The Product Approach to Writing in 4 Steps

There are several ways to approach writing in the classroom.  One of these ways is the Product Approach which is a traditional approach to teaching writing in which students are encouraged to mimic a model text, which is usually presented and analyzed at an early stage.

Some of the benefits and characteristics of this approach are:

  1. Difficulties in writing are minimized since students start writing on a very controlled basis.
  2. Model texts are imitated.
  3. The organization of ideas is more important than the ideas themselves.
  4. A lot of emphases is placed on the end product

Now let’s learn more about the product approach to writing

Steps to Apply the Product Approach to Writing

There are four main steps in applying the product approach to writing.

  1. Students read a model text. Then they analyze the text by looking at the features, such as organization of ideas, use of language, etc.
  2. Students do controlled activities to practice the features highlighted in the analysis of the model text.
  3. Students prepare to imitate the model text by organizing a pre-determined set of ideas to fit the model
  4.  Students do the writing task by using the skills, structures, and vocabulary they have practiced to produce the expected written product.

Strengths and Weakness of the Product Approach to Writing


  1.  It is easy to use with large classes.
  2. It is really useful when teaching beginners.
  3. It is easier to grade because this approach mainly focuses on form.
  4. Difficulties and errors are usually minimized since this is based on imitation.
  5. Students know what the end results look like.


  1. This approach doesn’t teach students to write independently.
  2. It discourages creativity since this approach relies heavily on the imitation of model text.
  3. It devalues the learner’s linguistic and personal potential.

Product Approach to Writing: Sample Lesson

Introduction (15 minutes):

  1. Warm-Up (5 minutes):
    • Begin with a brief discussion about favorite dishes or cooking experiences. Encourage students to share their thoughts in pairs or small groups.
  2. Introduction to Model Text (10 minutes):
    • Present the model recipe text on the whiteboard or distribute printed copies.
    • Discuss the key features of the text: organization of ideas, language use, and any specific vocabulary related to cooking.
    • Ask students to identify the steps in the recipe, the use of imperative verbs, and any other language features.

Analysis and Controlled Activities (30 minutes):

  1. Group Analysis (15 minutes):
    • Divide the class into small groups and provide each group with a set of questions related to the model text.
    • Questions may include:
      • How is the recipe organized? (Introduction, ingredients, steps, conclusion)
      • What type of language is used to give instructions? (Imperative verbs, linking words)
      • Are there any specific cooking-related vocabulary words?
  2. Whole Class Discussion (15 minutes):
    • Have each group share their findings with the class.
    • Discuss commonalities and differences in the analyses.
    • Summarize the key points on the whiteboard.
  3. Controlled Activities (Homework or In-Class):
    • Distribute handouts with controlled activities that focus on organizing ideas, using imperative verbs, and incorporating appropriate vocabulary in a recipe context.
    • Assign these activities as homework or have students work on them individually in class.

Preparation for Writing (15 minutes):

  1. Modeling (5 minutes):
    • Review the key points from the analysis.
    • Provide a set of pre-determined ideas for a recipe and discuss how to organize them following the model text.
  2. Group Planning (10 minutes):
    • In small groups, ask students to organize a set of ideas for a different recipe. Emphasize the importance of using the skills and language features discussed.

Writing Task (30 minutes):

  1. Individual Writing (20 minutes):
    • Ask each student to write their own recipe following the organization and language features discussed.
    • Circulate around the room to provide assistance and feedback.
  2. Peer Review (10 minutes):
    • Have students exchange papers within their groups for peer review.
    • Encourage constructive feedback based on the model text and the skills practiced.

Conclusion (10 minutes):

  1. Class Discussion (5 minutes):
    • Bring the class back together to discuss the writing experience.
    • Ask students to share any challenges they faced and how they overcame them.
  2. Reflection (5 minutes):
    • Have students reflect on what they learned during the lesson, particularly in terms of organizing ideas and using appropriate language in recipe writing.

Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English