RAFT is a writing strategy that helps students understand their roles as writers, the audience they will address, the varied formats for writing, and the topic they'll be writing about. By using this strategy, teachers encourage students to write creatively, to consider a topic from a different perspective, and to gain practice writing for different audiences.

How to use: Individually With small groups Whole class setting

Why use RAFT?

  • It includes writing from different viewpoints.
  • It helps students learn important writing skills such as audience, main idea, and organization.
  • It teaches students to think creatively about writing by responding to the following prompts:

    Role of the Writer: Who or what are you as the writer? A pilgrim? A soldier? The President?

    Audience: To whom are you writing? A friend? Your teacher? Readers of a newspaper?

    Format: In what format are you writing? A letter? A poem? A speech?

    Topic and strong verb: What are you writing about? Why? What's the subject or the point?
  • It can be used across various content areas

How to use RAFT

  1. Display a completed RAFT example on the overhead.
  2. Describe each of these using simple examples: role, audience, format, and topic. (It may be helpful to write the elements on chart paper or a bulletin board for future reference).
  3. Model how to write responses to the prompts, and discuss the key elements as a class. Teachers should keep this as simple and concise as possible for younger students.
  4. Have students practice responding to prompts individually, or in small groups. At first, it may be best to have all students react to the same prompt so the class can learn from varied responses.

Download blank templates

RAFT template

Watch: Why Do Writers Write? Understanding the Purpose for Writing

Help students understand purpose and audience in writing by modeling and providing opportunities to practice writing different forms, such as persuasive or explanatory text. See the lesson plan.

This video is published with permission from the Balanced Literacy Diet. See many more related how-to videos with lesson plans in the Writing Processes and Strategies section.

Collect resources

Language Arts

This site demonstrates using a RAFT to have students write about energy use in transportation. Students are provided a list of Roles, Audiences, Formats, and Topics from which they may choose for their writing assignment. See example >


This simple example shows how to use RAFT in a discussion about the role of different plant parts. See example >

Raft Writing Interactive

This site uses technology to assist with RAFT writing assignments. It provides an interactive template for students to type in possible Roles, Audiences, Formats, and Topics. See example >

Differentiated instruction

For second language learners, students of varying reading skill, students with learning disabilities, and younger learners

  1. Modify the strategy, so the student learns topic, role, format and audience separately and distinctly. Examples:
    • Write a letter to the President of the United States as yourself. What do you want to write about? You choose the topic.
    • Write an essay about how the school can do a better job of improving the environment as yourself. Who do you want to write it to?
  2. Have the student review the concept and assignment orally first. Be sure the student can explain to you what is meant by role, audience, format and topic.
  3. Use role playing as a method for explaining the different aspects of RAFT writing.
  4. As students become comfortable in responding to RAFT prompts, you can create more than one prompt for students to respond to after a reading, lesson, or unit. Varied prompts allow students to compare and contrast multiple perspectives, deepening their understanding of the content.
  5. Students may decide on their own topic or the teacher may provide that element in advance.

See the research that supports this strategy

Mitchell, D. (1996). Writing to learn across the curriculum and the English teacher. English Journal, 85, 93-97.

Santa, C., & Havens, L. (1995). Creating independence through student-owned strategies: Project CRISS. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

Children's books to use with this strategy

Two Bad Ants 

Two Bad Ants 

By: Chris Van Allsburg
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Separated from the colony, readers join two adventurous ants and see the world from a very different perspective.

I Face the Wind

I Face the Wind

By: Vicki Cobb
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Children are encouraged to observe as experiment as they learn about wind and air as well as practice science writing by describing their findings.



By: Nic Bishop
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stunning close-ups of colorful frogs in their natural habitats taken by an acclaimed photographer and biologist combine with clearly presented information on large, bright pages, sure to intrigue as well as inform readers of all ages.

Diary of a Worm

Diary of a Worm

By: Doreen Cronin
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

What icky creature looks the same from both ends? The worm, of course! For the first time ever, get the insider’s view of life from this creepy crawler’s perspective. He lives underground with his family, eats his homework and does his best to annoy his sister — documenting it all in a diary. Simple illustrations are the ideal complement to the understated humor (though nonetheless laugh-out-loud tone) of the text.

The Bunnicula Collection: Books 1 to 3

The Bunnicula Collection: Books 1 to 3

By: Deborah Howe, James Howe
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Family

Harold the family dog narrates three stories of life with supernatural suspicions which begins with Bunnicula, the bunny with fangs. In the Howliday Inn while boarding at the Chateau Bow-Wow, Harold and Chester (the Monroe cat) encounter a werewolf, perhaps. Chester and Harold must stop zombie vegetables when the Celery Stalks at Midnight. Over-the-top humor is very appealing to a broad range of listeners (including adults!).

Are We There Yet? A Journey Around Australia

Are We There Yet? A Journey Around Australia

By: Alison Lester
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The year Grace turned eight, her Mum and Dad took her and her siblings on a trip around Australia. The kids "missed school for the whole winter term" and Grace documented much of what she learned, where she went, and the adventures they had as they experienced the diversity of the continent. Grace’s informal voice is informative yet engaging, completed by line drawings and simple maps.

Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure

Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure

By: Jeff Brown
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Life as a paper-thin boy is not all bad as Stanley finds out. He was flattened by a bulletin board bit adjusts quite well with the help of his parents to his new dimensions — all of which makes for very funny reading (and travels in later books about Stanley and his family).


RAFT also works really well because it gives kids options. My kids use it to make brochures, newspaper articles, and so on.

This really helped me out with my class project, and I have nothing else to say, but this website is very informational

I have used RAFT projects with my 2nd Grade class and it is amazing. Students who are usually reluctant writers love the idea of taking an alternate perspective, especially of animals and objects. Example, my students wrote about "travelling" through the water cycle as a water drop. They had to use the vocabulary of the water cycle that we had already learned. The results were super!

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"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." — Kate DiCamillo