Interactive Writing

By: Takara Brownridge

What is Interactive Writing?

Interactive writing is an instructional method in which the students and the teacher work together to construct text and discuss the writing process at the same time.

How is this interactive?

The writing becomes interactive when the students collaborate with their group mates and classmates to compose the text that was discussed with the teacher. The shared pen technique is the interactive piece of the writing. The students and the teacher together will write sentences, paragraphs, or messages. The teacher will begin and then they will choose a student to add to the sentence during a time when the instruction would be most valuable.
Big image

Essential Parts Of Interactive Writing

  • Experience: The piece that is to be written is one that reflects an experience that the students have had in the classroom.
  • Pre-Write: The teachers and the students together figure out the context of the writing.
  • Compose: The teacher and the student begin discussing specific content that will go into the writing. With the teacher asking questions to make sure that the sentences they are wanting to write are appropriate.
  • Share Pen: The teacher begins the sentence or the interactive writing piece and then the students take turns adding on to what has been written before.
  • Review: Once the message is complete the teacher will go over what has been written to reinforce the rules of writing.
  • Extend: The piece that has been write is still used to look back on for this students. The piece can be hung up for students to see and analyze again and again.
Big image

Is it useful?

Interactive writing can be a very useful technique in the classroom. It can help students to develop their writing skills and become more familiar with the writing process as well. Being able to use the previous writings to look at for a reference makes this strategy useful in the classroom. Also because it is backed by research, this method of teaching writing is one that should be given a shot in the classroom.

Seven Points of Preperation

1. Teach Routines First: It is important to take time to teach students the routines and procedures to make the interactive writing process go smoother. By teaching students the routines, it can eliminate distractions and other things that may get in the way of the activity.

2. Consider Carefully the Time of Day to Deliver the Lesson: Doing interactive writing at the appropriate time is important. This technique for teaching writing takes a lot of focus from the students to complete. So there needs to be no distractions. Examples given from the text: in the morning, after recess, and after lunch.

3. Create a Comfortable Space Near Writing Resources: Making sure that the students are near the teacher and the teacher is near the students helps to make a better connection when they students begin writing.

4. Use Highly Visible Materials: Using too many colors or paper without lines can be a distraction for students. It is best to use a bold black marker and lined paper for the students to be able to see.

5. Prepare to Make Thoughtful Teaching Decisions: Interactive writing will only be effective if the lesson is planned and well thought out. The teacher must first make sure they know where their students need extra support to be able to implement this technique correctly.

6. Keep all Students Engaged: These lessons must be fast, brief, and effective. In order to keep th students interest throughout the lesson. The teacher must make sure that the students who are not writing are engaged as well. Examples include writing in the air or practicing on dry erase boards as well.

7. Be Patient with Yourself: This is going to take time to get right. The first writing make take up to a few weeks to complete. Once a routine is established then the process may go easier that the beginning.

Four Key Shifts

  1. Lesson Flow: Fluid and Dynamic: When the students are younger only one sentence is written because they are not as fluid in their writing. Once the students become more familiar with the writing and the writing process, there will be more flow between the share pen portion.
  2. Share the Pen: Modifications in Pace, Discussion, and Medium: In pre-kindergarten through first grade the teacher and the student share the pen. By second grade the students may be writing several words or phrases. 3-5 the students can talk about conventions before the begin writing their sentences.
  3. Lesson Frequency and Duration: Less and More: During the beginning of implementing this strategy, youngers students need to practice everyday whereas orders students do not need to do this daily. First grade classrooms average lesson should be 10-15 minutes long but as their attention spans grow, students are able to absorb more information in grade 2-5 and lessons should go up to about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Teaching Points: Expand and Extend Around Genre: Make sure that the topic is engaging and interesting to the students.
Interactive Writing


This video shows students writing a letter using the interactive writing technique.


1. How can we make sure that students stay engaged in the lessons?

2. Do you think this can really work for older students?

3. How would you implement this strategy into the classroom?

4. How could this be presented to the school administration?

5. Have you seen this done before? Was it effective?

APA Citation

1. Roth, K., & Dabrowski, J. (2014). Extending Interactive Writing into Grades 2-5. The Reading Teacher, 68(1), 33-44.

Big image