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What is Shared and Interactive Writing in Preschool?

What is the difference between shared writing and interactive writing? How can use these types of writings to support our young learners?

Simply put, Shared Writing is used for showing children what writing looks like and Interactive Writing (also known as ‘Sharing the Pen’) is when children have hand in the writing or drawing of the writing piece.

We can use Shared and Interactive Writing as a vehicle to teach children important literary concepts, such as: 

  • Understanding that what you say can be put into writing
  • Recognizing that print is different than pictures
  • About the purpose of writing
  • And all about purposeful writing, narrative writing and informational writing.

Let’s dive deeper into Shared Writing:

Shared writing is used for showing children what writing looks like. The teacher writes and the children watch and contribute ideas.

So many amazing reading and writing concepts can be taught during shared writing.  The teacher/adult works as the model and shows children, by example, why we write, what we write and how we write. Then, we can go back and read what we wrote!

I love to incorporate writing into our lessons as much as possible.  Anytime I can take a book, discussion or even a un-expected interest and turn it into a shared writing experience – I do!

Types of Shared Writing that you can do with your students in whole group include: 

  • list
  • poem
  • story
  • chart
  • labels
  • book
  • sign
  • map
  • announcement
  • recipe
  • schedule
  • observations
  • menu

Take a look at some of the modeled writing experiences we have done…


During our Spring Weather unit, we were learning about clouds and we were going to head outside to look at the clouds.  So, I created a shared writing poster about clouds for students to reference when looking at the clouds.

This modeled writing showed children that we can make diagrams to help us and that we use words to label pictures.

Gingerbread 5 Senses:

 During our Gingerbread Unit, we taste tested real gingerbread cookies. But, before we ate them, we used all 5 senses to explore the gingerbread cookies.  I wrote down the words that children used to describe the cookie on the chart.

This shared writing showed children how to list and organize thoughts on a paper and that their words can be written on paper.

We are Friends:

During our Social Emotional Lesson on Friendship, we created a chart about what good friends do. I wrote down what children said and also helped steer the discussion.

This modeled writing showed children how to make a list on a paper and that their words can be written down.

Let’s dive deeper into Interactive Writing:

Interactive writing is when both the teacher and the children contribute ideas and both the teacher and children write/draw.

The same types of writings can be done in interactive writing as shared writing. The difference? Children are helping contribute to the writing piece.

Take a look at some of the modeled writing experiences we have done…

Our Letters:

The first interactive writing piece we do together is the ‘Our Names’ poster. Children get to stick their letter sticker on the poster. Then, when we review the letters each child gets to circle their letter with their favorite colored marker.

The poster goes in the writing center to encourage the writing of the class letters!

The Mitten is…

We created this simple sentence chart after reading The Mitten by Jan Brett. I prepared the chart ahead of time. Children helped fill in the beginning letter and added color to the mitten.

We then used this piece of interactive writing as a a shared reading piece and children used pointers to read the predictable sentences.


 We saw a hawk right outside our classroom window.  The children were very interested in the hawk and were wondering if it had a nest near by and what it ate. So, we did some interactive writing to teach children all about hawks!

This interactive writing showed students that we can record what we learn and we can write about what interests us. Children helped add pictures to the words, making this an interactive reading.

We can use Shared and Interactive writing with our preschoolers to introduce important literacy skills. By making sure we structure the time in short intervals and add ways to keep children engaged in the writing, we can model and teach what being a writer looks like!

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