What 5 year old writing looks like:
Reading and writing is connected. If we want our children to be good readers, then we must also teach and encourage good writing. So how does writing look for a kindergartner?
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This is my daughters writing at 5 years 1 month old (September) It is a free write, meaning I allow her to write whatever she wants in “kid writing.” This was done independently on the back of an envelope. She was writing the rules to a game she created. “Let ball jumps over the red ball. Be a good sport.” She writes phonetically using a mixture of capital letters and lower case, no spaces, but is beginning to use some of the sight words we have been practicing in reading (the). After these type of free writing occurs, I would then have her read it back to me, say a kind word about her writing and we would talk about one thing she could change or add in her writing to make it stronger. After this writing, we may talk about the importance of punctuation and have her go back and add a period at the end of each sentence this time. I usually only choose one or two items to focus on as I want her to continue expressing her creativity with writing without being overwhelmed. Some ideas to focus on in these “mini lessons” are punctuation, writing using their known sight words, capitalization, spaces, adding details, starting sentences with words other than I, and using describing words.
This is a sample of her writing at 5 years 2 months old (October) It is a free write and was done independently. As you can see, she now has spaces, punctuation, and is spelling more words correctly. She read this “poem” to me, “Hot chocolate is hot. Salad is Green. But my favorite thing is to be with my friends.” We talked about where she got her ideas from (were all these things really connected?) and she explained that we had been reading the book
How to Encourage Kindergarten Writing
How to Encourage Kindergarten Writing Tip #1. Start a free write journal
Free write means that children are allowed to write about anything they choose. You are welcome to help them brainstorm possibilities when they are stuck, but for the most part, they should be writing what they want to write about. We like to use a combination of blank paper and the half blank, have sentence strip paper as well. Like this one
My kids LOVE to use store bought cards and write letters to family members. This writing activity is a WIN-WIN for letting the kids have extra writing practice in an authentic way AND helping them connect with family members. We buy our cards in bulk at the dollar store. Blank sets of scrapbooking cards work too. Kids love to decorate the outsides.
*Don’t forget to keep a set of real stamps handy. Part of the fun of writing letters to family is actually being able to mail them
How to Encourage Kindergarten Writing Tip #3. Make a poster for an upcoming event
Have a garage sale coming up? Let your child help advertise for it. Maybe you are planning a birthday party or family reunion. Encourage your child to join in the festivities and create a poster for your upcoming event. Have them draw and write on regular copy paper. When they have their final draft ready, COPY it and allow them to distribute their posters.
How to Encourage Kindergarten Writing Tip #4. Let them help you write your grocery list
We all need groceries – so capitalize on your eager helpers willingness to write the list. I keep an ongoing magnet list on the fridge and when I am out of something, I have one of the kids add to the list. My 5 year old does not yet write words, so he just draws the picture or writes the beginning sound on the next line.
How to Encourage Kindergarten Writing Tip #5. Make paper, pencils, markers, envelops and other cool writing tools available to your children.
As a teacher, I know that if materials are tucked away in closets, they are not always being used. Make sure that there are plenty of writing materials available to your children. We have a writing station set up in our home with pens, pencils, crayons, home-made books, and copy paper. I’ll add in stickers and markers to change things up. Having this station available in plain sight means that the kids write every day (without me even asking them too). Look at your home and see if there is a space where you can have writing tools out and available to your children on a daily basis.