Protocol for Working with Writing Groups
Watch a Writing Group in Action

1. The conference begins with the writer explaining what the piece is about.

2. Next, the writer reads the paper aloud to the group while group members listen.

3. As the group members are listening they take copious notes keeping in mind what the writer shared during step one. These notes should include:

4. At the end of the reading, the writer should allow time for the group members to finish taking their notes. This is a good time for the writer to read over her piece and think about things she may want to work on revising and any other questions she may have.

4. Group members then “say back” what they felt were the main points of the piece. This step in the process is designed to get at both explicit and implied meaning. Group member can say “What I hear you saying here is…”

5.  Group members then point out words or phrases or passages that somehow strike them, stick in their minds, or seem important for some reason. These comments are always positive, but must also be specific. The purpose of this step is to help the writer see interesting parts of the piece that she may have neglected, but which might be worth exploring and developing. It helps to see your piece in a different light as your audience reacts to it.

6. Readers will then pose questions that they have.

7. The writer asks for any clarification that she needs. The writer should also check to make sure that her initial requests, that she expressed during step one, have been addressed.  

8. The conference ends with the writer explaining the next steps she will take in revising her piece and thanking his group for their help. Response notes should be kept by the readers and will be submitted with their next draft.

*After all steps have been completed move to the next writer.