In my early teaching years, I thought guided writing was just helping a student write. Whether that be helping them stretch out a word, generate an idea for their story, or help with the organization of their story, I thought I was doing guided writing.
In reality, I wasn’t. I typically coached them through what they needed help on so they could finish whatever we were working on in class that day. I wasn’t teaching them a strategy or something they could apply to their future writing.
When my school started implementing guided writing during writer’s workshop, I first felt nervous about adding another thing into our already busy day. But once I saw the value in it, I was all in! Let’s chat about guided writing and where it fits in your classroom today!
What is Guided Writing?
Guided writing is a lot like guided reading. A teacher gathers a group of students who need help with a particular skill in writing. Then, teaches them a strategy or a mini-lesson to help them with that skill. The teacher might choose to review a previously taught mini-lesson or teach something new that she knows the group needs.
Guided writing follows the structure of guided reading. The teacher might first connect the students with a story or tell them a craft move they noticed an author did really well. The teacher will then model or teach the skill that the group needs. She might do this by modeling or coaching. The students will then try it in their writing that they are working on while receiving feedback and support from the teacher.
Where does it fit in my schedule?
Guided writing most easily fits into your writer’s workshop block. Once your students are engaged in independent writing, it is a perfect time for you to pull a group of students to your table for guided writing. I used to always confer during independent writing time, but you get more bang for your buck when you can pull a group or two of students during independent writing and teach them a skill!
Can Guided Reading and Guided Writing work together?
Yes, you can do both! Since guided writing takes place during writer’s workshop, you have time for guided reading during reader’s workshop. They both help kids grow in their reading and writing skills during different parts of your day.
Guided writing could also fit in a guided reading lesson. After you have completed your guided reading lesson, you could lead students in a guided writing lesson about the book you just read. You could have students look at some of the writing features in the book they just read. Students could look for things you have studied in your writing mini-lessons in their guided reading books.
- Did the author write the book in a unique style?
- How is the story/book organized?
- Did they include lots of detail in their pictures or use speech bubbles? Did the author include the character’s feelings?
You can use your guided reading book as a mentor text for writing! After they examine a particular writing feature they notice, they could try emulating that in their own writing. They could bring their writing from writer’s workshop to the table, and then try out some of the things they noticed from their guided reading book. It makes for such a great connection between writing and reading!
If you are looking for some easy-to-implement guided reading lessons that have meaningful guided writing tied to them, then check out these bundles!