Interactive Writing | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G1:S2:C7:L39

Interactive Writing

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Daily Learning Targets

  • Opening A: I can sort words with endings sly “y” (/ī/) and “-ing.” (RF.1.2)
    • I can say a two- or three-phoneme word and segment it (break it apart) into individual phonemes (sounds) (in order).
    • I can identify and say the final phoneme (sound) in a one-syllable word.
  • Work Time A: I can collaborate with my teacher to write a sentence with VC, CVC, CCVC, and high-frequency words. (RF.1.1, RF.1.2, RF.1.3, L.K.2)
    • I can look at each consonant and say its sound.
    • I can identify the short sound for each vowel.
    • I can identify features of a sentence, including the first word, capital letters, and ending punctuation.
    • I can say a two-phoneme or three-phoneme word and segment (break apart) into individual phonemes (sounds) in order.
    • I can use what I know about common spelling patterns to correctly spell words with those common patterns.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Observe students during Opening A. Determine whether they can make the sound for letter(s), decode, and read familiar words using letters and sounds from this cycle.
  • Observe students sharing the pen (or following along) during Work Time A. Determine whether they can write the given sentence following basic concepts of print such as directionality and spacing.



1. Opening (3-5 minutes)

A. Introducing Sort It Out

2. Work Time (10-15 minutes)

A. Interactive Writing: Writing Regular and Familiar One-Syllable Words

3. Closing and Assessment (2 minutes)

A. Reflecting on Learning

4. Differentiated Small Group Instruction and Rotations (40 minutes)

In Advance

  • Prepare:
    • T-chart: sly "y" column (two phonemes), sly "y" column (three phonemes), "-ing" column (four or more phonemes)
    • Sort It Out Word Cards (see supporting Materials)
    • Snapshot Assessment (optional; one per student)
  • Identify and teach hand signals for short-vowel sounds. If American Sign Language is used for vowels, consider posting the ASL alphabet. Draw attention to the vowels used in the activity ("a," "i," "o," "y," and "u"). If different hand signals are used, teach or remind students of the signal for each letter ("a," "i," "o," "y," and "u").
  • Predetermine one sentence to be used for the Interactive Writing instructional practice (suggested sentences: "Sam is spying on the ant on a stem," or "The red robin is flying by the pond").


Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T)

  • digraph, interact, interactive, possession, proficient (L)


  • T-chart (teacher-created, using whiteboard or chart paper; see supporting Materials for example)
  • Sort It Out Word Cards (one set for teacher use)
  • Whiteboards or sheet protectors with white cardboard inside (one per student or pair)
  • Whiteboard markers (one per student or pair)
  • Whiteboard erasers (or tissues, socks, etc.; one per student or pair)
  • Snapshot Assessment (optional; one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reviewing Skills and Knowledge: Introducing Sort It Out

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of “Sound Off” or “Cadence Count/Duckworth Cadence”):

“Sorting words is lots of F-U-N (fun!) We made a change to R-U-N (run). A different vowel changes run to ran. We can find some rhymes like can and tan. Look for words that sound the same. That’s how we’re going to play a sorting game.”

  • Introduce the Sort It Out instructional practice:

1. Teacher shows students the t-chart and introduces the three columns: sly “y” (/ī/) (two phonemes), sly “y” (long /i/) (three phonemes), and “-ing” (four or more phonemes).

2. Student volunteers pronounce the sound for each column.

3. Teacher holds up the first Sort It Out Word Card and reads it aloud: “cry.”

4. Teacher says: “I am going to say the word again slowly, segmenting each sound, so I can listen for the end sound that I hear: /c/ /r/ /ī/—‘cry.’ I hear the /ī/ sound at the end and I count three phonemes, so I will place this card in the sly ‘y’ (long /i/) column with three phonemes.”

5. Teacher reads the next Sort It Out Word Card aloud but does not show it: “spying.”

6. Students chorally repeat the word, segmenting each sound: /s//p//ī/ /ing/ and counting the phonemes.

7. Students use a hand signal to indicate the column in which the word belongs. (“-ing”)

8. Teacher shows the Sort It Out Word Card. Students give a thumbs-up if their answer was correct.

9. Teacher (or student volunteer) places the card in the correct column.

10. Repeat steps 5–9 with remaining cards: “my,” “by,” “fry,” “flying,” “dry,” “trying,” “ply,” “crying.”

  • Consider asking student volunteers to lead step 5. Full Alphabetic students may lead this instructional practice once it is learned.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Interactive Writing: Writing Regular and Familiar One-Syllable Words

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of "The More We Get Together"):

"Now let's all be writers, be writers, be writers. Now let's all be writers like the authors we love. Listen to the sentence, the sentence, the sentence. Listen to the sentence, we will write as a group."

  • Optional: Distribute whiteboards, whiteboard markers, and whiteboard erasers (or have students follow along by skywriting).
  • Begin the Interactive Writing instructional practice:

1. Teacher models the Interactive Writing instructional practice with one word.

2. Teacher reads the chosen sentence aloud and taps out the words on the paper/whiteboard.

3. Students repeat the sentence (rehearse a few times as needed).

4. Teacher says the first word in the sentence.

5. Teacher invites a student volunteer to the board to write the letters, parts, or entire word.

6. Remaining students follow along with whiteboards or skywriting.

7. Teacher asks:

"What do we need to remember to do to this first letter so our reader will know that this is where our sentence starts?" (Capitalize it.)

8. After the first word in the sentence is complete, teacher asks:

"What comes after a word?" (a space)

9. Teacher taps out the remaining words of the sentence.

10. Repeat steps 5-6 with the remainder of the sentence. Teacher may write some of the letters, word parts, or words to speed up the process if necessary.

11. Teacher asks:

"What do we need to remember to put at the end so that our reader knows we are done with this sentence?" (a period)

12. Teacher points to each word as he or she reads the completed sentence aloud.

13. Students read the completed sentence aloud.

  • For students who are ready for more challenge, use a more complex sentence, similar to one from the current cycle’s decodable (example: “The robin is flying in the sky, spreading his wings wide”) or a sentence aligned with content from the Integrated Literacy Block (example: “I can use a tool to fix that broken chair”) that does not necessarily stick exclusively to sounds, letters, and patterns introduced in the letter cycles. You can invite students to contribute parts (examples: a high-frequency word, a beginning phoneme) that they know and then model and fill in the rest. Doing this allows for vocabulary and content learning reinforcement.
  • Consider additional review of the sly “y” (long i) sound and “-ing” suffix. For example, if “flying” is used (from suggested sentence), ask:

“What is the last sound you hear in /f/ /l/ /ī/ /ing/?” (/ing/) “That’s right! And we learned this week a suffix that ends words with i-n-g makes the /ing/ sound.”

  • For ELLs: Consider using pictures to clarify any nouns or verbs in the sentence that may be new. Act out verbs for clarification. Letter-sound connections are strengthened when students see they are tools that allow them to communicate an idea.
  • If students are writing words that they have read previously, remind them that these are familiar words and they should try to remember how the words were spelled when they read them. This supports the goal of automaticity with letter sound connections.
  • If students need help independently recording the grapheme for each sound on their whiteboards, provide and/or model using the sound boards.
  • If a possessive “-’s” word is encountered, identify the “-’s” as showing that something belongs to the noun. Identify the “-’s” as the “possessive,” and identify the apostrophe as what alerts the reader that this shows possession or that something belongs to the noun (example: “Dad’s”). Explain the contrast of adding “-s” to a word (to make it plural) versus adding “-’s” to a word (to show possession). Ask:

“Does this show that I have more than one Dad or that the plan came from Dad?”

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reflecting on Learning

  • Emphasize that effective learners keep track of and reflect on their own learning. Point out that they are doing this each time they consider how what they did today helps them become more proficient readers.
  • Remind students that today they reviewed letters and sounds and irregularly spelled words, practiced decoding, and used the skills they've been learning to write a sentence together.
  • Invite students to reflect independently. Ask:

"What did you do today that is helping you become a more proficient reader?"

  • Invite a volunteer to share. Afterward, invite any students who did something similar to indicate that in an interactive way (examples: stand and turn in place, hop up and down excitedly).
  • For students who need additional support organizing their ideas: Provide sentence frames. Examples:
    • "When I made the sounds for the word _____, I _____."
    • "When I wrote the letter _____, I _____."
    • "When I blended the sounds _____, I _____."

Differentiated Small Groups: Work with Teacher

Suggested Plan: Teacher works with students in the Pre-Alphabetic, Partial Alphabetic, and Consolidated Alphabetic groups. Teacher will not work with students in the Full Alphabetic group today.

Note: Groups not working with the teacher at a given time should be engaged in purposeful independent rotation work. Refer to the Independent and Small Group Work Guidance document for more details (see K-2 Skills Resource Manual).


  • Aim small group instruction at building students' knowledge and skills of letter identification and phonological awareness.
  • Use the Assessment Conversion chart to determine appropriate Kindergarten lessons and Activity Bank ideas to use in daily small group instruction (see Assessment Overview and Resources).
  • Lead an interactive writing experience using a different sentence, focusing on initial letters and letter formation. Use a sentence that places letter sounds you are working on at the beginning and end of words. For example, if working on "n," "i," "a," "c," "p," "f," "l," "s," and "y," you can work with:
    • I can spy a fly.

Partial Alphabetic:

  • Extend or create a new interactive writing piece focusing on VC and CVC words. This may include a new sentence related to the Decodable Reader or the content in the Integrated Literacy Block or a sentence that naturally follows the one written during work time.
  • For students working at the early to middle Partial Alphabetic phase, contrast short "e" ("ed," "en," "est") and short "i" ("id," "in," "ist") patterns. Include high-leverage words that are high-leverage (i.e., can be used a lot in their independent writing), high-frequency words (example: "wish").
  • For students working at the middle to late Partial Alphabetic phase, consider extending the interactive writing work as described above by contrasting the long "i" sound the sly "y" makes at the end of words vs. the sound the "y" makes at the beginning of words: "y" pattern ("yip," "yap," "yin," "yo") vs. sly "y" pattern ("sly," "ply," "try," "my," "fly").

Consolidated Alphabetic:

  • Extend work with interactive writing by inviting students to compose sentences related to the Engagement Text: "Dad's Plan" (consider making a copy for each student). Give individualized feedback to students on conventions of print (including spelling patterns and grammar). Have students share out sentences/stories and reflect on new learning.
  • Follow up with the Lesson 36 Word List and exit ticket.
  • Check in on Accountable Independent Reading.

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