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What is shared writing?

This year's National Literacy Strategy training package is about the teaching of writing. It suggests a sequence of whole-class teaching, beginning with exploring published texts; moving on to relevant features of grammar, punctuation or style; and culminating in shared writing. There are three levels of shared writing:

Demonstration

The teacher shows how to write a particular sort of text or in a particular style, giving a running commentary on what he or she is doing, and why. The teacher:

* rehearses each sentence orally before writing, discussing choices about vocabulary, word order, and so on - demonstrating that composition requires reflection

* writes the sentence, drawing attention to features such as punctuation and how they contribute to the effect

* reads back what she has written to check how it sounds - and perhaps amends the piece as it progresses.

Scribing

The teacher involves the pupils in word choices and composition. Using the same technique of rehearse-write-reread, she scribes their suggestions, and shares the running commentary with them.

Supported writing

Each pair of pupils has a whiteboard and marker. The teacher throws responsibility for a sentence to the class. In pairs, the children rehearse-write-reread, then hold up the whiteboard for the teacher to see. The teacher can then decide how much more shared work is necessary. Once pupils have been given a thorough grounding in how to write through the shared writing lesson, they are ready to move on to independent writing.

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