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.
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.
Brozo, W.G., & Simpson, M.L. (2007). Content literacy for todays adolescents:
Honoring diversity and building competence. Upper Saddle River, NJ:
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.
CONTENT LITERACY STRATEGY DESCRIPTIONS for the 2008 LOUISIANA COMPREHENSIVE CURRICULUM, Dr. William G. Brozo, May 2008