Writing will open the world of communication for your child. Whether they are writing a short story or sending an email, great writing skills are fun to build together.
The process of learning to read and write is a key element of first grade. This is the age where children begin to take the letters they have learned and form them into words and sentences. In first grade, children are still learning through play and experience. It is important to offer them a wide variety of opportunities to use writing in different settings. Are you going to the grocery store? Have them make the list. You will need to help them spell things and the process will be slow at first, but the use of writing in everyday tasks will help them build skills to last a lifetime.
How will I know if my child has reached the South Carolina standards for writing in first grade?
My child can print their capital and lower case letters.
My child has learned to capitalize dates and names, use periods, question marks, and exclamation marks.
My child can look at books to pick a topic to write about, introduce the topic, state an opinion, give a reason for the opinion, and close.
My child can plan, revise, and edit to improve writings.
My child writes often on various topics both in and outside a classroom setting.
My child can work on keyboarding skills to write a simple message.
Activities and Multimedia:
Rainbow writing is a great way to practice writing your letters and having fun. The SC ELA Standards: Writing Part One has a great demonstration of how to make the most of that activity.
When and what do I need to capitalize? Check out this video to learn when to use a capital letter and when it is okay to use a lower case letter.
What kind of punctuation goes at the end of a sentence? Watch and find out together!
Planning, Revising, and Editing with Your First Grader
Help your child learn to plan and organize their writing assignment before they begin to actually write sentences on a piece of paper. Grab a few sticky notes and let's get started.
Let's say your child's assignment is to write about what pet they like best and why. First, talk to your child about what comes to mind. What pets do they like? What do they like about them? What kind of pet do they want to write about?
Now that you have started a discussion about the topic, let's plan out the details of what the assignment is asking for. This will vary, of course, but here is where your sticky notes come in handy. Write down the steps to cover on each sticky note. For our assignment, our sticky notes will look like this.
Now, have your child answer these questions. The answers do not have to be in a complete sentence... yet. For now, have them answer the questions as best they can and as independently as possible. Notice the spelling errors in the sticky notes below. No worries! Those errors will be addressed as we go.
Now, here is where we will transition to putting these ideas into a sentence. Start with one sticky note at a time. You may have to help your child answer the questions in a complete sentence. Have them practice saying the sentence out loud before they attempt to write it out. When they are ready to write the first sentence, place the sticky note next to their clean sheet of paper. They can use it as a reference. This is the hardest part. Getting those ideas formed into a complete sentence takes practice. Be patient and supply help when you are asked. If the child asks how to spell a word, it is perfectly acceptable to help them. If they want to attempt it independently, that is also fine. Any errors will be corrected in the editing process.
Great! Now they are on their way! Remove the first sticky note and replace it with the next one. What sentence will come next? You have planned your sentences with your sticky notes, so the next thing to write is already in the works. Continue this process with your supporting details and the sticky notes that go with that sentence as shown.
You are almost there! Time for the conclusion sticky note and helping them wrap up this writing assignment.
Now, it is time to edit. I like to use the COPS method.
C stands for capitalization. Is everthing capitalized correctly?
O stands for Overall appearance or Oganization. Are the letters and words spaced correctly? Is the handwriting neat and legible?
P stands for punctuation. Does every sentence have the correct punctuation?
S stands for spelling. Are all of the words spelled correctly? You may need to help a child see and correct a spelling mistake.
Have your child look over each aspect of the paper. You can also mark the paper for the child. I sometimes use a highlighter to mark a misspelled word or a place that needs attention. This helps the child identify what they need to correct. Have the child read their work back to themselves. You may notice they will add in a word or read the misspelled words as what they were trying to spell. In this case, it may help to read it back to them and see if they can "hear" the mistake. In any case, don't drag out the editing process. It is perfectly acceptable to help them in a teachable moment. If they cannot see the mistake quickly on their own, you can supply a little help to get them on the right track.
Now the child has the writing assignment checked off for editing and ready for the rewrite! Write the assignment again in the neatest possible handwriting or type it on the computer and they are ready to turn it in. When it comes to writing with young children, a little planning goes a long way.
Do you want to explore more SC Education Standards?
Beth Moore, Fellow in the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, presents a compilation of lessons and activities as well as the educational philosopies behind them which are designed to build skills needed in order to read, write, and spell.