Interactive writing is a writing process that can be used to help younger children as they learn how to write. It involves activities focusing on sharing a pen between the teacher and students. This model aims to teach children about the physical act of writing by allowing them to copy the teacher’s demonstration directly. Because of this, it is a useful classroom tool for teaching letter formation, cursive writing, and other writing skills that require a good understanding of the shape and direction of writing. It can also be used for guided writing activities on spelling and vocabulary.
Interactive writing can be done in a one-on-one private lesson or with a small group of students. By following the teacher’s guidelines, children can advance far quicker than if they were writing independently. Interactive writing is suitable for early years and early primary children, and it can even be used to improve the spelling of older primary children for more advanced vocabulary lessons.
Examples of interactive writing
Interactive writing could be easily integrated into the teaching day. For example, a teacher could write on the board, ‘the day today is…’ and then ask someone from the class to volunteer to complete the sentence. In addition, it will give the pupil a chance to practice their spelling and writing skills while following the guidelines set by the teacher.
A teacher could ask older children to write a word with four syllables and then underline the individual syllables. First, the teacher would write an example word, like ‘caterpillar.’ The children who volunteer would be encouraged by this task to think about the sounds and building blocks of words, which can make them feel more confident about spelling.
Here are a few more areas where interactive writing could be used in the classroom:
- Alphabet and forming letters
- Upper and lowercase letters
- Capitalizing words
- Compound words
- Commas in dates, a series, and addresses
- Writing the date
What are the interactive writing steps?
Interactive writing is a handy tool in the classroom, though it requires planning to base a lesson around. Here is a quick guide to planning your interactive writing lesson.
The first interactive writing step ensures you have the space, materials, and time needed to complete the lesson.
If you have a whiteboard, make sure it is visible to everyone in the class. To make the lesson feel more special, you could make a large space on the floor for the children to sit and place an easel with large writing paper at the front.
Have a good quality marker, especially one that will fit comfortably in smaller hands. Give your lesson fifteen to twenty minutes. This way, you can ensure that everyone who wants to participate has a chance. This time is also ideal for ensuring that children don’t get distracted.
Planning out your lesson is the next key step. Think about what you want your class to get out of the activity. An important element within interactive writing is having the children guide the lesson. They will be doing more of the writing than you. Keep this in mind when deciding on a topic.
For an example of adjectives, you could base a lesson around a shared experience like a school trip. Then, have the class write about the experience together while using at least five adjectives.
Now, you’re ready to teach! At the beginning of the lesson, explain to the class what they will be focusing on. This way, they will have that goal in the back of their mind as they write.
Here are a few great resources you could use alongside interactive writing to improve children’s spelling and vocabulary.
- These spelling mnemonics make for a great classroom display
- This spelling word mat list has a great range of words and letter combinations to focus on for middle primary children
- These spelling and grammar word mats can be used before or after an interactive writing task