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Writing in Early Childhood Classrooms: 12 Best Practices


Writing in Early Childhood Classrooms: 12 Best Practices

This checklist offers 12 research-based ideas for bringing writing activities into preschool classrooms and other early childhood settings.

To help guide early childhood practitioners to implement meaningful classroom writing practices, the authors suggest 12 research-based guidelines for integrating writing activities in children’s daily schedules. Each of these strategies represents developmentally appropriate practice (Copple and Bredekamp 2009) and can be successfully incorporated into pre-K classrooms, including those serving children at risk.

Excerpted from: Writing in Early Childhood Classrooms: Guidance for Best Practices (2012).

Writing guidelines checklist

Build writing into your daily schedule

Create writing opportunities during daily activities or routines (e.g., sign in, weather, daily journaling time).

Accept all forms of writing

Celebrate and support scribbling, drawing, letter-like shapes, and letters as children develop writing skills.

Explicitly model writing

Write with children present and discuss how and what you are writing to draw attention to the process.

Scaffold children’s writing

Provide hints and prompts to support children to write independently; individualize these hints by child.

Encourage children to read what they write

Use group time to support children to share their writing with others by reading to the group.

Encourage invented spelling

Permit children to spell phonetically and support them to “write the sounds you hear.”

Make writing opportunities meaningful

Use writing opportunities to help children make predictions, observations, and summaries of their work; write letters, lists, maps, charts, and graphs.

Have writing materials in all centers

Include writing tools, various papers, and posters, books and theme-based word cards to support writing opportunities.

Display theme-related words in the writing center

Include meaningful, theme-related words children can copy for their writing posted or on cards.

Engage in group writing experiences

Model the writing process, support all children to become involved in offering ideas, post group writing around the room to support children’s writing and discussion of the posted activity.

Make writing a way to connect with families

Support parents to understand the importance of meaningful writing experiences.

Use technology to support writing

Support children to write using [tools such as] interactive boards, computer paint programs, and stylus pens.


Gerde, H.K., Bingham, G.E. & Wasik, B.A. Writing in Early Childhood Classrooms: Guidance for Best Practices. Early Childhood Education Journal 40(6) 351–359 (2012).

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