ABC and 123: Teaching Writing Tips

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Teaching Writing Tips

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Teaching children to write goes well beyond working with them on proper handwriting, letter formation, and even spelling.  There are so many stages to the development of writing.   We will continue to work to pull together writing tips and mini activities, from our professional repertoire and from our cooperative blog readers, to help you work with your students on becoming writers.

One of the most important things you can do to instill an interest with, and passion for, writing from day one with your little ones is to READ!

To be able to write well, children must feel comfortable and confident with letting their ideas flow just as they would in conversation.  Unlike conversation, writing is a bit more forgiving because we have the opportunity to rearrange our thoughts, reword our confusing ideas,  and edit for accuracy.

~Let your kids see you writing.  For example: make lists, take messages, write thank you notes and letters to friends.
~Model content and mechanics by writing notes to your child, sending them a card, or making them a special sign of encouragement.
~Talk with your children about reasons why people write: to tell a story, to communicate, to convince, to report, to describe, etc.

Encourage very young child to write by scribbling, doodling, making lines, and drawing pictures.
Here is an age appropriate activity that directs their scribbling efforts a bit.

Scribble Scrabble (young children)
Choose a favorite animal, book, or character that your child knows about.
Plan a story by talking about what type of things might happen to each character
Ask your child lots of questions to expand their storyline
Have your child write down the story in their own way: using scribbling that looks like writing, invented spelling with letters, or just pictures.

Reporting (developing writers)
Have your child gather information by interviewing a friend, neighbor, or family member
Work together ahead of time to decide on relevant interview questions
Look at examples of interviews written in magazines.
Have your child edit the interview and put information together by topic

Use Pictures for Inspiration
Pull several interesting pictures from magazines.  Sort them into manilla folders labeled: characters, setting, and problem.  Have your writer pull one picture from each folder and use the three pictures as a jumping board for putting together a creative writing piece that includes a beginning, middle, and end.

Read What You Write
Explain to your developiong writer that when you read you should listen to how the writing sounds.  Consider how the words flow together, are all of the ideas there or are things missing? What would make the writing more interesting?
Encourage children to read with expression emphasizing important words and phrases
Encourage other children and adults to ask questions about the writing that is being presented

Pieces of information included in this post are based on research from the National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy, presented by the U.S. Department of Education. 


  1. Wonderful!

    It might be worth mentioning that many experts do not recommend writing/tracing actual letters/numbers until age 3.

  2. Great tips! I think storytelling what you will write before you write it is important. It also prevents them for saying I don't know what to write. You can respond with write the story you told me.