I just returned from a visit to Boston where I was able to catch up with colleagues and friends. During my visit, I got to chat with Irene Fountas (of “Fountas of Pinnell”) and we talked about Interactive Writing and its profound impact on K-2 students’ literacy development.
In case you didn’t know, interactive writing was developed by educators at The Ohio State University (where Gay Su Pinnell is on faculty). Unlike shared writing in which students compose messages and the teacher acts as a scribe, interactive writing involves a “sharing of the pen” (as illustrated in the image above) between teacher and students. The interactive writing process focuses students’ attention on:
- concepts and conventions of print
- the sounds in words
- how those sounds connect with letters
Unlike the traditional “morning message,” students are involved in the planning and construction of text, and, to the greatest degree possible, students control the pen for the writing of the text. Moreover, interactive writing builds students’ confidence and experience with writing because they are equipped with a variety of encoding strategies. When I shared with Irene my plans to introduce interactive writing as a component of a public school district’s kindergarten literacy intervention program, she exclaimed, “I COMPLETELY AGREE!”
I asked Irene if she knew of any recent studies on the impact of interactive writing, but all we could locate was Sharon Craig’s 2003 study published by The Reading Teacher. It’s an impressive small-scale study, but we both wish more robust research was done around it since so many students have thrived from this daily practice. If you know of any recent studies, please let me know!