Process-Oriented Writing Instruction in Elementary Classrooms

Evidence of Effective Practices from the Research Literature


  • Vicki McQuitty Towson University



computers and writing, elementary school, writing strategy instruction, writing workshop, writing conference, mentor texts, play in writing, primary grades, process writing


Process writing instruction is an influential paradigm in elementary classrooms, but studies of its effectiveness are mixed. These mixed results may occur because teachers implement process writing in vastly difference ways, which makes it difficult to assess the effectiveness of process approaches broadly. Therefore, this literature review examines the features of the process writing instruction are effective. Drawing on empirical evidence, it answers the question: What practices within process writing have evidence of effectiveness? A literature search was conducted and 93 studies that met the inclusion criteria were found. The studies were coded thematically and indicate seven categories of effective practices: writing strategy instruction, computers in the writing process, talk during the writing process, play during the writing process, including children’s ways of knowing, flexible participation structures, and mentor texts. Evidence about the effectiveness of these features and directions for future research are discussed.

Author Biography

Vicki McQuitty, Towson University

Vicki McQuitty received a Ph.D. from Syracuse University in 2011. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Elementary Education at Towson University, Towson, Maryland, where she teaches courses on writing and writing pedagogy for undergraduates and graduate students. She has previously published in the 59th Yearbook of the National Reading Conference and Research in the Teaching of English. While at Syracuse University, she received the Berj Harootunian Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement and Meritorious Dissertation Research.


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How to Cite

McQuitty, V. (2014). Process-Oriented Writing Instruction in Elementary Classrooms: Evidence of Effective Practices from the Research Literature. Writing and Pedagogy, 6(3), 467–495.



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