Pub. Date:
Stenhouse Publishers
Interactive Writing Across Grades: A Small Practice with Big Results

Interactive Writing Across Grades: A Small Practice with Big Results

by Kate Roth, Joan Dabrowski


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Interactive writing is a dynamic, unscripted instructional method in which the teacher and students work together to construct a meaningful text while simultaneously discussing the details of the writing process. Together they plan, compose, and review text in a variety of genres. The “interactive” piece involves group collaboration in planning and composing the writing through guided conversation and a unique “sharing the pen” technique where students do the actual writing. 
Interactive writing harnesses the natural interactions teachers have with their students as they compose a writing piece. It allows for real-time differentiation and tailored scaffolding. Interactive writing fits within any writing curriculum and can be adapted to your classroom’s technology levels. 
Interactive Writing Across Grades: A Small Practice with Big Results, Pre-K–5 is your how-to guide, unpacking this powerful method step by step—and grade by grade. The authors help you figure out where and how interactive writing fits within your literacy framework, regardless of the grade you teach. In these pages, you’ll find the following:
  • An overview of the interactive writing method and how it fits into your balanced literacy program
  • Concrete ways to launch interactive writing in your classroom to support both process and craft instruction
  • Step-by-step guidance to implement the method with students of all ages
  • Real classroom writing from every grade that shows what to expect at each phase of the process
  • “Listen in on a Lesson” vignettes that demonstrate the type of scaffolding you can offer during interactive writing lessons
Discover what makes interactive writing a particularly effective teaching practice that can support both emergent and fluent writers. Interactive Writing Across Grades can help you put this method to work in your classroom immediately.
Grades PreK-5

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625311153
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
Publication date: 02/12/2016
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 186
Sales rank: 422,198
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 4 - 10 Years

About the Author

The story of the book Interactive Writing Across the Grades: A Small Practice with Big Results, PreK-5 begins over twenty years ago when Kate was a new teacher. She was trying different methods of instruction to help her first graders learn to read and write. At that time, Irene Fountas was the literacy coordinator in her school. She was advocating that teachers incorporate a relatively new method called interactive writing. Together Irene and Kate taught interactive writing lessons in Kate’s classroom, and Kate was hooked from the beginning. “I loved the energy of the lessons, the way I was pulling together my entire literacy curriculum in every interactive writing session, the opportunity to reach so many students at different levels while creating a community of writers, and the rich and authentic products we created.”

Throughout the next several years, Kate implemented interactive writing on a daily basis with her primary grade students in both urban and suburban classrooms. It became one of the core teaching practices in her class. During this time she also trained as a Reading Recovery teacher. “The more I learned about students’ literacy development and how assessment informs good instruction, the more I was convinced of the power of this practice to help improve students’ independent writing.”

When Kate pursued her Doctorate in Language and Literacy at Harvard University, her research focused on interactive writing in the primary grades. She was thrilled, although not surprised, that her research findings confirmed her classroom experience: interactive writing is a powerful method for improving children’s independent writing.

These results fueled Kate’s decision to refine and expand her understanding of interactive writing through additional action-research and coaching both in the United States and China, where she lived for over five years with her family. During this time she wrote articles for professional journals, presented on interactive writing at conferences, and published twenty books for children on how to write as part of the Language Arts Explorer Junior series. Her passion, however, was and continues to be supporting teachers in all elementary grades as they take on this practice in their own classrooms.

Kate now lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.

Joan’s 25-year career in education has afforded her the opportunity to spend time in many interesting places and to work with countless thoughtful colleagues. Currently, she is the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in Wellesley, MA. Prior to this, she held a wide range of positions including: K-12 teacher, literacy coach, adjunct professor, national consultant, curriculum writer, and district administrator. She has taught, consulted, or conducted research in schools and districts across the country including Baltimore, Boston, Cambridge, Detroit, Hawaii, Houston, Louisville and Montgomery County. She spent ten years as a classroom teacher (grades K-2 and 4-5) before becoming a school-based literacy coach. She went on to be a district coach and the Director of Literacy in the Boston Public Schools. In each of these roles, Joan has embraced the chance to collaborate with others who share her commitment to positively impact the lives of children through literacy.

Joan’s interest in writing instruction – specifically interactive writing – initially stems from her own struggles as a grade 4-5 classroom teacher. During writers’ workshop, she did what she knew: modeled her own writing, scribed for her students, and read-aloud many mentor texts written by award-winning authors. She also dabbled in the six traits and frequently analyzed her students’ writing seeking answers for where to go next. While much of this helped her students, she sensed they needed more explicit guidance. This feeling grew as she visited many classrooms as a district coach and then a national consultant. She also recognized a common challenge: writing instruction was not given the time nor the attention it needed. Moreover, the teachers she met were looking for ways to develop their student writers and were eager for concrete guidance on how to do so efficiently and effectively. When her co-author, Kate Roth, approached her to write about interactive writing, it was an easy sell!

Since 2007, Joan has been a national literacy consultant, presenter and curriculum writer.  Her literacy and leadership consulting work has focused mainly in urban school districts where low-income students and students of color may struggle to meet the ever-demanding reading and writing standards. She also serves as a literacy advisor to The Education Trust, a nonprofit organization that advocates for high academic achievement for all students. With Ed Trust, she co-authored, Checking In: Do Classroom Assignments Reflect Today’s Higher Standards?, a national report that summarized an analysis of over 1800 middle school literacy assignments in English language arts, history and science.  Joan is most passionate about supporting school-based efforts to improve and refine literacy practices through a wide range of adult learning experiences.

Joan began her career in Teach for America and earned a master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  She went on to earn her Doctorate of Education in K-12 School Leadership at Vanderbilt University, Peabody College. She is lives in Massachusetts with her husband (a long time school principal) and their two teenaged children.

Table of Contents

About the Authors vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction Interactive Writing: A Small Practice with Big Results xi

Section 1 An Overview of Interactive Writing

Chapter 1 A First Look at interactive writing 3

Chapter 2 Understanding Interactive Writing 15

Section 2 Working Through Each Part of an Interactive Writing Lesson

Chapter 3 Experience 29

Chapter 4 Prewrite 43

Chapter 5 Compose 58

Chapter 6 Share the Pen 79

Chapter 7 Review 111

Chapter 8 Extend 118

Section 3 Getting Started with Interactive Writing

Chapter 9 Eight Points for Preparation 145

Chapter 10 Pulling it all Together 163

Conclusion 179

References 183

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