| |

Setting Up Writing Instruction In A Kindergarten Classroom

Setting up writing instruction in a kindergarten classroom can feel daunting. It may feel as if there is no perfect solution. I have taught either kindergarten or first grade for 20 years and I have some tips that you may find useful as you plan your kindergarten writing instruction for the coming school year (or if you want to revamp in the middle of the year).

Make A Writing Plan

When you create your instructional calendar for the year, make sure you plan out your writing instruction as well. When I plan out my year I always give myself at least two months to teach how to illustrate and label a picture before diving into the three types of writing. Usually, the end of August, September and part of October we are working on the alphabet (drawing things that start with different letters of the alphabet and learning how to form the letters). We are practicing labeling pictures at this time too. Labeling gives them just enough confidence to practice writing letters and sounds without frustrating them too much. As we learn some of our first sight words we can practice simple sentences such as: “I see a ______.” and “I like the ____.” Starting with simplicity also helps me create a daily writing time.

Next we dive into Opinion Writing during the fall months. I use writing prompts to help them spend more of their time practicing the opinion part of the writing. Check out this blog post to see specifically how I teach Opinion Writing:

5 Steps To Assist Early Writers With Opinion Writing

Here is a great resource if you need a format for opinion writing:

Would You Rather class book bundle cover and link

During December and January I love to work on Informational Writing. By now, they have had some successful months learning to write and are ready to write facts (or at least illustrate their facts and label). It’s really easy to use animals to introduce informational writing such as reindeer, penguins and polar bears. Here is blog post that explains how I love to teach Informational Writing:

Informational Writing in the Kindergarten Classroom

Here is an Informational Writing resource that can assist you as you teach young writers:

informational writing in winter to help you with setting up writing instruction in your kindergarten classroom

I love to teach Narrative Writing during late winter and early spring months (February and March). They are ready to write complete sentences and start working on stories. You could do a Fairy Tale unit during this time and let them make up a wild story. Or you could have them do personal narratives about things they like to do or what happened when they were on vacation. I break this writing into days and we map the whole story out on day 1 (using illustrations) and each day we write a sentence or two (day 2 – beginning of story; day 3 – middle of story; day 4 – end of story; day 5 – finish all illustrations and share).

Then in April and May I review Opinion Writing, Informational Writing and Narrative Writing. For example when we are hatching chicks we are working on all three types of writing: our opinion of the chicks, information about how they hatch and a personal story of our experience with the chicks.

Three Parts To Writing Instruction

Okay…this is my favorite part to share! This is the nitty gritty of each day. I have three main parts to each writing lesson. First we gather together at the carpet and I model writing a sentence or illustrate and label a picture. This allows my students to practice the skills they are about to do and reinforces many of the letters and sounds they will be using in their writing. I’m also a big proponent of Secret Stories. This resource helps students be able to use digraphs for their spelling needs before it’s formally introduced. It’s a great philosophy and worth looking into.

Second, my students have independent writing time. This is a time when I send students back to their seats to work on their writing. We are either beginning a piece of writing or we are in the middle of it. We use a Word Wall for introduced sight words that they know how to use and we have a board with the Secret Stories we have been learning. During this time I walk around supporting students and reminding them how to sound out the words and where to look for help. This is not a time of me telling them how to spell a word. Here is a blog post that explains all the details:

Teaching Kindergarteners How To Write Is No Fairy Tale

Third, we gather back at the carpet to share our learning, a piece of writing or discuss what we’ll be doing tomorrow. This all depends on how our day is going. I start this process earlier if I can tell students are getting restless. I might make this part of our day super short if we need more independent writing time. This is a great time to let one or two students share their work. It’s also a great time to review what they will be doing tomorrow during their writing block.

Some days we only do independent writing and there are some days we do not meet back at the end. This is because of the time pressures. But in an ideal setting…all three components are important.

Add Writing To Centers

I also love to have a Writing Center where they can practice their writing skills during our Reading Group time. In this center I add student writing books or writing prompts with vocabulary cards that go with our weekly theme. Here are some examples of what I might put in this center:

Example of labeling page for the writing center
example of a book for the writing center
example of a writing prompt
writing center cover and link

These come in lots of themes so when you check out this Writing Center you can also look at the all the other themes in the description.

Setting up writing instruction in kindergarten can be quite simple. There are a lot of little details to think about but keep the structure of the day simple and predictable in the kindergarten classroom and you will find that your students thrive and find writing time to be their favorite part of their day…well…besides lunch and recess!

Similar Posts