RAFT Writing



Once students have acquired new content information and concepts they need opportunities to rework, apply, and extend their understandings (Graham, 2005).  RAFT writing is uniquely suited to do just that (Santa & Havens, 1995).  This form of writing gives students the freedom to project themselves into unique roles and look at content from unique perspectives.  From these roles and perspectives, RAFT writing has been used to explain processes, describe a point of view, envision a potential job or assignment, or solve a problem (Brozo & Simpson, 2007).  It is the kind of writing that, when crafted appropriately, should be creative and informative. 


Teaching Process

1.   Once particular content or topics have been covered, consider all of the various roles and audiences that would allow students to demonstrate their new understandings from different perspectives.  Sometimes teachers conduct a class brainstorm to gather numerous possible perspectives on a topic.

2.   Review the RAFT acronym with students, explaining what each letter stands for:

        R – Role (role of the writer)

        A – Audience (to whom or what the RAFT is being written)

        F – Form (the form the writing will take, as in letter, song, etc.)

        T – Topic (the subject focus of the writing) 

        It may be helpful to put the RAFT acronym on a chart in the classroom as a reminder.

Also stress to students that RAFT writing allows for creativity but must accurately reflect

the content just learned.

3.   Give students a RAFTed assignment.  RAFTs can be prescribed or left open to students to choose.  Initially, it is best to assign students to complete specific RAFTs.  As they gain more experience and familiarity with the writing strategy, they can be allowed more freedom.  For example, after learning about the water cycle in science, the teacher might assign the following RAFT to students new to the process:

R – water droplet

A – water vapor in clouds

F – travel journal

T – the water cycle

A more experienced group of history students after learning about the battle of the Alamo might be assigned a RAFT that gives them more options, such as:

        R – Any observer or participant in the battle

        A – Any relevant audience based on format

        F – A newspaper article, a letter, a diary entry, dialog, etc.

        T – The events of March 6, 1836, the final siege of the Alamo

4.   Students may write RAFTs individually or with partners.

5.   Once completed, students should share their RAFTs with a partner or the whole class.  While students read their RAFTed assignments, other students should listen for accuracy and logic.  Listening to students’ RAFTs will allow you to evaluate whether students adequately understood the material and whether further teaching or independent study is needed.

6.   RAFT writing may be put into student learning logs and graded along with other

learning log entries.



Student Examples of RAFT Writing in Math and Science

R – A whole number between 1 and 9

A – A whole number equal to 10 minus their number

F – A letter

T – Why it is important to be a positive role model for the fractions less than one.

Dear Number 7:

It has come to my attention that you are not taking seriously your responsibilities as a role model for the fractions.  With this letter I would like to try to convince you of the importance of being a positive role model for the little guys.  Some day, with the proper combinations, they too will be whole numbers.  It is extremely important for them to understand how to properly carry out the duties of a whole number.  For them to learn this, it is imperative for them to have good positive role models to emulate.  Without that, our entire numbering system could be in ruins.  They must know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide properly and efficiently.  They must know how to respond if ever asked to become a member of a floating point gang.  Since they are not yet whole, it is our duty to numberkind to make sure they are brought up properly to the left of the decimal.


Thank you in advance for our support,

     The Number 3


        R – Chromosome

        A – Daughter Chromosomes

        F – Letter

        T – Cell division during mitosis


Dear Daughter Chromosomes,

You are moving on to better things as part of separate but equal cells.  You don’t remember me because you are both part of what I was.  You see, during Anaphase, I split in two at my centromere.  My last minutes were spent with what now accompany you as other daughter chromosomes.  Please do not be afraid of the double membrane, called the nuclear envelope, which will soon surround you.  It is going to form in order to protect you while you replicate and proceed through what I did.  You will eventually split as I did in order to help form another duplicate cell.  I write you to wish you luck and share with you my experience so that you may pass it on to others.


                                                         Mr. Chromosome



Brozo, W.G., & Simpson, M.L. (2007). Content literacy for today’s adolescents:

        Honoring diversity and building competence. Upper Saddle River, NJ:

        Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Graham, S. (2005). Writing. In P. Alexander & P. Winne (Eds.), Handbook of

        educational psychology. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Santa, C., & Havens, L. (1995). Creating independence through student-owned

strategies: Project CRISS. Dubuque, IA: Kendall-Hunt.


From the