Exploring Writing By Sharing A Pen

Using Interactive Writing in a Second Grade Classroom

Why Interactive Writing?

  • The topic of interactive writing was explored as a part of an action research project in response to a graduate school requirement for East Carolina University. I became interested in trying out this instructional writing technique due to lack of student motivation to write in my classroom.
  • This study was completed in my 2nd grade classroom in North Carolina. My class was used as the intervention group whereas another second grade class at my school was used as the comparison group.
  • The purpose of this study was to explore how interactive writing can impact student writing ability as well as their attitude towards writing.
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What is Interactive Writing?

  • Interactive writing was first explored by Andrea McCarrier, Gay Su Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas. They defined interactive writing as "A dynamic, collaborative literacy event in which children actively compose together."
  • During the interactive writing process, "...at points selected by the teacher for instructional value, individual children take over or 'share the pen' with the teacher." (McCarrier, Pinnell, & Fountas, 2000)

Intervention Details

  • As stated above, the intervention was conducted in a second grade classroom, of mixed abilities. Eighteen students were in the comparison class while fourteen students were in the control class.
  • The intervention was performed four days a week over a span of six weeks. Each Monday and Tuesday, students participated in an interactive writing lesson that involved an opinion writing piece. Some weeks we read aloud books and formed an opinion based off of the text we had read. Other weeks we wrote our opinion on a certain topic.
  • On Thursday and Friday of each week, our class worked together to write a newsletter. This newsletter contained what the students were learning that week, as well as, anything exciting that may have happened at school. The intervention schedule is pictured below.

January 20-21-First Parent Letter

January 25-27-Read Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennet

Opinion Prompt: “Should the boy keep Norman as a pet? Why or why not?

January 28-29-Second Parent Letter

February 1-2-Opinion Prompt: “What is our favorite season?

February 3-4-Third Parent Newsletter

February 8-9-Read Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! By Mo Willems

Opinion Prompt: Should the pigeon drive the bus? Why or why not?

February 10-11-Fourth Parent Newsletter

February 15-16-Opinion Prompt: What is our favorite kind of pizza?

February 17-18-Fifth Parent Newsletter

February 22-24-Read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

Opinion Prompt: Is the Wolf innocent? Why or why not?

February 24-26-Sixth Parent Newsletter

February 29- March 1-Opinion Prompt: What is our favorite pet?


Below are great resources that include example lesson plans and ideas of books that can be used during an interactive writing lesson. The video is also a great example of how interactive writing is done in a classroom!
Interactive Writing

Results From Action Research Study

  • During this study, three data measures were taken: 1) Writing attitude survey 2) Written expression and 3) Researcher Log
  • The writing attitude survey measured students feelings toward different types of writing. Written expression measured number of words written, number of words spelled correctly and number of writing sequences.
  • After comparing the results from the pretests and posttests, the data shows that there was no significant gains of student writing ability or motivation after completing the intervention.
  • Although there were no gains according to the quantitative data, the researcher log showed that students enjoyed being able to come up and write in front of their peers while being involved in the writing lesson. Each lesson consisted of meaningful conversation between the students and myself.

About Me

My name is Taylor Davenport and I am a 2nd grade teacher at Penderlea School in Pender County. I graduated from East Carolina University in May of 2013 with my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, along with a middle grades license for social studies. I completed my AIG add-on licensure in July 2014. When I am not teaching or writing papers, I enjoy spending time with my future husband, Alex, and our amazing beagle Cooper!

Please feel free to contact me about my study!