Guided Writing

Helping Young Children Become Writers

Young children can write and this writing should occur daily in the early childhood classroom. In fact, most students will write before they read! “Over the school year, students’ writing develops…with increasing levels of sophistication of vocabulary, syntax, and stylistic features” (Bailey & Heritage, 2008, p. 159).

Back 17 million years ago there was dinosaurs.

Back 17 million years ago there was dinosaurs.

Early in the 1990's at the beginning of my career, most early educators agreed that young children could not and should not write!" I pressed on and taught writing to my students covertly anyway. It was simply frowned upon to start any formal writing until second semester. And then you were only to teach modeled or structured writing.

Now-a-days, educators concur that reading and writing go hand in hand and are an “…interactive process. There is a dynamic relationship between reading and writing and each one influences the development of the other…” (McMahon & Warrick, 2007, p. 159).

As writing develops, teachers will clearly see knowledge of phonics rules as well as a demonstration of graphophonemic knowledge applied to writing, and by observing the writings, great insights can be gained. 

Students need to experience genuine purpose and different types of writing in a risk free environment. They must be empowered with confidence that they are capable of writing and possess the knowledge that their efforts are accepted and authentic. This happens when students are given the skills necessary to build independence. Students will flourish in a classroom where the physical, pedagogical and emotional environment supports literacy.

Research supports littering the environment with print and providing students opportunities to read and write  their surroundings. Young children can write! Consequently, writing in many forms should occur daily in the early childhood classroom!

If you want to hear more, check out episode #23 Guided Writing on our popular podcast here


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Writing Stages Self-Assessment Anchor Cards

Are you looking to greatly improve student writing in your kindergarten classroom?

These Writing Continuum Cards align to kindergarten core expectations. These simple cards allow students to self monitor as they work towards the progression to the next level of writing. 

This continuum includes six steps: 1) Prewriting 2) Random Letter Stage 3) Emergent Stage 4) Developmental Stage 5) Pre-Conventional Stage 6) Conventional Stage.

Each card describes the characteristics that reflect the writing stage in a “I Can” format. The characteristics are written clearly to allow students understanding of the learning necessary as they move forward to the next writing level. Providing these clearly written anchor cards motivate young writers to aspire to reach greater heights. 


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