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Literacy Tip of the Week: February 16, 2020

posted Feb 17, 2020, 5:24 AM by Steven Richardson   [ updated Mar 1, 2020, 3:28 PM ]

Guided Writing by Tammy Seals

This week’s tip on guided writing is written by Tammy Seals, one of my Next Steps Guided Reading Consultants.


Although students may be writing more, they aren’t necessarily writing better. Teachers often struggle to teach writing standards to their students, especially their striving readers. Many students still need support with writing skills they should have mastered in earlier grades. Guided writing is the perfect tool to help them become better writers.


Guided Writing is assisted writing. It extends comprehension on the text students have read during guided reading and improves writing skills as teachers work side by side with their students (The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading, p. 139).  Teachers should select a response format for writing based on the book the students read and their comprehension focus for the group. Then teachers help students create a simple plan and prompt them as they write. With transitional and fluent readers, Jan suggests teachers analyze writing samples to pinpoint a target skill for each student. See pages 198 and 199 for a list of goals and prompts for transitional readers.


Whenever I teach a session on guided writing, I ask teachers to bring a few student writing samples so we can analyze the writing and select a target skill using Dr. Richardson’s writing skills continuums (pp. 207-208). I love to model guided writing lessons to show teachers how to scaffold and assist students on the spot. I demonstrate how important it is for some students, especially English learners, to orally rehearse their sentences before they write them. This gives teachers the opportunity to support the student in developing standard English structure. Guided writing is the bridge between whole-class writing lessons and independent practice. Once you have taught students a target skill during guided writing, expect them to practice that skill during writing workshop or independent writing time. Reading word study, and writing are reciprocal processes that should be integrated in every guided reading lesson regardless of the text level. 


Guided Reading consultants are available to assist and scale this type of professional development model in schools and districts. 

Tammy Seals, M.S.Ed.

Guided Writing PD in Charleston, West Virginia