Interactive Writing Book Study Ch 1 & 2! Let’s look at the book Interactive Writing Across the Grades as part of our blog book study. See how to engage young writers through explicit writing instruction. You can view this professional read on Amazon by clicking HERE (affiliate link).
What is interactive writing?
Interactive writing is a method of teaching writing that was originally deployed in primary classrooms to support emergent writers. The authors of this book have written this brilliant book to certainly address this approach in the primary grades, but they have also introduced us to the power of interactive writing with upper elementary students. I love what they say in the introduction, “a small practice with big results.”
On page 3, the authors go on to say, “The ‘interactive piece’ involves group collaboration in planning and composing the writing through guided conversations and a unique ‘sharing the pen’ technique where students do the actual writing.”
Here are some of the components the book highlights:
- Students write about the experiences they all have shared in. It might be a book, a field trip, a subject of study (like science or social studies), or fun classroom activity.
- The teacher teaches about craft and conventions with every piece.
- The writing that is done is well structured from beginning to end.
- A variety of writing forms is produced.
- The teacher selects words that will improve meaning and strengthen vocabulary.
- Sentence variation is introduced so the complexity of the writing is developed.
- Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are conventional.
- Layout issues are reinforced: neat handwriting, concepts around print (spacing), editing and corrections occur immediately, and illustrations elevate the writing.
- The text is written at a level that is grade level appropriate.
Here is an example of the interactive writing we did in my classroom in response to the book The Snowy Day. This is part of our Guiding Readers units. These daily interactive writing opportunities are perfect since they center around a shared experience. In this case, our close reading!
I loved all the grade level examples that were shared on pages 6-13! I am always asking myself, “What does this look like in kindergarten?” The authors must know me well because the examples and analysis are so helpful!
Why we teach interactive writing?
The authors share their feelings on the importance of writing instruction in the introduction. WRITING IS IMPORTANT. Unfortunately, many schools and classrooms are not dedicating instructional time to explicit instruction. They continue on to say, “Interactive writing is an instructionally rich teaching practice linked to stronger independent writing. It is systematic (though not scripted!) and follows a predictable routine.”
The components of interactive writing.
Chapter 2 walks us through the various components of interactive writing. Page 16 has a fantastic table that is a quick reference.
Besides this table, the authors go into greater detail on each of these components:
- Share the pen
You can read more about these ideas on pages 17-18.
Interactive writing within a literacy framework
Interactive writing sits in between the gradual release of responsibility model.
Modeled Writing: Teacher does
Interactive Writing: Teacher and student do
Independent Writing: Students do.
The authors go on to say, “Although it yields big results in students’ independent writing, interactive writing is no meant to be the sole form of writing instruction. Ideally, it works best when nested between and among other modeled, shared and independent writing experience.” p. 23
You can read a post about Balanced Literacy by clicking HERE.
Next week, we will look at chapters 3-5! Please feel free to share your thoughts on chapters 1-2. If you have created a blog post with your reflections, I would love to read it, so feel free to add a link to your post in the comments. Talk to you next week!