Writing is so much fun in the early grades! I seriously hold my breath to see what the kids will write some days. You never know what will come out of their little pencils! They make me laugh, they create such fun stories, and sometimes they reveal personal pieces of their life and family.
I believe writing is so vital to the literacy block, something that deserves as much attention and focus as teaching children to read. I have worked hard to incorporate writing into my literacy block in a fun way.
Let me share some things I do to keep kids writing!
Use RUBRICS to show them how to be successful at their level.
Early writing can be discouraging to kids, because they are still getting a handle on their sounds and fine motor skills of writing letters. It can seem daunting to a five-year-old to get their thoughts on paper. To show them exactly how to be successful, I use a writers workshop rubric.
Start with such a basic rubric (especially in kindergarten), showing the expectation is that they simply draw a picture and attempt to write words that match. This may be as simple as drawing a dog, and writing one letter. As their skills increase, the rubric increases in expectation!
Connect writing to what you’re reading.
I love it when the literacy block can be integrated. For example, we read books by one author. We write in response to what we’re reading. We study words in the books. We look for connections between the books. We watch how the character change and interact. We do crafts and projects about that author’s books. It’s so fun, real, memorable, and full of deep learning. It’s a great way to avoid the “mile wide and an inch deep” issue, where we cover so many topics, but don’t go deeper into any of them. This is deep, rich learning.
To accomplish this, we do author studies during our literacy block. I have created several products to help this process! See my store for resources to support author studies on Eric Carle, Mo Willems, Kevin Henkes, Jeff Brumbeau, and Nancy Carlson.
Write about everything- Use writing prompts!
I love to let kids just free-write, and see what happens. I often would see stories about dinosaurs and princesses! And, I love having kids write about what they are reading, as I mentioned above. But sometimes, I love to guide their writing on a certain topic.
I use writing prompts around holidays, seasons, and big events. I want them to capture the moment in their writing, or think more deeply about the topic. I use these simple, one-page printables. Sometimes I keep them for portfolios or conferences, to show their amazing growth in their writing throughout the year. I assembled all my writing prompts into one huge bundle, so you can have them all in one place.
However you do it, keep those kids writing! Maybe summer is the perfect time to reevaluate how you use writing in class, and plan some fun new ways to write with your students!