Looking at Writing

Kindergarten: Writing Sample 2

Kindergarteners are often enthusiastic writers and they will weave writing activities into their play. Provide budding writers with experiences that give them something to write about. Invented spelling is normal at this age, as children are translating the sounds of spoken words into writing. Children at this age can read their own writing and should be encouraged to read aloud!

  • Print own first and last name
  • Draw a picture that tells a story and label or write about the picture
  • Write upper- and lowercase letters (may not be clearly written)
"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. " — Mark Twain

Context of writing

A five year old girl wrote this during her Kindergarten class writing workshop where students are given free choice of topics.

What is this child able to do as a writer?

  • This student has an idea she wants to share with her pictures and words.
  • She is matching letters and sounds, has represented a sight word ('me') and letters to represent salient sounds in other words ('mi' for 'my') ('f' and 'r' for 'friends' and 'a' and 'd' for 'and'). Those representations suggest she is in a partial phonetic stage of writing, where small segments, such as sounds easily heard, are written down.
  • She is experimenting with using a sentence rather than just labeling a picture with words ('Me and my friends are playing').
  • She includes details in her picture by making her people all look different and by including a dog.

Move your cursor over each red bubble image marker for observations about this child’s writing.

[Click the sample to view the full size image. See transcript]


Me and my friends are playing.

What does this child need to learn next?

This child has not developed a concept of word — the idea that words are separate and need to be separated in the sentence. The teacher could provide short lines for the separation of words or the student draw a line for each word as she sounds it out and writes it on the line. The teacher could also use her sentences (and those of her classmates) to write on separate cards or slips of paper to have the children touch, move and read the sentences. The physical movement of the words as separate entities would help reinforce the concept of each word being separate.

This child may be ready to add more sentences to her writing. She may want to start writing her sentences under the picture to provide room for more sentences.

Encouraging this student to talk to a peer or talk to a teacher about her story will help her think of other details she wants to share in an additional sentence. Research has shown that teacher dictations of children's stories help develop word awareness, spelling, and the conventions of written language.

"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943