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Looking at Writing

First Grade

First graders write many times a day to express their ideas and interests — they are writing with a purpose, through, stories, letters, and lists. They can print clearly and leave spaces between words. Children in first grade are able to write simple but complete sentences, and they are beginning to understand when to use capital letters, commas, and periods. In their writing, you’ll see a combination of invented and correct spelling (especially words from a word wall or vocabulary list). First graders also begin to use “story language” in their own writing, for example, incorporating phrases such as “once upon a time” and “happily ever after.”

"The first draft is a skeleton .… just bare bones. The rest of the story comes later with revising. " — Judy Blume

In this section, you'll find writing assessment resources, writing strategies, and additional tip sheets for teachers and parents on how to help first graders build strong writing skills. You'll also find video of children's authors, classroom instruction, and literacy experts.

Select the "Sample" links at left to view real examples of first grade writing at different skill levels.

Writing milestones

Video developed by Great Schools and used with permission. Great Schools


Writing instruction

"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't." — Mark Twain