Kindergarten Writing: read about tips and tricks to get your kindergarten students writing. With hands-on ideas and a freebie to get your writing center started, you will have your students writing in no time!
I’ve had this question a few times: How do you get your kindergarten students writing? I am going to try and answer this question in a blog post. Here’s the thing about writing: students will do it when they are ready, it takes a lot of patience sometimes, and every child is different.
This is important to remember: students come to school with different interests, skills, knowledge, and they all learn in different ways. If one way is not working, try a different way or just give them some time- they will write when they are ready (and they will shock you when they begin!)
I am going to give you a few ideas that we do in our classroom to encourage our students to become writers:
Model Kindergarten Writing
I complete all of our morning messages, charts, and bulletin boards with my students. They get to see that words have meaning, and they get to see that their words are important.
Model different strategies while writing with them:
- first letter sound (“sssschool, what letter/sound does school start with?”, “what letter says sssss?”)
- sight words (“‘you’ is a sight word that we know, how do we write that?”)
- stretching out simple words (“car- I hear three sounds, C-A-R, what letters are those?”)
This way students can hear and see the different writing strategies at work, and they will know how to use them when they begin to write.
We don’t begin with writing sentences. Most of our students don’t even know what a sentence is. Instead, we begin by labelling simple pictures (of course we model how to do this with them).
Students first draw their picture, then I encourage them to try and label 3 things on it. They can try to stretch out the whole world, or put the beginning sound that they hear and put a ‘magic line’ under it so that a teacher can help write the rest of the word.
You can also give your students an image to label. This way, they are focused on writing the words instead of making the image.
You can use these alongside provocation cards and posters to support your students as they learn to write.
This is a great way for them to start to see themselves as writers, without putting too much pressure on them to write whole sentences.
You can get both of these simple labelling templates in my Resource Library as free downloads!
Beginning to Write
Your students have to start writing somewhere. They can write the beginning sounds of words, or write sight words that they know. They may be able to copy words or a sentence that you write for them (I keep some sticky notes at our writing center for this purpose).
This is when a guided writing table is important. Our tables have 6 seats. I put two students by my side, and the last 3 chairs are left for students that can write independently. I can guide and help the students next to me, while still answering any questions from the other students at the table.
I start by asking them what they want to write, then they can draw a picture. Once they are ready, we write the sentence together. I guide them through beginning sounds, sight words or stretching out words.
I have found that helping them through the beginner writing stage gives them the confidence to start writing on their own.
If you want to know more about how to use small groups in kindergarten, check out this blog post.
Kindergarten Writing Trick: Highlighter
If there is an activity that I want a student to complete by writing in whole words, I write what they tell me with a yellow marker. That way, they can trace over the letter with a pencil, and begin their writing journey.
They love doing this, and you can even get them to write the first letter of the word, and then complete the rest with the yellow marker.
Kindergarten Writing Center: Class Books
I love making class books with my students. We make them all the time, then put them in our classroom library so that they can read them. Our students are always really excited when they can make a contribution to our books.
This way, our students see themselves as authors and they want to write. Find something that they are excited to write about, get them to want to write!
You can take a closer look at what our class books look like in this blog post!
I have a set of 40 class books in my store if you would like to try them with your class. You can find them here:
Combine creative writing and coding skills with fun My Coding Story writing prompts. These are so fun and can be differentiated to meet the needs of your students.
Setting Students up for Success
Your classroom environment can be a third teacher and setting it up with students in mind can lead to their success.
Those are some of the tricks I have used while teaching our kindergartners to write.
What are your favorite ways to get your students to begin writing? Let me know in the comments!
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