What is Interactive Writing?

Interactive writing is a writing process used to teach (usually younger) students how to write. The process involves the sharing of a pen between the teacher and students. It can be done in a one-on-one private lesson with a student, or with a small group of students. The purpose or the procedure is to teach children how to write well by allowing them to directly copy the demonstration of the teacher.

Interactive writing helps students advance their writing skills as using the same pen as the teacher, immediately after their example, creates the right mindset for the child to copy the technique of the teacher correctly. By directly following the guide of the teacher the child advances far more than if they were to use their own pen and paper.

Children are generally encouraged to take main control of the writing session, with the continuous aid of the teacher. This not only progresses writing, by practicing forming and connecting letters, but it improves their spelling. It also begins to set them up for independent learning later in life. The system can also be used to help students make connections between letters, and clusters of letters, and their sounds.

It is most effective for interactive writing to be used as a method of teaching early in a child's education. As the child develops their literacy skills more and more, they become more able to work independently. This is often more effective at later stages as they are able to practice their skills at a faster pace. However as an introduction to writing, interactive writing is a useful technique for teachers to use, as it is successful in teaching the basics.

It is important for students to have an active learning experience to develop their writing skills: interactive writing provides this. The teacher first talks with the students to establish what they will write about. Then the text is constructed; this should be done as far as possible by the pupils with the teacher giving help when it is needed.

The text is then read; often the teacher does this with the students to help them learn what the different words and letters sound like. Often the text is revisited later in the school day to help the students remember what the words look and sound like. If the lesson is a success with the majority of the class, the teacher may choose to extend the learning to make it more difficult.

Recent technological developments have produced the 'interactive whiteboard' - this classroom tool uses a specially designed electronic pen to write on an electronic whiteboard. This not only makes teaching easier for the teacher, but inspires children as they are using the latest technology. These whiteboards are becoming increasingly popular in classrooms today.

Interactive writing is all in all a very effective way for teachers to help students begin to learn to write. The method is most effective with smaller groups of children or individuals as they are able to have more time using the pen. A strong teacher-pupil relationship also helps to ensure the success of the technique, as the role of the teacher is very important in the system.