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Interactive Writing

Originally developed in 1989 by Charlotte Huck

These days, one of the most important texts is Interactive Writing: How Language and LIteracy Come Together, K-2
Written by Andrea McCarrier, Gay Su Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas Heinemann, 1999

Young children are eager to write, but…

…sometimes their interpretations and expression of letters and words need guidance–we have to help them find ways to move beyond approximation.

  • Notice the details of written language
  • Understand that language conventions not only help them as writers but also help their readers to understand
  • Participate, with support, in the act of writing

How does it work?

  • Teacher is guide and (usually) scribe
  • Students are “apprentices”

The teacher and children negotiate the meaning and structure of the text as they compose a message together.

How do I use it?

Within a rich literary curriculum, children will have a variety of experiences with literacy.  Interactive writing is a key piece of these experiences because it…

  • Can be used for many different purposes
  • Can be used at any time of day and in any content area
  • Provides a context within which the teacher can offer explicit instruction in conceptualizing text, using language conventions, and learning how words work

What are the key features of interactive writing?

  1. Group children based on learning goals
  2. Write for authentic, real-life purposes
  3. Share the task of writing
  4. Use conversation to support the process
  5. Create a common text
  6. Use the conventions of written language
  7. Make letter-sound connections
  8. Connect reading and writing
  9. Teach explicitly

Interactive writing requires a base of active learning experiences

some knowledge is personal ( children bring experience from their lives); some knowledge is gained through shared experience in the classroom (a field trip, a parent visitor, a fire drill, a thank-you note, etc.); some knowledge is gained through shared exploration of children’s literature

Important: Active learning experiences are not “one-shot” deals, just so children will have something to write about. This kind of experience must be ongoing.



LLED 7320 Writing Pedagogy Blog

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