Looking at Writing

Kindergarten: Writing Sample 4

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 kindergarten boy wrote this story during writing workshop. In this particular workshop, students were encouraged to write about a topic in which they considered themselves an "expert."

What is this child able to do as a writer?

  • This student has a clear idea. He knows a lot and wants to share with his picture and sentences.
  • He writes more than one sentence to share his expertise about hermit crabs.
  • He has a solid concept of word.
  • His sample includes multisyllabic words ('sumtims' for 'sometimes'), and the spelling of that word includes a vowel in each syllable.
  • His writing sample includes a digraph (/sh/ in 'shels' for 'shells') and a blend (/kr/ in 'krabs' for 'crabs').
  • He is beginning to revise his writing. He has erased and rewritten words ('liv' and 'shels' ).
  • He ends his sentences with a period.

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]


Hermit crabs live in shells. Sometimes they live on the beach.

What does this child need to learn next?

This child's handwriting makes it difficult to read and difficult for him to re-read.

He is sounding out words phonetically but has trouble with spelling irregular sight words. A word wall with frequently used sight words and/or his own personal spelling dictionary would help him look for and use the correct spelling in his writing.

Being an "expert" piece of writing, the student could be encouraged to use a concept map to organize all the pieces of information he wants to include in his writing.

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