Interactive Writing

Carly Bachman, Section B, September 10

What Is Interactive Writing?

Interactive writing is an instructional method where the teacher and the students work together to write a text. The text can be of any genre, as long as the whole class can collaborate while the writing is taking place.

What Does Interactive Writing Look Like?

There are 6 essential parts of an interactive writing lesson:

  1. Experience: The text that is being written must be a shared classroom experience. For example, you can write a review on a book that you read together as a class, or write about a field trip that you went on as a class.
  2. Prewrite: Students and teacher consider what form of text they want to write, and who their audience will be. The importance of the text must also be considered during this time.
  3. Compose: During this phase, the teacher works on supporting any ideas they hear from students and summarizing them. The teacher also works on think-alouds to show students why a sentence or word may or may not work.
  4. Share the Pen: This is when the actual writing takes place and student's thoughts are put into sentences on paper. The teacher writes some, but also calls on students to help write words or sentences on the paper. Editing can either take place during the writing, or when it's all finished.
  5. Review: Teacher has the students go over any specific principle that they focused on during their writing. For example, if the students were working on verbs, the teacher would have the students write down all of the verbs used in their writing.
  6. Extend: The writing continues to be used throughout instruction in the class. It can be hung up in the room or made into a book so students can refer to it if need be.

Interactive Writing

What This Looks Like In The Older Grades

  • Students write on the paper more themselves, instead of teacher doing majority
  • Conventions for each sentence are talked about before sharing the pen so that students have less errors
  • After each sentence is wrote, the teacher will ask students about the spelling and conventions
  • Students can start typing on a keyboard and have the text be shown through a smart board
  • Lesson durations are longer because students have longer attention spans in older grades

4 Universal Principles For All Grades

  1. Value each step in the lesson: during each 6 parts of the writing phase, make sure that students are receiving instructional practice and help. At each phase, students should be taking something away.
  2. Balance the planned and unplanned teaching opportunities: Teachers should look over what students need to be working on in their writing before the lesson and make sure those materials are hit during the lesson. However, there will always be unplanned moments when teaching, so it's important to remember to take these opportunities and teach over them as well.
  3. Make intentional teaching decisions as writers develop: The teacher selects the most appropriate writing skills and strategies for students based on where each one of them is in their writing process.
  4. Make explicit links between a whole-class lesson and students' own writing: The goal of interactive writing it to improve students' independent writing. This can be done by saying things like "you should do this is your own writing" when going over specific writing traits.


  1. How is interactive writing beneficial for students?
  2. How could you engage students who are performing above or below grade level?
  3. How would you choose what principles of writing to focus on during interactive writing?


I really enjoyed reading this article on interactive writing. Although I hadn't heard the term interactive writing, as soon as I started reading the article I realized that I have seen it take place in classrooms. I thought the article also did a good job of explaining the steps that teachers should take during interactive writing with their students. After reading the article, I feel more prepared to lead students in interactive writing.

This article went over how to continue interactive writing throughout the older grades, which was interesting to read on. I think that interactive writing in older grades has the opportunity to be just as effective as it would be for younger grades. In the older grades you have the opportunity to have the students make the interactive writing more their own since they want to their ideas to be heard more and more.

Interactive writing could be a big time consumption, but through the teacher monitoring the time, it is a very effective process. I definitely plan on using this strategy in my future classroom to focus on specific writing principles that I want students to be focused on. I think it's very engaging and has the opportunity to be a very fun lesson for all students!

Article Citation

Roth, Kate, and Joan Dabrowski. "Extending Interactive Writing Into Grades 2-5." The Reading Teacher 68.1 (2014). Print.