The goal of write-aloud is composition and not writing mechanics. In write-aloud students listen to and watch their teacher as he/she writes aloud, while noticing the teacher’s thinking strategies.
Here are four strategies for teachers to incorporate write-aloud into their instruction:
- Separating write-aloud from the writing workshop
- Using write-aloud to introduce a writing unit of study
- Using a previous write-aloud piece to teach important concepts in minilessons and conferences
- Using write-aloud during small-group instruction
Writing aloud is a shared experience between the teacher and the students. The teacher thinks-aloud as he/she demonstrates explicitly the composing process and applies problem solving strategies in writing. Through clear, purposeful demonstrations and active participation, the students learn what writers do, and they use this knowledge in independent writing.
Writing aloud should be taught in ALL grades as soon as students begin the early stages of reading and writing. From a Vygotskian perspective, the teacher uses language to describe the writing process.
The Purposes of Write Aloud:
- To demonstrate the composing process with an emphasis on building a meaningful message for a particular audience.
- To demonstrate rereading strategies for checking, clarifying, and extending meaning.
- To model how to do written retellings that include all important elements and expressive dialogues for recording an interesting composition.
- To demonstrate how to use techniques of language effectively in written compositions.
- To model various strategies for problem-solving on words within text.
- To encourage the close examination of varied genres and forms of writing.
- To demonstrate the importance of varied punctuation in creating expressive messages.
- To reinforce and support the reading process.
- To engage students in an enjoyable, meaningful and authentic writing experiences.
- The Elements of Writing Aloud
- The teacher models how to compose a written work through ongoing “think aloud” conversations with the students.
- The text is a negotiated experience between the teacher and students, with the teacher skillfully guiding and composing.
- The teacher is the primary scribe with the students contributing at selective points.
- The teacher emphasizes the importance of constructing a meaningful and well-organized written work.
- The teacher uses a meaningful context to demonstrate how to problem-solve on the run throughout the writing.
- The writing of a single text may occur over several days.
- The text can be rewritten by the teacher and published into a class book.
Using a write aloud is incredibly transformative teaching, especially when used in conjunction with a strong writing workshop. Students’ speaking, writing, and confidence soar with write aloud and writing and reading improve.