Writing may not be our student’s favorite things to do. But as teachers, we understand writing helps us to effectively communicate our ideas and beliefs with others. Role Audience Format Topic (R.A.F.T.) is a writing strategy that gives students ownership of their writing assignments by allowing them to assume different roles, define their audience, choose their writing format, and create an appropriate topic. This writing strategy can be used in grades 5-12 and in any subject area.
R.A.F.T. can encourage even the most unmotivated students to write focused and engaging content.
Now that you know how R.A.F.T. can help your students, you may be wondering: “How does R.A.F.T. actually work?” To explain the R.A.F.T writing strategy effectively, lets break down each word of R.A.F.T. and how it will apply to students as they write.
Role: First, students need to decide whom or what role they will be as the writer. They should in essence become the role that they choose as they write. Will they be a specific TV star? A cartoon character? A car? If they can’t choose, they could always be themselves.
Audience: To whom or what will students be writing to? When students have a specific audience chosen, they learn to write content that will convince or interest their audience. Will their audience be parents? The president of the United States? The ocean?
Format: In what format will your students be writing? Is there writing assignment a news article? A love letter? An acceptance speech? Choosing a format allows a lot of creativity, which produces unique content that is more enjoyable to read and grade.
Topic: What are your students writing about? This part of the assignment can be chosen by the teacher for a specific graded assignment or students can be given free range to write about a topic of their own choosing. Will there topic be on algebraic equations? Relationships? The economy?
To further explain this strategy, I have provided you with an example:
Audience: Job Applicant
Format: Dear John Letter
Topic: You failed me.
Dear Job Applicant,
I remember the first day we met. You were so excited and you didn’t really know what to do with me. I was empty without you. You imprinted your life on me. I knew your objective was to obtain a position in a worthwhile company. I knew the jobs you held over the years that prepared you for our encounter. I even knew your home address. You were the most charitable of them all. Your volunteer experience spanned months not days. You engraved your skills upon my light, weightless body and left a reference so that I could attest to your good name.
But you failed me Job Applicant. You failed to advertise me as your only beloved. You made so many mistakes, misspelled words here, and wrong punctuation there. Slowly, I could see my credibility dwindling. I looked unprofessional with smudges, marks, and creases that braced my body. My font was too small to be seen by the naked eye. I laid there on that desk, hoping, desperately that someone would look beyond my mistakes. But it was too late. I had already made my first impression and therefore I shall make my last with you.
Now that you have seen an example, start writing your own example of R.A.F.T. The more examples you give students, the more they’ll understand this writing strategy.