Benton Dene Schools

Benton Dene Schools


Writing is a magical medium. It’s a vehicle for communication, connection and creativity. At Benton Dene School we view writing is an integral part of every child’s education.


Handwriting Without Tears

Across school when our children find handwriting tricky we use an intervention called Handwriting without Tears.  We help children develop their writing skills through multisensory, play-based instruction. Children move, touch, feel and manipulate real objects as they learn essential skills for writing. 

We use music to speak to children and promote movement and memory.  Our multisensory lessons use voices, letter stories, air writing, tracing and letter games to teach letter formation and placement on lines

If you want to know about Handwriting Without Tears, take a look at our training slides.

Penpals for Writing

When our children develop fine motor control we move onto Penpals for Handwriting.

Penpals for Handwriting is a complete handwriting scheme for 3–11 year olds that offers clear progression through five developmental stages: physical preparation for handwriting; securing correct letter formation; beginning to join along, securing the joins and practicing speed, fluency and developing a personal style. Penpals is focused on whole-class teaching using digital resources to enable modelling and interactive learning, along with Practice Books and Workbooks to support independent work. The Foundation content is in line with the EYFS Framework/Pre Key Stage Standards and the Year 1–6 content supports frequent, discrete and direct teaching of handwriting for 5–11 year olds, as required by National Curriculum 2014. 


At Benton Dene School we use our own modified version of 'Talk4Writing' following Pie Corbett's Talk4writing principles.

Our aim is to explore the use of storytelling as a tool to help our children build a bank of narrative patterns they can use when creating their own stories.

Our 'Talk4Writing'involves

  • the learning of key vocabulary
  • the learning and repeating of oral stories
  • building children's confidence in storytelling
  • extending storytelling into writing

This results in new stories being prepared and rehearsed prior to writing.

Reading is at the heart of our English curriculum and therefor we offer a range of quality texts that cover various genres, authors, poetry and nonfiction to support developing writing across school.

If you want to know more about our adapted version of T4W click on the document below

Talk4Writing at BDS

Early sentence structure is dependent on having an understanding of key vocabulary.  In Benton Dene School we have developed and adapted the Narrative Programme to support sentence building progression using symbols.  This method is used in our T4W when children are working in our Early Years or Pre Key Stage Standards.

Here is a video to see sentence building in action.

An example of one of our story maps.
An example of one of our story maps.

Click image to enlarge.