I wanted to share a few strategies from Already Ready, Nurturing Writers in Preschool and Kindergarten by Katie Wood Ray & Matt Glover with those of you who are not reading this book because they are strategies that I feel teachers from any grade can use when taking an exciting, new writing approach with their students.  Already Ready shows you how, by respecting children as writers engaged in bookmaking, (maybe not bookmaking for middle school and up but perhaps yes!) you can gently nudge them toward a lifetime of joyful writing.  It’s not too late!

  I have been listening to some of you that teach older students and find that what you still run into is that your students don’t have much experience but they’re filled with stories to tell and ideas to express.  They need an opportunity to show the world what they know and see.  All they need is a nurturing teacher like you to recognize the writer at work in them.   Katie Wood Ray and Matt Glover provide numerous, helpful examples of early writing.  Providing numerous, helpful examples of early writing, complete with transcriptions and they demonstrate how to:

  • Make sense of children’s writing and interpret how they represent sounds, ideas, and images
  • See important developmental signs in writers that you can use to help them grow further
  • Recognize the thinking your young children engage in and discover that it’s the same thinking more experience writers use to craft purposeful, thoughtful pieces.

I know you might think this is too simple for your grade level, but in reality for some, it might be where you want to begin to set the pace in your classroom for your students to connect the natural writer inside them to a life of expressing themselves on paper. You may find that you don’t have to get students ready to write, they’re Already Ready.

Daily in our classroom my teacher uses strategies to show our little ones how they can develop powerful understandings about:

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  • the writing process   we use the 5 Star Writing Approach.    After a student has written a sentence or two about their book they read, they use this approach to see if:  they used capital letters at the beginning of a sentence(e.g., they are given a correctly written sentence as an example, I see a dog.), they used punctuation to end their sentence(e.g., Where is the dog?), use finger space(we give them each a little space man figure to use), use their best handwriting and does my sentence make sense.

Here are a few examples of our students work that will be put into their first Writer’s Book.

kylas-writing-001aidens-writing-001

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Nurturing Our Writers

  1. I love to read your thoughts and ideas!! You always bring a breath of fresh air to the table, thanks for always being so uplifting!! I found these words from you this week to be particularly inspiring: “They need an opportunity to show the world what they know and see. All they need is a nurturing teacher like you to recognize the writer at work in them.”. So many times we lose focus of whats important as we draw in on what has to be taught in a classroom. I just love that you point out that children do still need, and we should provide, the opportunity to express what they know and see. They are eager to share with the world around them and helping them foster this at an early age is key. What a powerful book “Already Ready” is!! I am finding so much in there that can’t wait to keep reading!

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  2. I LOVE your 5 Star Writing rubic! I could use that it in my classroom. Could you possibly please share this with me? 🙂 My first-grade students went crazy over book making in my classroom. It continues to be a favorite writing activity in the Work on Writing station during Daily 5. I really liked when you wrote “respecting children as writers”. It does not matter what stage a student may be at with regard to writing, their efforts to get the words on paper should be honored. The books I see being made in my classroom range from wordless picture books to books with words and very few illustrations to books with words and illustrations on each page. I applaud your teacher’s efforts to expose her kinders to TRC like question stems, but at the same time, I am saddened that it has already trickled down to 4 and 5- year-olds.

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  3. You do a beautiful job reminding us that no matter how old or young our students are, they have similar needs as writers: they need to know that they ARE writers, that they CAN write, and that what they have to say MATTERS in the world.

    Your teacher’s “Five Star Writing” checklist/rubric seems extremely helpful when students need to edit their writing. Have you considered what a “Five Start Writing” checklist/rubric might look like when children are still in the drafting or even revising stages? It’s important for us to always remember the differences between revising and editing and to really think about what when/why we want children to engage in different parts of the process. With writing for the TRC, perhaps editing is all that’s needed, but when children are engaged in more generative writing, it would seem that we’d want to encourage and teach children what other kinds of things writers do to make their pieces “five star” worthy. 🙂

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