Writing Process

Interview with Lynn Marsden: Writing in an early-years classroom

It is important to note that, although the stages of the writing process are presented below in a linear way, the writing process is not a linear process, but rather a fluid process that moves back and forth between the stages as illustrated in the diagram.

Planning or Prewriting

  • Talking, thinking, viewing, reading, listening
  • Brainstorming, sharing ideas
  • Planning (sketching, graphic organizers, webbing)

Writing a Draft

  • Putting ideas down on paper (computer)
  • Letting the writing flow
  • Leaving spaces to fill in further details a little later

Conferencing:  Teacher/Student (guidelines for teachers)

  • Keep conferences short
  • See as many writers as possible
  • Go to the students so you can control conference length
  • Make eye contact with the writers
  • Don’t tell writers what should be in their writing
  • Build on what writers know and have done
  • Resist making judgments about the writing
  • When questioning students, ask about something you’re curious about

Sample Conference Questions

  • Tell me more about that
  • I don’t understand that
  • Read it to me again
  • What’s the most important thing you’re trying to say?
  • What’s your favourite part?  How can you build on it?
  • How could you find out more about your topic?
  • Is all this information important?  What parts don’t you need?
  • Why is this significant to you?
  • Does this lead/bring your reader right into the piece?
  • What do you want your reader to know or feel at the end of your piece?

Questions for peer conferences

  • What would be a better title for the piece?
  • What seems to be the main point of the writing?
  • What uncertainties do you have about the piece?
  • What would happen if key words or main ideas were changed?


  • (self, peer, teacher, parent)
  • How can I make this story better?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Is there a beginning, middle and end?
  • Did I respond to my conferencing wishes?


  • Rereading and anticipating a reader’s response
  • Listening for precision of language
  • Tightening and linking
  • Clarifying and sharpening
  • Smoothing out and reordering
  • Listening for pace and rhythm
  • Creating or refining a title
  • Finding ways to engage and support a reader
  • Anticipating a critic’s attention to detail
  • Noticing and correcting

Editing means making changes, when needed to …

  • Words
  • Length
  • Pacing
  • Emphasis
  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Paragraphing
  • Verb tense
  • Person
  • Grammatical constructions
  • Visual presentation


Why Publish?

  • encourages the reluctant writer
  • strengthens students' self-confidence
  • rewards interest
  • promotes a positive attitude toward literature

Interview with Alycia Pindar: The Writing Process in a Grade 6 Classroom

Writing in your Balanced Literacy Program












Modeled Writing

Shared Writing

Interactive Writing

Guided Writing

Independent Writing

What is it?

Teacher writes in front of students, creating text, doing the writing and thinking aloud about strategies and skills.

Teacher and students create the text together; then the teacher does the actual writing. Students may assist by spelling the words or generating content.

Teacher and students create the text and share the pen to do the writing. Teacher and students talk about writing conventions.

Teacher presents a structured lesson and supervises as students write. Teacher also teaches a writing procedure, strategy or skill.

Students use the writing process to write stories, informational books, and other compositions. Teacher monitors student’s progress.

Who writes?



Teacher and students



What size groups?

Whole class
Small groups

Whole Class
Small groups

Whole Class
Small group

Small group


Which activities?


Language Experience Approach
K-W-L Charts

Daily News

Class Collaborations
Class books
Formula Poetry

Writing Centres
Writing workshop

Balanced Literacy: Writing

Shared Writing:

  • students and teacher work together on a piece of writing.
  • teacher is the scribe
  • taught in large or small groups

Interactive Writing:

  • teacher and students share the pen.
  • taught in large or small groups.
  • text should be kept simple.

Guided Writing:

  • provides opportunity for students to review and demonstrate a  recently taught writing skill.
  • small group setting

Independent Writing:

    • students create their own writing – both self-selected and assigned.

    Interview with Lynn Marsden: Writing centres in an early-years classroom