RAFT is a writing strategy to help students focus on four areas of communication. This strategy helps students understand and convey information on a given topic. RAFT is an acronym for the following:
Role of the Writer – The role is the perspective. Is the writer the President of the United States, a fifth-grade small-town student, a famous athlete, or any number of people? The role might include animals or inanimate objects such as toys.
Audience – The audience includes any person that will read the writing. This could be a large group such as a school body or an individual such as a school principal.
Format – Writing comes in all formats. Think letter, petition, instructions, television commercial, travel guide, newspaper article, journal entry, speech, and so on.
Topic – The topic is what you will be writing about. This can include endless possibilities.
An Example RAFT
A RAFT assignment might look like this:
|Role of the Writer
The first step in the RAFT strategy is for the student to consider the role they will take on as the writer.
The next step is for the student to consider their audience.
The student should then consider the format of the writing.
Finally, the student should consider the topic or subject of the writing.
character from a book
|President of the United States
group of parents
|saving the environment
changing a rule or law
promoting a product
informing the public
asking the public to help support a cause
Students are required to select one item from each column. One student may be a teacher writing a song for a group of parents asking them to change a rule in the school. Another person may be an artist addressing peers on a billboard that will inform them of an event. Dozens of options may be selected from just this one RAFT assignment.
This writing strategy not only helps students understand the varied formats of writing, but to know the audience they will address, their role as writers, and writing topics.
A RAFT lesson covers many teaching standards. In addition to the four areas of communication, assignments may also practice specific skills. For example, in the printables below the RAFT activity requires students to use onomatopoeia and/or alliteration.
The RAFT strategy works well with literature. Have students write from the perspective of one character addressing another character about a conflict in the novel.
RAFT may be used with science and social studies topics as well. The writer could be an apple talking to the other apples on the tree describing traveling through the digestive system. A chemist might write an email to workers in a factory explaining the dangers of mixing specific chemicals. A black bear could create a sign to post in the forest telling why he can’t eat the trout due to the harmful effects of acid rain. The role may be a pioneer creating a journal entry about the hardships of traveling by wagon.
You are only limited by your imagination.
The best part of the RAFT experience is the ease to differentiate instruction. For example, I placed students into three groups. Each group was given two choices of activities. The activities varied in difficulty from the easiest level which was mostly drawing to the most difficult which was to create a slogan for advertising or a comic strip.
When I used this activity in the classroom, students had to think creatively to complete these activities. The projects were challenging yet fun for the students. All in all, it was a great experience. I will defiantly use this project in future years.
Below are the 3 RAFT activities I have referred to in the example above. I’ve merged all the activities into one Google Slide presentation. The presentation is completely editable.
In these examples, students must select one full row. It doesn’t work to pick and choose from a mix of each row.
The RAFT writing strategy can be used to help students understand and convey information on a given topic.
You might also like the post Choice Boards (Think-Tac-Toe, BINGO, Menus, RAFT, & 1-3-5). This post goes over several types of choice boards and offers a free PowerPoint template.