Predictable Chart Writing lessons offer students at the Emergent level (and above) an opportunity to participate in structured and systematic shared writing activities that emphasize expressive language. Readtopia’s Predictable Chart Writing lessons, inspired by the strategy introduced by Cunningham (1979), expanded by Hall & Williams (2001), and adapted by Erickson & Koppenhaver (2019), utilizes student interests and experiences to engage the learner in a shared writing experience.
Designed to be taught during five, 15-minute lesson periods over the course of several chapters in the thematic unit, Predictable Chart Writing is composed of five activities that provide instruction in:
Use free Communication Boards to model and support participation by your AAC users. Some good resources include:
Readtopia Lesson Pix Communication Supports
(Readtopia Resources > Communication Supports > Lesson Pix)
Project Core (General Vocabulary)
The teacher leads students in writing a Predictable Chart. A topic (provided in the Teacher Guide lesson plans) is presented to the students. Teachers then guide students in brainstorming and listing words related to the topic. After generating the list, the teacher introduces the sentence stem and models selecting a word from the list to complete the stem. Next, each student chooses a word from the list or contributes a new word to complete their own sentences. The teacher writes each student’s sentence while modeling print conventions on the predictable chart.
Brainstorming helps students to participate in chart writing because it helps them think about the topic. For students who are struggling to think of words related to the topic, and/or who have limited communication abilities, facilitate brainstorming using:
See the Support Students Using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Adult Tip Sheet (located under the Resources tab > Adult Tip Sheets).
The teacher and students take turns leading the choral reading of the chart while pointing to each word as they read it. Next, the teacher identifies an element of text for students to focus on (i.e., a letter, sight word, capital letter, punctuation, etc.). Students actively engage in identifying the element of text the teacher identifies.
Students begin to explore and eventually demonstrate understanding of the concept of a word by cutting the sentences they composed into words and then arranging them back into a logical order.
Students are given word cards from the sentence and work together to line up to arrange their word cards in order to match the sentence on the predictable chart. Both the teacher and other students participate in coaching students to line up correctly.
Students take their sentences and contribute to making and publishing a class book. Students select an image to represent their sentences. The image and sentence are glued to a blank page to be combined with other students’ pages to create a book. The book can be added to the classroom library to be shared with everyone!
With guidance and support, participate in shared writing:
NOTE: Each Predictable Chart Writing lesson has additional objectives included in the thematic unit Teacher Guide.
“Predictable Chart Writing (Cunningham, 1979) is one way that a teacher can focus on the language selection component of writing, allowing students to develop skills in that area. It is particularly suitable for students who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) as it helps them to understand a lot about early writing, sentence structure and language selection in writing. It also allows all writers to be very successful – helping to build their self-confidence and image of themselves as a writer.”