When I am at a conference and I ask teachers, "Can ALL kids write?", I get some who say 'yes' and some who say 'no'. Which is the right answer? The way we answer the question depends on our own schema--what do we think writing IS? If we think writing is putting letters, words or even sentences down on paper, then no, most young children can not write. But, if we say writing is the way we convey meaning on a piece of paper, then yes, all kids can write!
Here is my thinking:
Children convey meaning in one of three ways:
- They can draw a picture and all of the meaning comes from the picture. This includes the scribbles that the child says, this is my house!
- They can draw a picture and use meaningful letters to label things in their picture. This is when the child puts an H by their house.
- They can draw a picture and convey a complete thought their text. (Non-kindergarten teachers probably couldn't read this! haha) This is when the child writes, ILMIHOS. (I love my house.)
We teach writing through writer's workshop. Writer's workshop is when we teach kids the craft of writing. You could say it like this, "In writer's workshop kids learn to write. At other times of the day (math, centers, science, social studies), kids write to learn! Writer's Workshop is the time we teach kids what writer's do, what it looks like to be a writer.
- Connect: "Remember yesterday when we..." This is where you remind the children what you did yesterday.
- Teach: "Today I am going to show you... Let me show you what I mean." This is where you tell the children the new thing you are going to teach them. Then, you model by sharing your thinking and showing the children what it looks like when a writer does this new thing.
- Active Engagement: "Now, let me see you try." This is where, right there on the rug, the children practice this new thing writer's do.
- Link: "Remember boys and girls, today and everyday, good writers..." This is where we remind them of what we just learned.
On the yellow anchor chart above, you brainstorm your ideas and write them on post it notes and add them to your chart. Or, you can do like Megan is doing and write them right onto a piece of chart paper. It takes us 6 days to cover this chart!!!! Here's the sequence:
Day one talk about favorite people.
Day two make a list of favorite people.
Day three talk about favorite things.
In Megan's room, she places sheet protectors in the prongs of the writing folder. Then, the children can place their brainstorming charts right inside of those protectors. I love this. When she moves to another genre of writing, she can invite the children to remove those brainstorming charts and add new charts to match the new genre! Genius!
After finishing that sequence of lessons, we learn that good writers are always adding to their list of ideas. I made these simple charts that we can use to help us generate new ideas we might add to our lists. You may wan to copy the charts in color and place just a few in each area.
So what is the answer to the question, "Can all kids write?" ABSOLUTELY! Happy Writing!The anchor charts, list papers, and charts of favorites are in this unit.
Or in this bundle: