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How Kindergarten Children Learn How to Write.

In an article written by Jessica Kelmon I read this most interesting and ‘spot on’ observation of hers.

“Writing goes from zero to 60 in Kindergarten, from tracing the ABC’s and culminating in higher level thinking skills like forming, organizing, and expressing complete thoughts.”

How significant a comment! It begins with scribbles or what we call ‘mark making’. Decorative swirls, a few letters and even numbers, a string of letters, a child’s own name, but most Kindergarteners begin school with not knowing how to write. Kindergarten is when the children really begin to experiment, explore and develop a strong interest in writing down their thoughts on paper.Literacy begins with being aware of words and symbols that spur children to want to know want to write and want to learn. The alphabet and the letter sounds introduce a child to the world of literacy. Children learn how to form the shapes of the letters, what sounds they are associated with, and how to combine those letters to create words. Children begin to understand that the purpose of writing is communication.

Listen, speak and draw! Think of these skills as the big steps toward writing. Teachers read books aloud and ask questions along the way about the book itself, what the child learns from the text, how new information is connected to a child’s life, what happens in a story, and what a child notices about the events, the setting, the characters and actions. Teachers also ask questions that require a child to read between the lines and delve deeper into the understandings. Answers from a child should be in a sentence, expressing the thought and for you to assist that child to expand the thought.

Accessing research and information from books, with Googling on the IPADS at school, helps children to document their learning, the new knowledge and forming a chain of writing interpretations of the found information. Drawing pictures about the accompanying information, scribed by the teacher or co-constructed writing, assists a child in learning the importance of sharing the knowledge that he/she has unearthed. This skill of gathering information from different sources and using it in drawing, dictating, and writing to answer a question sets up Kindergarteners to advance the writing learning journey and acquisition. Writing takes form in opinion or what I call reflective writing, informative and narrative forms.Writing in Kindergarten involves a multistep process. Pre writing begins with reading and thinking. Re-reading a book, dialoguing and brainstorming ideas for a picture or a story. A first draft begins and is looked at together, perhaps giving suggestions or thoughts about adding more details to the work. The Ethic of Excellence is an integral and practiced part of this step, always asking for the ‘best’ work. Revisions or ‘tweaking’ are made with a final edit. Published work becomes public, whether a child shares the finished work with classmates, our families or the community.
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