Metawriting: Empowering students to discover their knowledge of writing
Madeleine Mejia 1 *
More Detail
1 California State University Fullerton, United States
* Corresponding Author


This qualitative study investigated the influence of Metawriting, or “writing about writing,” on fifth-grade students’ knowledge of writing and proficiency in composing informative essays. Using a Think-Talk-Write model, students explored their existing writing knowledge and experiences, analyzed their essays using genre-specific tools, and discussed their insights with peers. Students kept a Metawriting journal to document their self-assessment experiences, capture their observations and create writing goals. An analysis of the data revealed that the iterative process of the Think-Talk-Write model to teach Metawriting guides students through well-defined stages, enhancing their metacognitive declarative, procedural, and conditional knowledge of writing. By thinking, talking, and writing about their writing, students became more aware of who they are in the writing process, enhanced their knowledge of informative text structures, and exhibited increased self-regulatory skills.  


Supplementary Files


  • Andrade, H. L., Du, Y., & Wang, X. (2008). Putting rubrics to the test: The effect of a model, criteria generation, and rubric‐referenced self‐assessment on elementary school students’ writing. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 27(2), 3-13.
  • Barbeiro, L. F. (2011). What happens when I write? Pupils’ writing about writing. Reading and Writing, 24, 813-834.
  • Berliner, D.C. (1994). Expertise: The wonder of exemplary performance. In J.N. Mangieri & C.C. Block (Eds.), Teaching thinking for teachers and students: Diverse perspectives (pp. 163–186). Harcourt Brace.
  • Braund, H., & Soleas, E. (2019). The struggle is real: Metacognitive conceptualizations, actions, and beliefs of pre-service and in-service teachers. In J. Mena, A. García-Valcárcel, & F. J. García-Peñalvo (Eds.), Teachers’ professional development in global contexts (pp. 105-124). Brill.
  • Chung, H. Q., Chen, V., & Olson, C. B. (2021). The impact of self-assessment, planning and goal setting, and reflection before and after revision on student self-efficacy and writing performance. Reading and Writing, 34, 1885-1913.
  • Colognesi, S., Piret, C., Demorsy, S., & Barbier, E. (2020). Teaching writing–with or without metacognition?: an exploratory study of 11-to 12-year-old students writing a book review. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 12(5), 459-470.
  • Creswell, J. W. (2012). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among fiveapproaches. Sage.
  • De Smedt, F., Graham, S., & Van Keer, H. (2020). “It takes two”: The added value of structured peer-assisted writing in explicit writing instruction. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 60, 101835.
  • Driscoll, D. P. (2010). Writing framework for the 2011 national assessment of educational progress. National Assessment Governing Board-US Department of Education.
  • Dunlosky, J., & Metcalfe, J. (2009). Metacognition. Sage.
  • Finlayson, K., & McCrudden, M. T. (2020). Teacher-implemented writing instruction for elementary students: A literature review. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 36(1), 1-18.
  • FitzPatrick, E. R., & McKeown, D. (2021). Writing from multiple source texts: SRSD for fifth grade learners in inclusive settings. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 36(3), 188-200.
  • Flavell, J. H. (1979). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new era of cognitive developmental inquiry. American Psychologist, 34, 906–911.
  • Gadd, M., Parr, J. M., Robertson, J., Carran, L., Ali, Z., Gendall, L., & Watson, K. (2019). Portrait of the student as a young writer: Some student survey findings about attitudes to writing and self‐efficacy as writers. Literacy, 53(4), 226-235.
  • Gillespie, A., Olinghouse, N. G., & Graham, S. (2013). Fifth-grade students' knowledge about writing process and writing genres. The Elementary School Journal, 113(4), 565-588.
  • Gorzelsky, G., Driscoll, D. L., Paszek, J., Jones, E., & Hayes, C. (2016). Cultivating constructive metacognition: a new taxonomy for writing studies. Critical transitions: Writing and the question of transfer, 12(4), 215-228.
  • Graham, S. (2018). A revised writer (s)-within-community model of writing. Educational Psychologist, 53(4), 258-279.
  • Graham, S. (2023). Writer (s)-Within-Community model of writing as a lens for studying the teaching of writing. In R. Horowitz (Ed.), The Routledge International Handbook of Research on Writing (pp. 337-350). Routledge.
  • Graham, S., & Harris, K. R. (2017). Evidence-based writing practices: A meta-analysis of existing meta-analyses. In R. F. Redondo, K. Harris, & M. Braaksma (Eds.), Design principles for teaching effective writing (pp.13–37). Brill.
  • Graham, S., Herbert, M., & Harris, K. R. (2015). Formative assessment and writing: A meta-analysis. The Elementary School Journal, 115(4), 523–547.
  • Graham, S., McKeown, D., Kiuhara, S., & Harris, K. R. (2012). A meta-analysis of writing instruction for students in the elementary grades. Journal of educational psychology, 104(4), 879-886.
  • Hacker, D. J., Keener, M. C., & Kircher, J. C. (2009). Writing is applied metacognition. In Handbook of metacognition in education (pp. 154-172). Routledge.
  • Harris, K. R., Graham, S., & Mason, L. H. (2006). Improving the writing, knowledge, and motivation of struggling young writers: Effects of self-regulated strategy development with and without peer support. American educational research journal, 43(2), 295-340.
  • Harris, K. R., Graham, S., Brindle, M., & Sandmel, K. (2009). Metacognition and children’s writing. In D. Hacker, J. Dunlosky, & A. Graesser (Eds.), Handbook of metacognition in education (pp. 131-153). Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Harris, K. R., Ray, A., Graham, S., & Houston, J. (2019). Answering the challenge: SRSD instruction for close reading of text to write to persuade with 4th and 5th Grade students experiencing writing difficulties. Reading and Writing, 32(6), 1459-1482.
  • Hoogeveen, M., & van Gelderen, A. (2018). Writing with peer response using different types of genre knowledge: Effects on linguistic features and revisions of sixth-grade writers. The Journal of Educational Research, 111(1), 66-80.
  • Joyce, D. J. (2002). On the use of metawriting to learn grammar and mechanics. Quarterly-National Writing Project, 24(4), 24-27.
  • Jozwik, S., & Cuenca-Carlino, Y. (2020). Promoting self-advocacy through persuasive writing for English learners with learning disabilities. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 39(2), 82-90.
  • Kim, Y. S. G., Yang, D., Reyes, M., & Connor, C. (2021). Writing instruction improves students’ writing skills differentially depending on focal instruction and children: A meta-analysis for primary grade students. Educational Research Review, 34, 100408.
  • Koster, M., Tribushinina, E., de Jong, P. F., & van den Bergh, H. (2015). Teaching children to write: A meta-analysis of writing intervention research. Journal of writing research, 7(2), 249-274. ​​
  • Lange, U. (2008). Learning from fiction-using metawriting to overcome writing problems. Zeitschrift Schreiben.
  • McCutchen, D. (2006). Cognitive factors in the development of children’s writing. In C. MacArthur, S. Graham, & J. Fitzgerald (Eds.). Handbook of writing research (pp. 115–130). The Guilford Press.
  • McKeown, D., FitzPatrick, E., Brown, M., Brindle, M., Owens, J., & Hendrick, R. (2019). Urban teachers’ implementation of SRSD for persuasive writing following practice-based professional development: Positive effects mediated by compromised fidelity. Reading and Writing, 32(6), 1483-1506.
  • Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. Jossey-Bass.
  • National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). The nation's report card: Writing 2015 (NCES 2016-464). U.S. Department of Education.
  • Negretti, R. (2012). Metacognition in student academic writing: A longitudinal study of metacognitive awareness and its relation to task perception, self-regulation, and evaluation of performance. Written Communication, 29(2), 142-179.
  • Olinghouse, N. G., & Graham, S. (2009). The relationship between the discourse knowledge and the writing performance of elementary-grade students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(1), 37-50.
  • Olinghouse, N. G., Graham, S., & Gillespie, A. (2015). The relationship of discourse and topicknowledge of fifth graders’ writing performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(2), 391–406.
  • Patton, M.Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods. Sage.
  • Peltier, C., Garwood, J. D., McKenna, J., Peltier, T., & Sendra, J. (2021). Using the SRSD instructional approach for argumentative writing: A look across the content areas. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 36(3), 224-234.
  • Philippakos, Z. (2017). Giving feedback: Preparing students for peer review and self-evaluation.The Reading Teacher, 71(1), 13–22.
  • Ray, A. B., Torres, C., & Cao, Y. (2023). improving informative writing in inclusive and linguistically-diverse elementary classes through self-regulated strategy development. Exceptionality, 31(5), 1-25.
  • Rodríguez-Málaga, L., Cueli, M., & Rodríguez, C. (2021). Exploring the effects of strategy-focused instruction in writing skills of 4TH-grade students. Metacognition and Learning, 16(1), 179-205.
  • Salas, N., Birello, M., & Ribas, T. (2021). Effectiveness of an SRSD writing intervention for low-and high-SES children. Reading and Writing, 34(7), 1653-1680.
  • Sarikaya, İ., & Yılar, Ö. (2021). Exploring self-regulation skills in the context of peer assisted writing: Primary school students’ sample. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 37(6), 552-573.
  • Scherff, L., & Piazza, C. (2005). The more things change, the more they stay the same: A survey of high school students' writing experiences. Research in the Teaching of English, 39(3), 271-304.
  • Schraw, G. (2009). A conceptual analysis of five measures of metacognitive monitoring. Metacognition and learning, 4(1), 33-45.
  • Schunk, D. H., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2007). Influencing children’s self-efficacy and self-regulation of reading and writing through modeling. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 23(1), 7-25.
  • Sun, T., Wang, C., & Wang, Y. (2022). The effectiveness of self-regulated strategy development on improving English writing: Evidence from the last decade. Reading and Writing, 35, 2497–2522.
  • Taczak, K. (2015). Reflection is critical in the development of writers. In L. Adler-Kassner & E. Wardle (Eds.), Naming what we know: Threshold concepts of writing studies (pp. 78-79).
  • Taczak, K., & Robertson, L. (2017). Metacognition and the reflective writing practitioner: An integrated knowledge approach. In P. Portanova, J. M. Rifenburg, & D. Roen (Eds.), Contemporary perspectives on cognition and writing (pp. 211-229). WAC Clearinghouse.
  • Wilson, J., & Wen, H. (2022). Upper-elementary students’ metacognitive knowledge about writing and its relationship to writing outcomes across genres. The Elementary School Journal, 123(1), 99-127.
  • Zimmerman, B. J., & Risemberg, R. (1997). Becoming a self-regulated writer: A social cognitive perspective. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 22(1), 73–101.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.