Welcome to one of easiest, systematic and structured methods of supporting emergent writers and readers in creating their own written messages!  Predictable chart writing is a system for helping students express themselves in a highly supported manner as they are learning skills they need for conventional writing.  Here are the benefits:

  • High degree of motivation as students choose their own personalized messages
  • Ability to demonstrate writing for even the most emergent communicators
  • Simple, structured introduction to the conventions of literacy- left to right and top to bottom text, simple punctuation conventions,  spaces between words, initial word capitalization
  • Development of a core set of words from which to base reading, writing, listening and speaking competence

Please use this page as an introduction to Predictable Chart Writing only.  Our intention is for this to make you curious about how to implement this wonderful tool!  Throughout the page you will find direct links to detailed instructions and examples. Please click on any boldfaced, blue text to learn MUCH MORE!!

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Predictable Chart Writing is for EVERYONE!

We have had the the great fortune to work with Ms. Gardner's classroom over many years and are now able to share a little of this stellar classroom with you. Ms. Gardner graciously allowed us to co-teach a SNACK themed Predictable Chart with her students. In this video we are giving you a step by step process with video and photo examples.

This is the REAL WORLD, folks! We are moving and shaking, while snacking, listening and WRITING!

Sequence of Instruction

Getting Prepared to Write
Each predictable chart follow a consistent sequence of instruction that typically is introduced over the period of a week.  Step One: Pick a Topic
At first, instructors choose a motivating topic to write about. Topics can be simple items/activities the students enjoy, such as places they like to visit, leisure items (toys, games, videos), people they enjoy, favorite food items etc.  Slightly more advanced topics might be shared experiences (cooking, art or science projects, special classes or school activities, virtual and in person field trips.  Students can write about books they've read,  movies and characters, trips they've taken.  The topics are endless with the only caveat that the student WANTS to write about, talk about and read about it!  
Some topics we've seen classrooms write about:
Experiences at the State Fair:  "I saw ___."
My favorite snacks:  "I like ______."
Building a classroom "zoo" of plastic animals:  "I put in ______."
Recalling a favorite book:  "She eats _____."  (Little Old Lady Who...) or "I see a _____" (Brown Bear)
Sports I can do:  "I can play _____."  or,
Actions I like to do in the sensory room:  "I can jump/run/bounce...."
Our sundae making activity: "I put on _______." or simply "I like ______."
Step Two:  Choose a Sentence Stem
Sentence Stems are the beginning of the repeated sentence you will use in your chart.  These are made up of core sight words.  Your Project Core First 36 words are a good place to start.  With this set of words you can write many sentence stems such as "I like..." "I go...," "I put on...," "I put in....," "I do NOT like....," "I want to see...."  Google search "Predictable Chart Writing" for lots of ideas!!
Step Three:  Make a List of Possible Choices and Their Format
Once the topic is selected the instructor helps students make a list of the items they would like to include on the chart with input from the student (and sometimes friends and family!). The choices should be represented in a way the student is readily able to understand.  Some students may be reading individual words, "chips," "purple cat," "sprinkles."  Other students may need symbols, photos or objects to choose from. Although your chart will include the written text, the choices should be immediately understandable to the student so that they are making meaningful selections.  These symbols, photos or objects can be used as a visual support for the student when you are rereading the chart.
NOTE: You'll see examples of charts above which include objects or photographs.  This is one method of making the meaning more clear to the student, which is exciting for our first writing attempts! It does not encourage text comprehension, however, so we want to tweak that to include the actual text.  If your target is reading, let's go ahead and write the words and use the objects/photos/symbols as visual supports you can show and refer to as you read! You'll be amazed at how your students learn text when motivated and engaged over time!Hi B

Sequence of Writing Instruction

  1. Write the chart. The instructor writes the sentence stem on the paper, talking aloud through the process, spelling and reading aloud.  Each student takes a turn choosing what they want to end the sentence with.  The student may pick from the choices they understand (photos, picture symbols, objects).  The teacher writes the word on the end of the sentence starter.  The teacher confirms this is all the student wants to write and then adds a period.  The teacher writes the child's name in parentheses beside their sentence.  The student(s) read the sentence with support as needed. Each student takes a turn.
  2. Reread the chart. The instructor starts at the top of the chart and reads each sentence with the student(s) joining. This is an excellent opportunity to talk about individual words, letter sounds, using your "inner voice," and all of the other reading/writing conventions!
  3. Work with sentence strips. The teacher cuts the chart into strips, one for each sentence and gives the strip to each student.  The student either independently or with assistance, cuts the sentence into individual words.  The instructor will cue the student to notice the where the spaces are between the words.  If the instructor is assisting the student in cutting out each word, they will have the student show them where to cut.  This allows them to pay attention to the separation between individual words.  If your student can't cut or point, slide your finger along the sentence and ask the student to give you a "yes" indication for where you should stop and cut. You may need to cue this by moving SLOWLY over the spaces at first!  Once the words are cut out, the student works on rearranging the individual words to make the sentence again.  You can glue these onto a sentence strip! Encourage the student to read the sentence aloud, or "read in your head voice" while the instructor reads out loud.
  4. Be the sentence. Each student holds a word from the sentence.  They move around to line up so that the sentence makes sense, "sounds right!"  ACTION increased engagement and helps us to remember what we are learning!
  5. Make and publish the book. Publish the book in some way! Publishing doesn't mean calling Penguin Books! It just means that your book is distributed in some way.  The instructor will  help the students take their sentence strip and combine them into a book.  You can have each student take a picture with their sentence strip to illustrate each page of the book.  On each page you can write the sentence and include the photo.  Once the book is complete with one page per sentence, PUBLISH it by making copies to send home, use an inexpensive app like Book Creator  or Little Story Maker to create an speaking ebook, or load them into Powerpoint and print!  Pro Tip! Use your AAC device or application to allow your student to record their sentence out loud in the Book Creator or Little Story Maker app.  Two for one practicing writing AND speaking!

Development Resources


  1. Chart paper, markers (for large group), regular paper is fine for an individual
  2. Choices of sentence "enders" in a symbolic format that each student understands- photos, picture symbols, written choices, actual objects.  If they are speaking, they can tell you their choice!

Learning Resources:

  • START HERE ----> Project-Core.Com Short learning module to walk you through the process.   Continuing education certificate presented at the completion.
  • Project Core Handout (Shared by Literacy for All website)
  • Literacy For All Website: Great place to go for detailed information, background and research!
  • Predictable Chart Writing Website, Excellent detailed instructional information, maintained by Toby Scott, teacher and Assistive Technology Specialist, Edmonton Catholic School District.


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