Collaborative Literacy

Being a Writer

What is Being a Writer?

Part of Collaborative Literacy, Being a Writer provides a full year of research-based whole-class writing instruction for grades K–6. Using a workshop model, the Being a Writer program teaches the writing process while developing intrinsic motivation for the craft of writing through immersion in the narrative, informational, and opinion/argumentative writing genres. Instruction encourages students to write regularly with passion and intent as it builds an understanding of and appreciation for the skills and conventions of writing.

Creating classroom experiences that develop a love of writing and allow children to express their thinking requires thoughtful, intentional instruction. Being a Writer provides this instruction by interweaving academic and social skill development. Teachers facilitate student discussion, provide a model for the respectful exchange of ideas, and help students develop their own voices. With Being a Writer, students learn to love writing and grow through the grades as writers, thinkers, and principled people, and teachers hone their skills, both as teachers of writing and as writers themselves.

Supporting Every Writer

Read-alouds of exemplary writing stimulate the students’ imaginations and fuel their motivation to write. The read-alouds also allow students to hear, read, and discuss good examples of each genre. Lessons include shared and modeled writing and opportunities for students to share their writing with their peers. There is plenty of time for independent writing practice and conferring, which provides students with immediate feedback so that they can develop as writers at their own.


Independent Practice and Conferring

Every Being a Writer lesson includes Writing Time and conferring. Writing Time is a period of sustained writing when students work independently on authentic writing tasks for various purposes and audiences. In Being a Writer, students have a great deal of choice about what to write—even when writing about assigned topics, they draw on their unique experiences and interests to address those topics.

During Writing Time, teachers have the opportunity to write with the students, observe and assist as needed, and confer with individual students or pairs. Support for conferring during independent writing is built into each lesson so that teachers can provide students with individualized support.

Language Skills and Conventions

Students’ motivation to learn the conventions of written English grows out of their desire to communicate clearly with their readers in their published pieces. The Being a Writer program embeds instruction of skills and conventions into shared or modeled writing experiences after students have had ample time to draft their ideas. Mini-lessons covering standards-aligned skills are provided for grades 1–6 in the Skill Practice Teaching Guide, with practice activities in an accompanying Student Skill Practice Book.


Being a Writer assessment tools are designed to help teachers make informed instructional decisions as they teach the lessons and track their students’ writing and social development over time. Being a Writer assessments help teachers

  • recognize individual students’ strengths as well as areas for improvement
  • prepare students for standards-based, end-of-year writing performance tasks
  • evaluate students’ mastery of grade-level skills and conventions (grades 1–6)
  • determine grading, when needed.

Research-based and Standards-aligned

Our unique pedagogy has grown out of years of research on best practices in writing instruction and child development. Visit our correlations site to search for correlations to the Common Core and other state standards.

Collaboration with the National Writing Project

Many districts implementing the Being a Writer program are partnering with local National Writing Project sites to provide long-term professional development that supports teachers as they develop their writing instruction skills and strategies. Read more about this collaboration here.

Digital Resources

The CCC Learning Hub houses the digital resources that accompany Being a Writer. These resources enhance students’ learning experiences and help teachers streamline their preparation, instruction, and assessment processes.