I love teaching writing workshop. I think it is the most important part of my teaching day. My students become better readers and writers because we write everyday.
I have been teaching writing workshop for the past twenty years. If you told me that my kindergartener’s would be writing personal narrative’s with voice, animal research books with lots of facts, persuasive letters with strong reasons, and poetry from the heart, I would think it would not be possible… but it is.
Little kids become strong writers when they are given the opportunity to write, have choices in their topics, get teacher guidance on their work and see lots of writing demonstrations from an expert writer.
In my kindergarten class I do a lot of interactive writing to help students learn the conventions of writing. During Interactive, writing, we are creating a short message that focuses on many of the skills we want students to do independently. For example, if I see that many students are not putting spaces between words, I would pull those students together and we would write a few sentences focusing on spacing. I also do a lot of writing and thinking aloud to the whole group.
I also use lots of children’s books to teach writing. After reading Katie Wood Rays book Wonderous Words, it changed the way I look at children’s picture books. Now, when I pick up a picture book I always ask myself, “How can this book help me teach my students how to be a better writer?” What is the writer doing in this story that makes it a good book? Can my students try this out?
I have two boys in kindergarten this year. It’s amazing how quickly the year goes by. Prior to entering kindergarten if I had only one wish for my boy’s school year it would be that they have writing workshop. They have had a wonderful year in kindergarten. They have learned what it means to be a listener, a friend, a student, a reader, and many more important things, but they didn’t learn to be a writer.
My kids did lots of worksheets that “prepared” them to learn about reading and writing. I do not believe worksheets teach kids anything about reading or writing. I think worksheets keep kids busy.
I think writer’s workshop should be happening in every kindergarten classroom, if we expect students to learn how to be confident readers and writers.
One of my sons made this picture the night before the last day of school. To me, this is something I will always cherish! He was feeling sad and expressed himself with words and pictures.
Imagine what he would have written if he had the opportunity to write every day?
If you are thinking about doing writing workshop next year
below is a list of books I recommend.