Although no two writers’ processes are exactly the same, all writers use some kind of process to organize their thinking and move their writing from idea to draft to finished text.

The stages of the writing process are a framework to help students become better writers by providing them with a model for writing that they can adapt over time and make their own. It is important to remember that the stages of the process are not linear and writers will often move back and forth between stages during the writing process.

Reading and writing are closely linked. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Students need to be writing as often as possible.

  • Not every piece of writing a student produces will become a finished piece.

  • It is important to find ways to publish some of your students’ work so that they have real purposes and audiences for their writing, e.g. on a class blog or website, in a school newspaper, in a class anthology, or as a student-made book.



Prewriting is the incubation stage, where writers are thinking about their ideas for writing. It covers just about everything a writer does before beginning to write.

  • Find an Idea:

  • draw inspiration from personal experiences, memories, interests, books read and listened to, movies, events, photographs, etc.

  • keep a writer’s notebook

  • use writing prompts, photographs, etc. to get started

  • Build on that Idea:

  • brainstorm individually or with others

  • try a quickwrite or free writing.

  • Plan and Organize:

  • consider the purpose of the piece, the intended audience and what the reader needs to know about the subject

  • choose a text type that will work for the given purpose and intended audience

  • try some graphic organizers, e.g. sketching, webbing, storyboarding, etc., to connect and organize ideas.


During the drafting stage the writer begins to put ideas down on paper without worrying too much about spelling and writing conventions.

  • Students should have the chance to:

  • write as often as possible

  • include illustations and drawings if necessary


Writers need feedback throughout the writing process.

  • Teachers can:

  • try to get around to as many students as possible for quick conferences during writing time

  • encourage students to share pieces of writing with peers

  • teach students how to give and receive feedback appropriate to their age.


The purpose of revision is to clarify and shape the content of the writing and its meaning in order to meet the needs of the intended audience.

Writers should keep their audience in mind as they make decisions about how and what to revise.

There are four main ways to revise a text

  1. Add information and/or details. Have I given my readers enough information? Is anything missing?

  2. Rearrange parts of the text. Does the writing flow? Is this the best way to organize it?

  3. Remove parts in the writing that don’t quite fit. Have I given too much information or provided too many details?

  4. Replace any parts of the writing that need to be rewritten, or replaced. Is the piece clear and interesting? Who can I ask to give me a second opinion?

It should be noted that in elementary Cycles One and Two, revision generally involves adding a little more detail to help the reader better understand the text, or using different words and descriptions to make the writing more interesting or precise.


Editing is the final stage before a text is published. Editing is different from revision. It involves scanning the surface features of a text, such as language usage, grammatical conventions, spelling and syntax, to check for clarity and correctness. Once a student has completed a final text edit, it is helpful to have a reading partner read it back to them.

Editing means noticing and correcting:

  • words

  • spelling

  • punctuation

  • grammar

  • verb tense

  • visual presentation

Editing requirements should be developmentally appropriate based on the age of the students and individual needs.


All students should have the opportunity to have some of their writing published for others to read and appreciate. Having an authentic audience beyond the teacher provides a real purpose for the writing.

Publication ideas include:

  • class anthology

  • bulletin board

  • letters to the editor

  • school/class newsletter or website

  • hand-made books

The focus of the Production/Writing competency is on students learning how to make deliberate production decisions in light of purpose, message and intended audience. They then craft the text accordingly and justify the choices made. Students gain firsthand experience, learning how texts work from the inside out and can in turn reinvest this knowledge to interpret texts at a deeper level, activating the reading-production connection.

Whether producing texts individually or in groups, students require the support and feedback of both teacher and peers. With both written and media texts, they need time to think, plan, draft, talk and adjust their ideas.

Students do not need to complete the whole process for each text they undertake. Some texts may only be taken through the planning stage. Other larger production projects may be taken through to postproduction. What is important is that the student is immersed in the text to be produced and is given an opportunity to reflect on the production experience.

Below, the writing and production processes are synthesized side-by-side. Download Production Process.

production process infographic.pdf

Listen as this elementary student tells about his writing process and shares some of his nonfiction pieces in this short video.


Writer’s Notebook is a tool for collecting ideas and information as well as a space for free writing and quickwrites.

ReadWriteThink: Implementing the Writing Process. This strategy guide explains the writing process and offers practical methods for applying it in your classroom to help students become proficient writers.

ReadWriteThink offers a storyboard sample and printable storyboard handout.

Pixar offers a video that can be used as a teaching tool and to introduce the concept to storyboarding.


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