RAFTs Technique (Santa, 1988) is a system to help students understand
their role as a writer, the audience they will address, the varied
formats for writing, and the expected content. It is an acronym
that stands for:
of the Writer - Who are you as the writer? Are you Sir John A.
Macdonald? A warrior? A homeless person? An auto mechanic? The
endangered snail darter?
- To whom are you writing? Is your audience the Canadian people?
A friend? Your teacher? Readers of a newspaper? A local bank?
- What form will the writing take? Is it a letter? A classified
ad? A speech? A poem?
+ strong Verb - What's the subject or the point of this piece?
Is it to persuade a goddess to spare your life? To plead for a
re-test? To call for stricter regulations on logging?
all RAFTs writing assignments are written from a viewpoint different
from the student's, to another audience rather than the teacher,
and in a form different from the ordinary theme. Therefore, students
are encouraged to use creative thinking and response as they connect
their imagination to newly learned information.
Is Its Purpose?
purpose of RAFTs is to give students a fresh way to think about
approaching their writing. It occupies a nice middle ground between
standard, dry essays and free-for-all creative writing. RAFTs combines
the best of both. It also can be the way to bring together students'
understanding of main ideas, organization, elaboration, and coherence...in
other words, the criteria by which compositions are most commonly
Can I Do It?
one: Explain to the students how all writers have
to consider various aspects before every writing assignment including
role, audience, format, and topic. Tell them that they are going
to structure their writing around these elements. (It may be helpful
to display the elements on chart paper or a bulletin board for future
two: Display a completed RAFTs example on the overhead,
and discuss the key elements as a class.
three: Then, demonstrate, model, and "think aloud"
another sample RAFTs exercise with the aid of the class. Brainstorm
additional topic ideas, and write down the suggestions listing roles,
audiences, formats, and strong verbs associated with each topic.
four: Assign students to small, heterogeneous groups
of four or five or pairs and have them "put their heads together"
to write about a chosen topic with one RAFTs assignment between
five: Circulate among the groups to provide assistance
as needed. Then have the groups share their completed assignments
with the class.
six: After students become more proficient in developing
this style of writing, have them generate RAFTs assignments of their
own based on current topics studied in class.
Can I Adapt It?
This strategy is great for differentiation; teachers (and students)
can develop any number of possible RAFTs based on the same text
that can be adjusted for skill level and rigor.
The RAFTs strategy can be used as a prewriting strategy and/or
as a strategy for helping students prepare for a small or large
for assessing and evaluating RAFTs presentations in Microsoft