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RAFT: Role/Audience/Format/Topic

What is it?

The RAFT strategy (Santa,1988) employs writing-to-learn activities to enhance understanding of informational text. Instead of writing a traditional essay explaining a concept learner, students demonstrate their understanding in a nontraditional format. This technique encourages creative thinking and motivates students to reflect in unusual ways about concepts they have read. RAFT is an acronym that stands for :

   · Role of the writer: What is the writer's role: reporter, observer, eyewitness, object, number,etc.?

   · Audience: Who will be reading the writing: the teacher, other students, a parent, editor, people in the community, etc.?

   · Format: What is the best way to present this writing: in a letter, an article, a report, a poem, an advertisement, e-mail, etc.?

   · Topic: Who or what is the subject of this writing: a famous scientist, a prehistoric cave dweller, a character from literature, a chemical element or physical object, etc.?

The RAFT strategy forces students to process information, rather than merely write out answers to questions. Students are more motivated to undertake the writing assignment because it addresses various learning styles.

How could it be used in instruction?
This writing-to-learn strategy engages students in explaining what they know about a topic and elaborating on the topic in a fun way.

How to use it:

1. Think about the concepts or process that you want students to learn as they read a selected passage. Consider how writing in a fun way may enhance students' understanding of the topic.
2. Brainstorm possible roles students could assume in their writing.
3. Decide who the audience would be as well as the format for writing.
4. After students have finished reading, identify the role, audience, format and topic (RAFT) for the writing. Assign the same role for all students, or let them choose from several different roles.

Examples of RAFT Assignments

Role

Audience

Format

Topic

2nd grader 1st graders Top 10 list in order
of importance
Community helpers
One community helper Another community helper Letter Why I am more
important than you
Community helper Community Speech Why you can't do
without me
2nd grader Newcomer to the community How-to list or set
of directions
How to get your needs
met in our community

Role

Audience

Format

Topic

Newspaper Reporter Readers in the 1870's Obituary Qualities of General Custer
Lawyer U.S. Supreme Court Appeal Speech Dred Scott Decision
Abraham Lincoln Dear Abby Advice Column Problems with his generals
Mike Royko Public News Column Capital punishment
Frontier Woman Self Diary Hardships of the West
Constituent U.S. Senator Letter Gun control
News Writer Public News Release Ozone layer has been formed
Chemist Chemical company Instructions Combinations to avoid
Wheat Thin Other Wheat Thins Travel Guide Journey through the digestive system
Plant Sun Thank-you note Sun's role in plant's growth
Scientist Charles Darwin Letter Refute a point in evolution theory
Square Root Whole Number Love letter Explain relationship
Repeating Decimal Set of Rational Numbers Petition Prove you belong to this set
Cook Other cooks Recipe Alcoholism
Julia Child TV audience Script Wonders of eggs
Advertiser TV audience Public Service Importance of fruit
Lungs Cigarettes Complaint Effects of smoking
Huck Finn Jim Letter What I learned during the trip
Joseph Stalin George Orwell Letter Reactions to Animal Farm
Comma 9th grade students Complaint How it is misused
Trout Self Diary Effects of acid rain on lake

RAFT Examples for Math

Role

Audience

Format

Topic

Zero Whole numbers Campaign speech Importance of the number 0
Scale factor Architect Directions for a blueprint Scale drawings
Percent Student Tip sheet Mental ways to calculate percents
Repeating decimal Customers Petition Proof/check for set membership
Prime number Rational numbers Instructions Rules for divisibility
Parts of a graph TV audience Script How to read a graph
Exponent Jury Instructions to the jury Laws of exponents
One Whole numbers Advice column Perfect, abundant, deficient, amicable numbers
Variable Equations Letter Role of variables
Container Self Diary Comparing volume measurements
Acute triangle Obtuse triangle Letter Explain differences of triangles
Function Relations Article Argue the importance of functions

RAFT Examples for Science

Role

Audience

Format

Topic

Water drop Other water drops Travel guide Journey through water cycle
Bean Self Diary Process of germination
Frog Tadpole Letter Life cycle
Electron Fourth grade students Letter Journey through a parallel circuit
Limestone rock Cave visitors Postcard Chemical weathering process
Statue Dear Abby readers Advice column Effect of acid rain
Trout Farmers Letter Effects of fertilizer runoff
Duck U.S. Senator Letter Effects of oil spill
Star Self Diary Life cycle
Peregrine falcon Public News column Effects of DDT
Red blood cell Lungs Thank-you note Journey through circulatory system
Liver Alcohol Complaint Effects of drinking
Lungs Brain Thank-you note Quitting smoking
Rusty old car Previous owner Letter Chemical change

RAFT Examples for Social Studies

Role

Audience

Format

Topic

Sacajawea Jean Baptiste Letter Our travels with Lewis and Clark
Newspaper Reporter Readers in 1851 News report Native Americans sign treaty at Ft. Laramie
Dead Confederate Soldier Robert E. Lee Complaint Pickett's Charge
Bird Wright Brothers Complaint New invention disrupts skies
21st Century Woman Susan B. Anthony Thank-you note Women's Rights
Alexander the Great Aristotle Letter What I have seen on my journeys
Ben Franklin Dear Abby Advice column My son likes the British
Kaiser Wilhelm II European Heads of State Recipe How we can start a World War
Kit Carson Future tourists Travel guide Beautiful places in the West
Mohandas Gandhi Martin Luther King Jr. Letter Nonviolent opposition/resistence
Great Wall of China Self Diary Invaders I have seen and stopped
Colorado River Rafters Travel guide What you will see if you travel my length
Rain Forest Humans Complaint Deforestation
Constituent Governor Letter State taxes
21st Century American James Madison Thank-you note The Constitution