It takes an extensive amount of teacher modeling and student participation to get young children to learn to see themselves as writers. Shared and interactive writing, both in small and large group, are two ways which allow young children to participate in the writing process while also offering a high level of support.
Create lists in small groups or ones written in whole group over a series of days.
I wrote the letters I wrote in one color and the ones my students wrote in another color. This allowed me to introduce them to phonetic rules. As they grew as writers I had them write more of the letters and any letters and sounds they heard or knew on their own. This way I knew what sounds and letters I gave them and what they wrote on their own. I used these pieces during parent conferences so it helped in showing parents where students were in the writing process.
Add labels and write sentences together on sentence strips.
**Independent writing alone will not engage students in the writing process, teach them how to write, or prompt them to see themselves as writers. Shared and interactive writing can provide a powerful and much needed model of how the writing process works as well as examples of the many reasons we write.
Shared and interactive writing are collaborative processes, meaning the students are involved in what is written, how it is written, and even in the writing itself. All of the aspects of writing, including craft, conventions, and process, can be demonstrated through shared and interactive writing. The more young children experience these types of writing, the faster they will want to write for themselves.
Write poems together. Students can generate words and ideas and "share the pen" with you.
Shared and Interactive Writing
Young children need to write multiple times throughout the school day. Besides setting aside time for independent writing, drawing, and bookmaking, you also need to make time for shared and interactive writing. In shared and interactive writing, the teacher and the students compose and write a text together. The text is then made available for students to read. Students love to go back to these class composed pieces and read them over and over again. Morning message, experience stories, and predictable charts are great for this.
The processes of shared and interactive writing are similar in that you compose the message together. In shared writing, the teacher is the only one who uses the pen. In interactive writing, the teacher "shares the pen" with the students by periodically calling a student to come up to the writing easel or chart to:
-write a known letter (the first letter of their name is a great example)
-place a hand on the chart to "hold" a space while the next word is being written
-write a letter that is connected to a sound the children know or are working on
-write a known word
-sign his or her name
Write to tell about something you have learned or read about.
Write to label things.
**IMPORTANT TIP** Be choosy when you have children come to the easel or chart to write. You do not want writing the message to take too long. Decide on a few places in the text where student contributions will be relevant and add value to the learning. Start by writing short lists or single sentences.
In my own classroom I gave every student a dry erase board and marker during interactive writing. This allowed every child to practice writing, not only the child I called to the easel. As the student who was called up to the easel wrote a letter or word, so did the students still sitting on the carpet.
For more tips on implementing interactive writing in the classroom, visit Kim Adsit at Kindergals and check out her post "Here Comes Interactive Writing."
-Draw and write about their experiences.
-Draw things they like such as foods and label them.
-Make up stories and draw pictures to represent the sequence of events.
-Use different aspects of print such as speech bubbles, punctuation, and titles.
-Construct menus, receipts, signs, and other functional items for centers they are working in.
-Write notes and letters to each other.
-Draw, label, and invent writing to tell about their scientific observations and discoveries.
Write in response to read-alouds and to compare things.
-Draw or paint pictures about what they learned about a topic.
-Label pictures or talk to others about them.
-Retell stories using pictures.
-Draw speech bubbles to represent characters talking in a story.
-Draw and write about the most exciting part or ending of a story.
-Write to tell an interesting fact or something about what they have learned.
-Make a book that tells a story, describes and experience, or that provides informational text they have heard read.