How to Teach Writing in Kindergarten

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Writing is one of the most difficult things that we ask our kindergarteners to do. There are so many skills that our students need to have in order to put their thoughts in writing! Due to this fact, writing can be one of the trickiest parts of the curriculum! If you’re feeling stuck when it comes to how to teach writing in kindergarten, keep reading for some tips and resources to get started.

How to teach writing in kindergarten

How to Teach Writing in Kindergarten

Step 1: Solidify Alphabetic Principles

Before diving into writing instruction, it’s important to take the time to solidify your students’ knowledge of the alphabet. They should be proficient with basic alphabet knowledge as well as letter formation.

Alphabet practice worksheets for the letter A

We can’t expect students to write words and sentences if they don’t have a solid foundation of letters and sounds. If students aren’t able to use their phonics and fine motor skills efficiently during the writing process, they will quickly become overwhelmed with the task. This can have a very negative impact on their motivation to write!

Step 2: Start with Simple Writing Tasks

Instead, the way to keep students motivated is to give them some quick wins right out of the gate! There are many different ways that you can help your students feel like writers without diving right into sentences.

Labeling unit materials

For example, you could have your students practice labeling objects in a picture. List writing is also fun for kindergarten students! These simple writing tasks help students get a feel for putting their ideas in writing, which helps them feel more confident.

Step 3: Teach Students About Sentences

Once students have had a chance to build their confidence in writing, it’s important to teach them about sentences in a kid-friendly way. This keeps them from becoming intimidated while giving them a purpose for putting words together into sentences.

I used to have my students chant: “A sentence is a group of words that tells us something.” This gives them a foundation for what they’re doing when they write; they are putting together a group of words to communicate an idea.

After students understand what a sentence is, it’s time to teach them the parts of a sentence. You can use kid-friendly terms for this as well. We called the subject of the sentence the “naming part” and the predicate of the sentence the “telling part.” 

It’s also important to teach students about the conventions of sentences. However, it’s best to introduce them gradually over a period of time so students don’t get overwhelmed. For example, you could start by teaching them about proper capitalization. (Many kindergarten students are surprised to learn that sentences don’t use all capital letters!) You can then move on to punctuation, spacing, and spelling.

Step 4: Use Visual Supports

By this point, your students have learned a lot about sentences! It can be tricky for them to remember everything as they’re working hard to put their thoughts in writing. This is where visual supports can come in handy!

A variety of printables for five-star sentences

A checklist like this can help your students remember the important parts of a sentence. They’ll be able to build their confidence and independence as they practice writing sentences. You can have these checklists on display in your classroom and printed off as small checklists for your students. I also like to include a checklist on the students’ actual writing assignments.

Step 5: Scaffold with Illustrated Prompts

When students have their visual supports handy, it’s time to start practicing! Giving students a blank piece of writing paper is setting them up for frustration, even if you give them an idea of what to write about.

Instead, you can work up to that by scaffolding your writing practice with illustrated writing prompts. Not only do the writing prompts give students a topic, but the actual picture can give students inspiration for what to write about. You can take it one step further and provide a sentence frame that goes along with the picture.

This gets students used to the idea of writing a complete sentence on a topic. Over time, they’ll come to rely on the sentence frames and pictures less and less. 

Step 6: Use Differentiated Writing Practice

As we all know, students won’t develop their writing skills at the exact same pace. Differentiating writing practice in your classroom can be easy with illustrated writing prompts. You can create writing journals for your students that are all on the same topic, but with different sentence frames based on their writing ability.

Three octopus writing prompts with different level of support

Some students will have the entire sentence frame. Others will have dotted letters for additional fine motor practice. Some students will have the picture with no sentence frame. Finally, you might have some students who are ready to complete a blank page on a given topic.

As students successfully complete these writing activities, they will grow in confidence as they develop their writing and fine motor skills.

Printable Writing Prompts for Kindergarten

Are you looking for an effective resource that will get your students excited about writing? I have put together a bundle of kindergarten writing prompts that will help you support your students with differentiated writing practice all year long. In this bundle you’ll find an entire year’s worth of seasonal and themed writing prompts with pictures and sentence starters. This easy-to-use resource also includes sentence writing checklists to help your students be more independent with their writing practice.

If you’d like to take a closer look at all of the themed writing prompts included in this resource, you can head over to the Teaching Exceptional Kinders shop or to my TPT store.

Picture Prompts - Writing Prompts Bundle for the Year with Writing Checklists

More Tips for Teaching Writing in Kindergarten

Check out this video with even more tips for teaching writing in kindergarten! This workshop is full of practical tips and ideas that will help you support the beginning writers in your classroom.

Save These Writing Tips for Kindergarten

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How to teach writing in kindergarten

Amy

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