of two characters. The children search for clues to deduce how the characters feel, noticing what they say and do.

Follow this by reading a passage of dialogue and seek the same sort of evidence.

Alternatively, you can turn down the volume and ask pupils to invent the dialogue. Ask them to translate the dialogue into writing and see how they have to add in extra detail so that the reader can picture who is speaking and what is happening.

Treat films like the daily class reader. Michael Morpurgo's When the Whales Came or Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle, for example, can be used to lead into drama, interpretation and comparison with the novel, or as a stimulus for writing

Pie Corbett is a literacy consultant

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