I am teaming up with some amazing K-1 teachers~Keeping Up With Mrs. Harris, Learning Lessons with Mrs. Labrasciano, and Fun in Room 3 (featured on Mrs. L's blog) on a four part blog series all about preparing your kindergartener for first grade. Topics include phonics, phonemic awareness, sight words, and mine--the power of drawing and writing! Join us and grab all of these freebies, too!
I am a firm believer that a forced writer is an unhappy writer. I've been the forced writer and I've been the teacher with the unhappy writer. Thank goodness times have changed, I've learned a thing or two, and the world of education has a better idea about what makes a great writer.
So how can parents with a child starting kindergarten or a child transitioning to first grade prepare their writer?
Step 1: Write. Let your child see writing in your life~grocery lists, notes to the teacher, etc.
Step 2: Write with your chid. By write, I mean draw and write. Sit next to your little writer and let them draw whatever they want. If they have trouble coming up with something, bring up a memory~a special place, trip, family member, favorite animal, etc. Once they have a picture, help them label the picture with the beginning sounds, or the whole word if they are ready. For example, if they draw a house, you would help them sound out the word and your child might write HS. That is awesome!
Once the masterpiece is done, you could have them give their work a title. (See freebie below!) The title for the house picture might be "Our House" or "Where I Live." Let them come up with it! It can be silly and fun! It can also be a few random letters stringed together. That's ok! When done, "read" the picture with your child. Whatever you do, don't write for your child! They will expect it next time and every time after that! You can write a letter on a sticky to show them how to form the letter, but don't write for them!
If your child is beyond this stage, move to helping your child with words and putting them into a sentence. (See freebie below!) Have them draw first (this helps them remember what they will write) and then write their words. Encourage them to talk while they draw. This (oral rehearsal) will help when they start writing their words.
If your child is beyond this or really loves this, staple pages together to make books or buy a fancy journal. If your not sure where your chid is as a writer, check out this great graphic from HeidiSongs!
Step 3: Celebrate your child as a writer! Hang up the pictures! Call the grandparents and have your child read their story (words or not!) Make it the screensaver on your iPhone! Post it to Instagram!
Step 4: Repeat and repeat often.
Becoming a better writer is much like becoming a better reader. The only way to get better at it is to practice, practice, practice! Keep it fun. As soon as it becomes stressful for you or your writer...stop. Do something else and revisit it later! That's what real writers do!
Here are two freebies to get you started! Each set includes one title paper and one paper with lines. The first set is vertical and the second is horizontal. Happy writing!
If you have another tip to share or a question, leave a comment! Thanks for checking out our hop!