And NOW….The Final Post in FLC’s 5~Part First Grader’s Series….
Enriching the FLC with your First Grader’s Writing Skills has its challenges and rewards…..
Wish you (or someone) could record all those wonderful new ideas & vocabulary words your incredibly bright First Grader is sharing?
Writing them down would take more than a considerable amount of time…
However, encouraging the source of all that growth to write down all those ideas & words shouldn’t be too difficult…Should it ?!?!?
Part FIVE: The Hard-Won Skill of Writing
Teach children what to think and you limit their ideas. Teach children how to think and their ideas are unlimited. ~ Sandra Parks
What favorite story, or stories do you tirelessly read again & again?
Which author do you trust to transform dull, dry facts into fascinating information?
What cookbook(s) and/or manual(s) do you refer to constantly with easy-to-follow directions that always bring great results?
Do you have a favorite editor and/or critic whose opinion you value, even when you don’t share the same view(s) about certain topics ?
You are one of the reasons why writers write !
Not only do writers love to write (on most days), they, also, write to share ideas, important events & teach. They want to share & communicate their experiences, feelings & information. They love to ask questions & solve mysteries or problems.
As a writer, you tell your story as only you can. Whether reflecting, explaining, judging, exploring, learning, interpreting, problem solving, and/or taking a stand, your words are your words are your words…
As a parent & writer, encourage your young scribe to see & use the power of Written Expression for his/her self and/or to share with others. How ~ by modeling with everyday examples.
Soooo…Are You A Writer ?
Does your child see you write ?
Not only do you show your child how writing helps with daily life, it, also, helps to have a variety of the printed words scattered throughout the home: magazines, cookbooks, manuals, newspapers, cartoons, advertisement slicks, comics, posters, dictionaries, and. of course, many different kinds of books.
Is your child writing everyday ? I’m sure s/he is trying to read EVERYTHING in sight….oh yeah….
Yes, Your Child Needs to Write Everyday
Some time during the day , engage your child is some type of writing activity. It can be a Free Write about anything s/he is interested in exploring, feeling good or bad about, and/or asking for more information.
Practice, practice, practice ~ and remember to encourage your writer to slow down, otherwise….
Try to make it a “routine” event. You may want to collect these writings into a box and/or scrapbook :
- Give him/her a personal calendar to record special dates, like holidays, celebrations, birthdays, vacations, play-dates, field trips, memories, etc.
- Have her/him write Thank-You cards , notes & letters.
BLB Shop has a Writing Literacy Tool~Lists, Labels & Love Notes– to help engage your young writer. Just click on the link below:
- Make sure s/he has a “Storybook” spiral for writing those creative tales with different, colorful writing tools.
- Add another “Info & Data Collection” notebook with Topic Tabs for research finds & new information.
Here are some other suggestions from a First Grade Teacher @ primaryjunction.net:
- Create a Family newspaper to record weekly activities, articles & upcoming events. You may want to include a comic strip, an advice column with some want ads & an advertisement or two.
- Enlist your child to help write shopping & to-do lists.
- Play word games like Wheel of Fortune & Hangman while waiting in an office.
- Make sure to Publish, Display & Share completed stories, posters, reports, etc.
One of the BEST ways I discovered to engage children in writing is with an Interactive Journal. Prepare yourself for some “eye-openers !”
Your Child’s Favorite Writing Activity
Whether you and/or some other family member participates in this very effective writing activity, the results will prove to be insightful, entertaining &, at times, hilarious.
A simple lined or unlined journal provides numerous opportunities for you & your budding author to share feelings, information, reflections, memories, problems and interactive solutions to life’s daily moments.
Usually written before “lights out”, your child will not only tell you about his/her thoughts, but also, ask you some interesting questions. You, then, answer the question(s) while s/he sleeps, respond with some comments & ask some questions of your own ~ which may, or may not, be answered.
This form of writing is a powerful communication tool and will, definitely engage your young writer. Include drawings with a variety of text lettering & messaging for emphasis & amusement.
Random ramblings are especially welcome. Here are a few ideas. Just click on this PDF link: INTERACTIVE Journal Prompts
You’ll be keeping these “talks”~
So, What Are the Writing Expectations for My First Grader ?
At the beginning of First Grade, your Summer-of-Growth Kindergartner can decide (without your prompting) when to read & when to write (even though they occur simultaneously)…
S/he is able to sound out the “big” sounds & write them down when trying to spell words while writing thoughts.
S/he is even trying to use capital letters & punctuation ~ amazing, huh?!?
At the end of First Grade, s/he is probably printing very legibly when expressing thoughts in stories, journals & notes.
S/he will frequently spell familiar words correctly AND begin sentences with capital letters as well as end those sentences with a punctuation mark (most of the time….when s/he remembers to do so…).
How did this happen, you may ask….
Your First grader is writing in the classroom ALL DAY LONG ~ in all subject areas ~ math, science, social studies, health. S/he writes during trips to the Media Center, Art, Music & occasionally in P.E.
Here’s a wonderful example of a classroom Writing Workshop, posted by Chandra, a primary teacher & parent, on her website teachingwithcrayonsandcurls:
AND, if your school district follows the Common Core, here are the Writing & Language expectations for your First Grader. Keep in mind, some of these objectives began in Kindergarten & will continue in the years to come.
The Common Core’s Writing Expectations
Language & Writing, as well as Reading, are heavily linked together within the Common Core’s Expectations & Objectives for First Graders.
“With the guidance & support from adults” s/he will be writing & editing opinion pieces, informative, or explanatory text and sequenced narratives, or stories.
Each form of writing has a specific process for your young writer to follow. S/he is expected to include reasons to support opinions, facts to support informational topics, and sequential details to support stories.
During the writing & editing process, s/he needs to “demonstrate command” of “standard English grammar”. Some of these include:
- printing all upper & lowercase letters with accuracy
- using common, proper & possessive nouns
- using singular & plural nouns with verb agreement
- using pronouns
- using past, present & future verbs with accuracy
S/he, also, is expected to “demonstrate command” of “standard English capitalization, punctuation & spelling” (at grade level).
Here’s a Parent-friendly version of the Common Core’s ELA guidelines for First Grade. Just click on the link below:
You can help your First Grader’s growth & development with some of these specific Writing Literacy Skills at home.
How Do I Build Some of These Skills at Home ?
These are some of the Writing Skills you can help your child master at home:
- You child should be able to read his/her own writing ~ need some handwriting practice sheets? AtoZ is a great website to explore for teacher tools. You can custom-make sheets to match your child’s handwriting needs while writing spelling words & sentences. Just click on the link below:
- S/he should be writing & editing lists, letters & stories, using complete sentences. Here a short PDF Writing Checklist link:
- S/he should be spelling sight words & spelling list words with accuracy. BLB Shop has a Literacy Tool to help your child learn how to spell those words. Just click on the link below:
I created a PDF with Spelling Activity ideas, including several I used with my K~3 students as part of their Weekly Spelling Homework:
Hope these ideas help, especially with the FOUR FORMS OF WRITING!!!! Not talking about Lists, Labels, Letters & Love Notes…..
Those 4 Forms of Writing
Regardless of which Form your child is writing, each one should start with a Main Idea, or Topic sentence & end with a Conclusion sentence.
Each Form of writing should have a beginning, middle & an ending.
Informative writing should include 3-5 facts about the Topic. Narrative writing should include at least 3 interesting events within the story. Opinion writing should have 3 or more reasons to support the opinion. How-To writing needs an order of specific steps for someone to follow.
BLB Shop has an easy-to-use, step-by-step Primary Writing Toolkit to help you help your child with these specific Forms of writing. Just click on the link below:
Reading to Writing to Reading
If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then, you must write it. ~ Toni Morrison
Sometimes writing or thinking about what to write can be frustrating. Talk about a blank slate……
So, sometimes repeating, repeating & yes, more repeating can shake up those creative juices. BLB’s Library has a Resource for getting those juices flowing, using repetitive books:
Here’s a PDF with beginning sentence Repetitive Prompts & Book Title ideas:
And if you need more, complete with Book Templates, check out this product in BLB’s Shop:
Is your youngster still struggling with her/his Writing Skills? Read on….
YIKES! My Bright Child Hates to Write!!!!!
There are several reasons why your young creative child may be reluctant to write. Hand strength, or the lack of it, could be the cause. Tuning up those Fine Motor Skills can help. Try weaving baskets, forming pottery, working wood, playing a musical instrument, building models, and creating jewelry . BLB Library has a Resource listing several websites with LOTS of other ideas:
Don’t push too hard…read some books together about writing. BLB Library has a Resource for that, too:
Talk about ideas together. Wordless books with their incredible drawings can inspire stories created for a potential writer. Here’s a list of some beauties:
A Simple Motivator: Writing in Drawings
Most of my beginning writers couldn’t wait to get their words inside the picture. Here’s a PDF I created just for this concept:
And once you feel your young author has sharpened her/his pencils, but needs to SEE images before writing about them, BLB Shop has a great Story Starter Tool for doing just that. Just click on the link below:
Can you tell I like to write ?!?!? I hope you have found some useful information regarding this extremely important Literacy Skill. Yes, it is complex and, sometimes, frustrating ~ even for those of us who love to write. But it a VERY necessary component of life!
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