Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Talking, Drawing, Writing Chapter 5: Writing Words and Why I Take Forever to Read Professional Books

Hello again!  Back for Chapter 5!  You may be wondering, why does it take me so dang long to post for the book study?  Well my friends, it's because I am a slow professional book reader.  Back in college I read like a maniac and never absorbed my textbooks.  Now I read for meaning and always "code the text" so that I can find what I need in a flash later.

And being the organizational freak that I am, I also have to use a highlighter and sticky notes that are color-coded to the book's cover.  :)

Anyways, this chapter is my FAVORITE so far.  One thing I struggled with last year was getting my pre-kinders to write words in their stories.  Now I know how!  Here's what I took from this chapter:

  • Do Lots of Interactive Writing!  I was pretty good at this.  We shared the pen on a regular basis all year long, right from the get-go!  Here's an example of a shared writing we recently completed:  

For the first part of this shared writing, I modeled my thinking and how to slowly say a word and listen for the first sound.  I also modeled using our environmental print word wall to help me figure out which letter makes that sound.  

The next day I modeled again, then released responsibility and guided students as they attempted to sound out and write the first letter of their word.  I should also mention that these letters on our word wall are magnetic, so I can easily pull one down and hold it close to the student for reference as they are writing the letter!

We also work a lot on sentence structure and sounding out words during guided reading/writing.  Once a week my students respond to a prompt to make a class book, which then goes in our library.  It's a great time to teach about how to read from left to write, spaces between words, etc.  Check out some of our books below:

  • Explicitly Model the Connection Between Shared Writing and Writing in Books.  I feel like smacking myself on the forehead- duh!  Somehow I never did this.  My kiddos did a great job with sounding out words and experimenting with sentence structure doing guided writing, and most of them started doing that on their own in their books, but I know they could have gone a lot further if I had bridged the gap!
  • Start Slow.  Encourage students to think first, say the word slowly, listen for sounds and write down the sounds they hear.  It's okay to start with just the first letter sound for each word.
  • Encourage, Encourage, Encourage!  "If there were words to tell this part of the story, what would they say?"  I just LOVE the sample dialogue in this book, it really helps me envision what I can say to students to encourage them to get writing!
This chapter really got me thinking about ways to teach writing words/sentences, shared writing, and what student writing tells us about their understanding of words and language.  I just cannot say how much I love this book!  Don't forget to check out the resources below and I'll see you on Friday (I promise!) with some official exciting news! 

Writing Words Poster Freebies from Mrs. Richardson's Class
Love these strategy posters!
Developmental Stages of Writing from HeidiSongs
This is a great page to have in your writer's workshop notebook- a quick and easy reference to see where your students are with writing words!
Guided Writing from Keen on Kindergarten
Love this blog post about different activities you can do during Guided Writing!


  1. Thank you for your insights! I was not sure whether to pick up this book or I've been reading along with the bloggers and getting lots of ideas and help! I love my writing workshop time and find my little ones always want to spell exact...and I like them to spell what they hear.
    I am your newest follower! Come on over and check us out...I don't find a lot of preK teachers blogging, have you? I would love to have a linky for us and get to know each other better...

  2. So, also nominated you for the liebster award! Come on over to 2preschoolpals and find out about it...

  3. Hi! I've nominated you for the Liebster Award! Please visit my blog to claim it.