RAFT (Role-Audience-Format-Topic)

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RAFT in literacy

RAFT is originally a writing strategy that requires students to write while considering several criteria provided by the teacher:

  • Role is the perspective from which they are writing and requires the writing to have perspective and voice.

  • Audience is who the writing is intended for.  It places a requirement on the student to consider how they might appropriately convey their intended message.

  •  Format is the type of writing that will be used.  These could be very specific, such as a letter to the editor for the local newspaper, or something much broader such as a personal narrative.

  • Topic is what the writing is about and it takes into consideration the role, audience, and format of the writing.

RAFT provides for much more purposeful writing that addresses the specific needs of a given composition and provides parameters from which the student can creatively and effectively write.  The goal in the RAFT prompt is to provide enough guidance that the reluctant writer has a starting point but not so much structure that it stymies individual creativity and expression.

RAFT can also be used as an analysis tool of existing writing by providing a framework for unpacking a given text to understand not only its structure but its function.

RAFT in Music

RAFT can be used in its original format as a writing prompt for music students to write a variety of music related texts, including concert reactions, self-evaluations, musical analyses, or program notes. These can be both meaningful and absurd in their nature, ranging from writing reactions of the spring concert as a critic for the local newspaper to responding to personal development from the perspective of a slime ball living inside the tuning slide of a trumpet.  Additionally, RAFT can be used to provide guidelines for musical compositions by providing parameters for meaningful writing.  For example, a compositional prompt could be that the student is commissioned to write a brief fanfare for instruments in their ensemble for a political candidate who is about to win an election.

RAFT can also be used to analyze existent works.  By using the criteria of RAFT, students can come to better understand the form and function of music they are studying, thereby situating it meaningfully in historical and social contexts.  It also allows students to view musical compositions as living works that both come from and go to real situations.  For example, studying William Billings' Chester using a RAFT technique reveals layers of meaning about the role that singing schools and religion played in Revolutionary period America and reveals how music can be used for multiple purposes as worship, propaganda, and community building.

Examples of possible prompts can be found here.

Additional resources


Reading Rockets