Tag Archives: PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing Strategy developed by Nina Davis

Week 6 of my 4&5 Year Olds first year of school: PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing – Why is this strategy so powerful?

What makes PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing a powerful strategy?

The key is students  working collaboratively, sharing their learning, prompting each other and using skills and language generally used by teachers. One comment I received recently described this as ‘lending our cognition’, and I really liked this description. All students are engaged in the activity, each student committed to contributing with the support of their peers if needed. Groups can be structured to support children, or to extend groups of children. The teacher is able to run a teacher led group concurrently, which I do regularly but not at this stage of the year. The children need to be confident and have experience with the process before I can withdraw.

Each child is identified by a  color which they select, and all are given the opportunity to lead a group. Teaching leadership skills concurrently is essential. The children are given poster sized sheets to write on and textas. The role of the group leader is to ensure their team record their name on the side, that all resources are ready (alphabet tool cards and writing spacers) and that each child contributes in name order.  I use PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing to assess and plan my weekly writing foci for individuals and the whole class. The color used identifies the writer.

It’s interesting to note that my student’s independent writing improves rapidly. I’m looking for the transfer of my teaching into my student’s Independent and Interactive Writing.  Modelled Writing and Shared Writing are also planned into a weekly program from week one. We get going quickly. Language Experience and Inquiry are my ‘holy grail’.  

By the middle of the year my students are able to identify their learning needs and will suggest the foci for writing sessions. That is powerful! Some children, and they are 5 or 6 years old, will teach the writing focus or make suggestions for me to use. Groups share their writing with the class, with little books made using their Interactive Writing texts used for reading. This strategy extends highly able students, develops students working at the standard expected and supports less able students. I believe it accelerates the writing ability of all students.

Please read my previous posts in this blog. I have written about this strategy many times and have provided numerous pictures and descriptions of my student’s writing development. I’d also recommend reading my posts on general Independent Writing development as I have provided many examples of student writing in these posts as well. I think once you’ve seen the development of my student’s writing you’ll be as excited as I am about this approach, and keen to develop this approach in your own classroom.  It’s called the PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing Approach to recognise my student’s committment and success. They have a passion for writing, and many in previous years have taken exercise books home for the holidays to keep a journal. Many of my parents tell me that their children write at home because they love it. Now that’s special! I can only hope that their enthusiasm continues as they grow.

The pictures provided are of this weeks use of this strategy. My students are in Week 6 of their first year of formal schooling, take out Wednesdays… and I’m amazed. They were able to ‘get going’ quickly, the chosen leaders knew their role,and the resources were out and used. The process is developing, but they’re giving ‘it a great go’. The conversations and ‘thinking aloud’ is happening, although ‘prompting’ takes time, but they are collaborating and being inclusive. This is a skill in itself!

 Our Language Experience sentence for this writing experience is: We eat lunch at school At this stage of the year each group constructs the same sentence. Before they start writing, I ensure that all groups can chant our sentence.


Cheers Nina

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PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing – 5 & 6 Year Olds in the initial weeks of their first year of formal education. Why students need to ‘think aloud’?

Think Aloud is a strategy that scaffolds students’ interactions with print. I’ve been using this strategy in literacy sessions – Interactive, Shared, Guided and Modelled. When modelling my journal, I’m making my thinking process very explicit. Articulating the strategies I’m using, resources that are helping me, and constantly articulating the ‘read back & check and change’ process.

This has definitely increased my students’ use of these strategies. During Student Led Interactive Writing, I roam for part of the session listening to conversations, and prompting when necessary. It’s wonderful to see these very young children sharing their thinking strategies aloud with their group. Today I noticed a number of children prompting not telling , and when this happens the learning truly becomes collaborative.

I model editing when I write, and I think by doing this I’m giving my beginning writers the message that it’s good practice to cross out, change and check. I’ve noticed this starting to happen. I’ve included a number of photos from today’s Interactive Writing learning experience.

Our Language Experience whole class negotiated sentence is: I went to the playground. At this stage of the year, all groups do the same sentence. There are excellent attempts at writing  ‘playground’. The children  had to draw upon everything they knew to attempt this word.

Cheers Nina


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Term 2- Week 1: PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing ( Week 9 of Formal Education in Australia)

I’ve been so busy with my Teacher Professional Leave project that I’ve neglected this space and this is the place I write about the work I do. Firstly, I’m committed to sharing a snapshot of writing development in my class weekly for those readers who have asked. I’m showcasing Student Led Interactive Writing again. Why? I’m even more convinced that this is the best strategy to scaffold student writing development. This strategy supports young writers as they share, refine and practise taught strategies whilst writing.  The writer has the support of other children to prompt when needed and we’ve spent some time talking about and role-playing prompting. This strategy does allow for differentiation as it supports the range of abilities.  The children now have a number of strategies and tools to assist them when writing. I’ve written about this strategy many times, so if you would like to see other examples, please use the search box in this blog.

Each group has a large sheet of paper with children recording their names down the side of the sheet in their own selected color. (No names, my school or photos of children appear in this blog) This enables the teacher to observe each student’s word attack skills when writing. For this session, each group was randomly selected with a leader nominated. Group leaders are rotated with every child having a turn. The leader is responsible for the writing rotation of  group members and also ensures that the team sets up and packs up properly. Our sentence was composed by the grade about a common experience. The sentence: We have been making dinner plates.

Cheers Nina


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PrepD Interactive Writing: 5 and 6 Year Olds – Linking sentences, using adjectives and ’rounding off’ passages! The essential strategy weaved into the Language Experience Classroom!

Today is the first day of Spring and my children’s writing is blossoming! Interactive Writing – Student Led was the strategy selected for the children to compose a text about our recent school sports – a shared experience. Interactive Writing is an essential strategy used in the Language Experience classroom. So what growth is shown in their writing? What can I see that will inform my planning for the class as a whole,  small groups with common needs and for individuals?

N.B. Each child writes with their own color with names recorded down the side of the sheet. Children write in the order their name is written. Names have been removed for privacy reasons.


Discussion of text for children Green and Red. For example, this sample tells me that child Green is reversing ‘s’ and still has some confusion with capital letters. Using ‘e’ on the end of the word to change the vowel sound needs to be continuously revised for all and particularly child Green. A focus on ‘ck’ would be beneficial to all students and will be planned into a writing session. Have a look at how child Green spelt vortex. What a creative attempt – ‘4 tex’. I could read it!  Other great attempts: fantastic – fantastik, time – tim, discus – dissck, metre – metar, relay- rheelay, last – lust.

My students are ‘taking risks’, using adjectives ( coloring in words ) and extending their writing to 3/4/5 sentences. There is lots to celebrate here, and it is transferring to their independent writing!  The Early Years strategies – Modelled, Shared, Guided, Independent and Interactive Writing ( teacher & student led ) when strategically planned into a weekly program scaffold writing development.


When looking at this writing sample, I can see some terrific attempts at spelling vocabulary. Great attempts: blue – bow, green – grni, didn’t – didt (tricky final sound represented). When looking closely, it is obvious that child Green needs to revise forming a lower case ‘n’ as this is evident in many words. I’m always pleased to see ‘self driven’ editing that develops as a natural process of writing. These children are 5 & 6 year olds in their first year of formal schooling and every now and then I have to remember that! They just amaze me with what they do! Their conversations when writing are incredible. My 4th Year University student teacher overheard one child say ‘ we need to put in an adjective’. That sort of discussion among young children excites me!




This strategy supports young writers as they share, refine and practise taught strategies whilst writing.  The writer has the support of other children to prompt when needed. It’s sensational! I have written many posts about this strategy and if you go back to the beginning of my blog you can see their writing  journey. Just put Interactive Writing in the search box and take a look! Cheers Nina


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Language Experience – PrepD Interactive Writing – 5&6 Year Olds Leading Learning

This week the CSIRO visited my school to run a ‘hands on’ session with the Prep children on the ‘Science of Toys’. Sean, our very ‘cool’  fun CSIRO scientist ran the session and had the children engaged from the moment he spoke. If he wasn’t a scientist, I’m sure he would be a comedian. He knows I’m writing this and I hope he reads it. Thank you Sean for making science so real and fun for this group of students.


The children had a wonderful experience and were very keen to talk and record what they learnt. Interactive  Writing -student led was the strategy of choice to extend the children’s understanding and record this experience. The children’s writing was then made into a little book for the children to read and illustrate. Conversation and discussion about their shared experience was used to revisit the vocabulary the children would need. The children were given their ‘freebie word’ (read previous posts) and asked to write 3 – 4 linked sentences. Extending the children’s writing and using ‘coloring words’ – adjectives, is a focus for this group of young writers. My Intern (4th year university teaching student) has planned and led this whole process. Her planning and teaching has been outstanding! ( Jacinta, I know you read this blog – so well done – ‘You make me proud and humble!)




Interactive Writing

-jointly composing a large print text on a subject of interest to the students

-sharing responsibility for the recording at various points in the writing.

This eases the transition to independent writing by:

-making explicit how written language works

-constructing words using orthographic and phonological knowledge

-producing a text that can be read again.

Source – Sofweb

The children have been illustrating their ‘little book’ which will become a ‘take home’ book. Having talked about how important illustrations are to support meaning, the children have been taking great care to make sure their pictures will help others who read their book. This also reaffirms the importance of looking at pictures when reading to scaffold meaning. I’ll include photos of their illustrations in a future post because their drawings are amazing! Why? They understand the importance!



I’ve included links to some great research articles about Interactive Writing which is an essential element of the Language Experience approach.

Cheers Nina

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The best group writing strategy for 5 year olds! PrepD Interactive Writing: Here I go again…and again…and again!

It’s the beginning of 2nd semester and my preps are half way through their first year of formal schooling in Australia. I’ve written many posts about Interactive Writing. The Early Years Program outlines Interactive Writing as a teacher directed writing strategy. However, I have developed this strategy into a student led whole grade activity.

To make this writing strategy really special, I allow the children to write using textas on large sheets of paper. Children select a colour to write with and use this colour to write their name down the side and their contributions. While the children are writing I’m listening to their conversations and observing the strategies they have learnt in action. Leaders are selected to help organise this activity with all children being given an opportunity to lead at some stage.

It’s my belief that this strategy accelerates writing development and supports less confident writers. Teaching children to prompt, support but ‘not do for others’ allows children to help others in a productive way which flows through to other learning situations. Self editing becomes a natural extension of the process as children read back and fix up known errors. Groups share their writing and discuss ways they could improve their writing next time. This reinforces taught concepts.

At the beginning of the year the students brainstormed a sentence about a shared experience that all groups wrote. Now each group negotiates their own two sentences to write and share with others when completed. I’m looking at how children transfer what they have learnt into their writing e.g. simple punctuation (full stops, capital letters and exclamation marks), space between words, sentence structure and handwriting, specifically letter formation.

Photos – Interactive Writing July.




To add to this activity, I sometimes immediately type and print their writing using ‘dotted tracing script’ which the children trace over.


If interested, please read my previous posts about Interactive Writing. You can use the search bar in this blog to find previous entries.

Cheers Nina

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Interactive Writing- 5 & 6 year olds are teachers, learners & leaders!


‘Interactive writing involves the teacher and small groups of students jointly composing a large print text on a subject of interest to the students and sharing responsibility for the recording at various points in the writing. Teachers quickly record the words that students know how to write, and engage students in problem solving and recording the words that provide challenges and opportunities for new learning. This eases the transition to independent writing by: · making explicit how written language works · constructing words using orthographic and phonological knowledge · producing a text that can be read again.’ Sofweb

Language Experience: This week we had a snowman visit our grade, we observed, measured, wondered and recorded our snowman’s visit. Our shared experience became the topic for our Interactive Writing session for this week.  Group leaders were selected and total control was handed over to the children. They had to negotiate and form their own sentence/s for the first time. I am thrilled by their development as writers. My role was to observe, listen and stay in the backgound. The childen were the teachers, learners and leaders.






Cheers Nina

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