Guided Writing – What is it? How and Why to do it in the classroom?

What is Guided Writing?

Similar to guided reading groups, guided writing allows teachers to focus on a specific writing goal that a small group of students struggle with.

Teachers work with a handful of students on a writing strategy that will help to enhance their writing, whether that’s a punctuation focus, grammar instruction, or incorporating adjectives to liven up their writing, there are many goals of guided writing groups.

Sitting with a small group of students help to target the writing strategy practice.

Why do Guided Writing?

Guided writing groups allow you to give focused attention and practice on a specific writing goal with a group of students who are struggling in that area.

For example, if you are noticing many students are struggling with expanding their sentences to include more descriptive language, you might want to pull them aside to work on this skill.

How do you do a Guided Writing session?

Just like you would do a guided reading session, a guided writing session follows a similar format:

  1. Select a targeted, specific writing goal. The smaller the goal, the quicker/easier it will be for your students to achieve with targeted practice. (You can use my handy Writing Strategies List if you’re not sure where to start).
  2. Select the 3-5 students who require teacher intervention with their specific goal, and who could benefit from targeted practice.
  3. Begin your session with a real life example of your writing goal. For example, if you want to showcase the proper use of quotation marks in a story, have a photocopied sample for the children to highlight and mark up.
  4. Using whiteboards or pencil+paper, have students work on the specified writing strategy in small, manageable chunks. Keep the writing task short and top the point. No longer than 5-7 minutes to practice.
  5. Repeat the sessions over multiple days until you have noticed mastery of the writing goal from you group of students.

Need help? Download my FREE Writing Strategies Page.

I have compiled a list of typical writing struggles for many students in grade 3 – 6. You can download yourself a copy to help you pick a strategy and even the prompts I would use in my own classroom.


Maryana @ 3 Peaks Classroom

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