Reading 101: A Guide for Parents

Writing Activities for Your Kindergartner

Writing allows children to express their thoughts, creativity, and uniqueness. It is a fundamental way in which children learn to think critically, organize and communicate ideas, and make thinking visible and permanent. And learning to write well helps children to be better readers!

Overview

Emerging writers

Kindergartners 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.

Here's what your kindergartner can learn to do:

  • 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 (although they may not be clearly written)

Children at this age can read their own writing and should be encouraged to read aloud!

Be a writing role model!

Young children often mirror what they see around them: adults and older children writing lists, letters, text messaging. So make sure your child sees you writing! And talk about why you are writing about your writing so your child begins to understand why writing is important and the many ways it can be used.

Does spelling count?

Don't correct spelling and handwriting at this stage. Child specialists say “invented spelling” is just fine. Your role is to make writing fun and purposeful.

Invented spelling: your child’s first writing

This video is from Home Reading Helper, a resource for parents to elevate children’s reading at home provided by Read Charlotte. Find more video, parent activities, printables, and other resources at Home Reading Helper.

What does kindergarten writing look like?

Try these writing ideas at home

Label it

Young children love to name things! Ask your child to write out labels for the rooms and objects in your house. Don't worry about invented spellings! Help your child safely tape them up for temporary display. See a real-life example in this blog post, Using but confusing, with laundry.

List maker

Ask your child to help you make a grocery list or a "to-do" list for weekend chores. Your child can dictate the list as you write, to model the process. Then switch roles, and ask your child to write the list as you dictate.

Family letters

Help your child write letters to relatives and friends. These may include thank you notes or just a special note to say hello. Be sure to send your child a letter or card once in awhile too so that she is reminded of how special it is to get a letter in the mail. And consider finding a pen pal for your child.

Family stories

Ask your child to draw a picture of a family activity and then write a sentence about it below the picture. Encourage your child to say the sentence and write letters to match the sounds in each word. Then have your child read what she wrote. Display the story on the refrigerator or a bulletin board — and celebrate the work!

First stories

Ask your child to tell you simple stories as you write them down. Copy the story as your child tells it, without making changes. Ask her to clarify anything you don't understand. Soon, your child will be writing her own stories. Here's a wonderful example of a story by a 5-year-old in the blog post, I like Writer's Workshop.

Author's chair

Identify a special "author's chair" in your home. That's where your child can sit and share out loud something she has written. Be an enthusiastic listener! This shows your child that others want to hear about her thoughts and ideas.

Reader's theater

Encourage your child to read her stories out loud. Listen carefully with patience, and give positive feedback about her ideas and her writing!

Bookmaker

Turn your child's writing into books! Paste her drawings and writings on pieces of construction paper. For each book, make a cover out of heavier paper or cardboard, and add special art, a title, and her name as author. Punch holes in the pages and cover, and bind the book together with yarn or ribbon.

Field notes

Encourage your child to take notes on trips or outings, and to describe what she saw, using all of her senses. This could include a description of a walk outside, a ride in a car or a bus, or other events that lend themselves to note taking.

Message board

Hang a family message board in the kitchen and leave notes there for your child. Encourage your child to write a message back and post it to the board.

Reading supports writing

Read books together! Early and frequent exposure to letters, sounds, words, and stories helps kids learn to read and write.

Talk about vivid words

As you read to your children, point out things the book author did to make the book so fun to read. "Wow! Listen to how the author describes the ocean. Don't those words make you feel like you're back jumping over waves?"

Get your kindergartner writing!

This video is from Home Reading Helper, a resource for parents to elevate children’s reading at home provided by Read Charlotte. Find more video, parent activities, printables, and other resources at Home Reading Helper.

Write, revise, and edit

"I feel the need of reading. It is a loss to a man not to have grown up among books." —

Abraham Lincoln