Think It, Say It, Write It

Beginning writers need specific support in order to become confident, successful writers
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About This Strategy

In this strategy, teachers will help beginning writers make the connection between their thoughts, oral language, and written word by providing verbal prompts and written sentence frames.  Often, students in primary grades, especially language learners, have a difficult time composing their thoughts and then getting them onto the written page. In this strategy, students will learn how to express their thoughts orally while their teacher helps them keep track of their words as they write. The strategy can be used in any content area, including writers' workshop, math, science, and social studies. This is an effective strategy because it allows students to compose and express their own ideas while they receive support as they encode on the written page.

Implementation Steps

  1. Ask the student to consider their response to a given prompt ("Think It")

  2. Ask the student to respond to the chosen writing prompt orally ("Say It"), starting with just one sentence or phrase depending on the proficiency of the student.

  3. Repeat the student’s words orally and write the student's words for the teacher to use as reference while the student writes.  

  4. Draw “blanks” for each word of the student’s sentence, thus creating a sentence frame.

  5. Repeat the student’s words back to them as they write ("Write It").

  6. Continue the process above for each phrase or sentence the student produces.

  7. Ask the student to read their finished product aloud.

  8. Celebrate the student's success by providing opportunities for the student to share their work with their peers and other teachers.

EL Modification

This strategy supports English learners to express themselves in writing as they organize their thoughts, connect oral and written words, and learn how to respond to a writing prompt. English learners benefit from graphic organizers, sentence frames and teacher support.

English learners are also afforded the opportunity to express themselves orally and in writing even when they have not fully developed independent writing skills.English learners need to be supported in their new language in order to access the mainstream curriculum and skills.

Implementation steps:

  1. Display writing prompt with visual support and ask the student to consider their response ("Think It")

  2. Display visuals that provide support, such as word wall, photos, or short video clips, for unfamiliar vocabulary. 

  3. Ask the student to respond to the chosen writing prompt orally ("Say It"), starting with just one sentence or phrase depending on the proficiency of the student.

  4. Offer the student the opportunity to draw a quick sketch for more challenging vocabulary.

  5. The teacher may choose to write certain words until the student has built enough stamina to do all of the writing themselves.

Special Education Modification

This strategy supports students with disabilities who may have needs in the areas of focus, executive functioning, and writing by providing structure and planning of their writing.

Students with disabilities may benefit from working in short time segments, with periodic incentives, frequent breaks, and organizational tools.

Implementation steps:

  1. Encourage the student to write about a topic that interests him/her by offering acceptable choices

  2. Provide a clear and tangible path to success by setting goals and referring back to each step in the process as the student progresses

  3. Offer the student an incentive for completing each phase of the strategy.

  4. Provide "fidget" items for the student, as appropriate throughout the use of the strategy.

  5. Offer the student frequent breaks, especially at the completion of each step in the process

  6. Frequently refer to the graphic organizer to keep the student on track throughout the writing process.

Think It, Say It, Write It for Distance Learning

Think It, Say It, Write It can be used in distance learning to support developing and emerging writers across core subjects. Virtual applications can be used as a shared writing space between teacher and students.

Implementation steps:

  1. Utilize a virtual whiteboard application, document camera, or Google slideshow to project during a video conference with students

  2. Display visual writing prompt.

  3. Instruct the student to consider their response ("Think It").

  4. Ask the student to answer orally ("Say It").

  5. Make note of the student's answer as a reference for the teacher.

  6. Create a sentence frame using the whiteboard application, document camera or in a Google slide.

  7. Invite the student to collaboratively write their response as the teacher repeats each word back to the student ("Write It")

  8. Ask the student to read their finished response.

  9. Provide opportunities for the student to read their writing for peers, other teachers, or family members.

Related Lessons

  • This strategy can be used with my "ACCESS Writing Practice" lesson plan because the strategy supports student writing at their specific English proficiency level and helps push them toward higher proficiency.

  • This strategy can be used with my Scientific Method Writing Plan because it supports students as they connect the oral language of discussion surrounding science experiments with the written reports of their scientific findings.