Strategies for Teaching Writing in Kindergarten

By Sharon Taylor on March 30, 2012
  • Grades: PreK–K

Kindergarten students enter the school year with varying levels of ability, especially when it comes to writing. As a kindergarten teacher, I’ve seen a range of writing, from scribbling to writing sentences. The key is to begin with where they are. We all know that kindergartners are full of thoughts and ideas. They just don’t know how to express what they’re thinking in writing. 

After students are comfortable with the writing process, I begin to introduce them to the mechanics of writing simple sentences.  When teaching students about writing, I explain to them that writing is like telling a story on paper. I begin by showing them what their thoughts look like. For example, I have them share an idea while I write it on the chart. In the beginning I emphasize the content of the writing rather than grammatical correctness. 

 

 

Writing Simple Sentences

At the beginning of the school year, I introduce my students to writing simple sentences.  I like to begin the sentence and have my students finish it. Some starters I use are "I am," "I like," "I can," and "I want."  After several weeks of using sentence starters, many of my students are confident and ready to begin writing their own sentences. 

 

Descriptive Sentences

Once my students have mastered writing simple sentences, I encourage them to add a little sparkle to their work. For example, if a student writes “I like dogs,” have them explain what types of dogs they like.  Continue by guiding them through the creation of a new sentence.  For example: “I like brown dogs with curly hair.” 

I also like to use this expanding sentence activity when teaching my students to add descriptive words. I model this activity with my students several times to help them understand and master the concept. 

 

Writing Prompts

Later in the school year students are ready to move toward creative writing. They are ready to write sentences based on their own ideas from stories or actual experiences. I model doing this by giving them a writing prompt and then demonstrating the procedure for writing about the topic. Make sure you pick a topic that interests your students.  Most of the time, they do their best writing when they’re writing abut what interests them.  When I use writing prompts, I always give my students several to choose from. View a list of some of my kids' favorite writing prompts.  Scholastic offers some great ready-to-use writing prompt printables as well. 

 

Journal Writing

Writing is a skill that requires daily practice. Each day my students begin their morning by writing in their journals.  Students are free to write about a topic of their choice.  Journal writing is a great way for your students to practice articulating their thoughts.  Journals encourage students to retell or create their own stories as well as to practice fine motor skills and letter formation.  Journals can also help teachers measure progress and find out more about their students' interests. 

 

For some great ideas to incorporate in your classroom writing center, I invite you to visit my Scholastic post "A Kindergarten Writing Center in Action." Some of my favorite resources for teaching writing include the Scholastic publications First Lessons for Beginning Writers by Lola M. Schaefer; Step-by-Step Writing Lessons for K1 by Waneta Davidson, Deneen Wuest, and Deanne Camp; Teaching Real-Life Writing to Young Learners by Paula Jensvold; and Teaching Writing in Kindergarten by Randee Bergen. The site Mrs. Meacham's Classroom Snapshots by 1st grade teacher Jessica Meacham has also been a great resource.

What writing strategies do you use in your classroom? Please comment below.

 

Comments

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I need some sentences which are used in classrooms by teachers...like very gud, keep quiet, no noise, well done.,,,,,etc,,, as iam a new teacher,, need to exoand my vocabulary for classroom teaching...ols help...alsi suggest some games or puzzles to keep grade1 student occupied

thank you so much for sharing with us, it was definitely helpful. My little boy is in nursery and is about to start writing alphabets but the problem is that he restrains from holding the pencil. thus, his writing is very light and not definite. he is able to write the initial slashes that r required before starting to write but not with enough pressure on the pencil. i have tried everything for him to apply adequate pressure on the pencil but in vain. Please help as the rest of his class is moving ahead swiftly. Other than that he is a smart boy and orally very active.

thank you

I was struggling with where and how to start teaching my twins how to write sentences. Thanks for the inspiration.

thank you very much, this blog can help me finish my assigment.

Applying this with the boys

Where did you get the notebook in the last picture?

You are very good and a great inspirational teacher. I love how you to teach your kids writing. I will try them with my kids.

Typo mistakes I made in my previous post

two co-teachers

and the examples of your simple sentences

journey to become
I accidenttally pressed the submit button before proofreading my post.

Hello Mrs. Taylor,

I was very touch with your blog. I am seeking to be a kindergarten teacher myself. I am currently interning in a class of 38 with to
co-teachers. Reading your blogs and example of your simple sentence was a blessing to come across. I pray that GOD continue to bless you in your fsmily. Thank you for sharing a brief testimony about your journal to become a teacher.

Thank you for sharing. One of the things I also like to do is use previously introduced High Frequency words as sentence starters. I also encourage students to use these words when writing their own sentences. Great resources thank you!

I loved this. Being new to kindergarten I appreciate the way it was broken down to how I should begin and what I should expect later. Thanks.

Thanks for sharing, it was very helpful.

Me too, I guess i loved the first 2 parts more. Simple sentences and descriptive writing

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