How to Teach Narrative Writing for Kindergarten and First Grade: Step by Step

How to Teach Narrative Writing for Kindergarten and First Grade: Step by Step

Narrative writing is often one of the first forms of writing kindergarten and first grade students do. This is because writing a personal narrative, or writing about our own experiences, is often less challenging than other form of writing. Still, teaching young children how to write narrative pieces can feel overwhelming. Here is how to introduce narrative writing step by step in a first grade or kindergarten classroom from a classroom teacher.

Are Your Students Ready for Narrative Writing?

Are your students ready to dive into narrative writing? Before you begin writing a personal narrative, it’s important to make sure your students are already comfortable with a few other things. Here are the things to teach before you dive into narrative writing.

  • Letter sounds – Your students don’t need to know all of their letter sounds, but they need to know enough so they can easily sound out simple words . If your students can’t yet stretch and tap out some words, they are not ready for this type of narrative writing. Instead, it’s more important to focus on strengthening their letter sound, segmenting, and blending skills. This doesn’t mean they can’t draw a picture of a personal experience and have you write a caption for them (which is a valid form of narrative writing), but having them attempt to write their own sentences without a firm letter sound foundation is simply not a great use of time. So, make sure they have a solid letter sound foundation first.
  • Illustrations- Although most students are comfortable drawing, we shouldn’t just assume that they are. Instead, it’s very helpful to take some time to discuss the importance of illustrations. (After all, illustrations enhance the story.) You can explore the illustrations in some favorite picture books, and even take some time to practice drawing different objects, people, and animals. The more details students can convey through their pictures, the easier it will be for them to use those illustrations to support their writing.
  • Sentences – Lastly, before diving into narrative writing, it’s important to spend time teaching your students the basics of sentence writing . Do yourself (and their future teachers) a favor, and take at least a full week to develop their understanding of sentences. If you’re teaching first grade, you can even go a bit further if they’re ready for it. (Learn how to teach your students about basic sentences and going further with sen tences .)

Step 1: Introduce Beginning, Middle, and End with Mentor Texts

An image of an anchor chart that says plot at the top. It features a path labeled beginning, middle, and end.

Okay, so now your students are ready to dive into personal narrative writing. The first step is to spend some time reading some mentor texts together. I personally prefer to read realistic fiction texts. Some of my favorites are Jabari Jumps , Jabari Tries , and Anything by Ezra Jack Keats (because who doesn’t love Peter!).

Discuss how every story has a beginning, middle, and end. Make an anchor chart together for students to refer to. Each time you read a story, have students retell the beginning, middle, and end. ( Read why mentor texts matter here. ) Taking the time to show them good narratives makes it so much easier for them to develop their own.

Step 2: Draw It Out

An image of 3 pictures of a narrative writing piece-. a car, a playground, and a kid eating a snack

Once we’ve read and retold some narrative stories, it’s time to give it a try. Planning writing is so important, so we start there. First, talk about potential topics. I always tell my students to think about things they do often, such as what they do before and after school, on the weekends, or on special days like birthdays. Then, I model drawing a beginning middle, and end of a personal narrative. I talk through each step and we make sure that the series of events are consecutive and go together. This is where picking something that is routine can be helpful- such as getting ready for school. After I model, I have students draw their beginning middle, and end. If possible, it’s really helpful to allow them to pair up with a partner and tell about their pictures. This helps them find the words for their story.

Step 3: Label It

The same drawings as above with the labels drive, play, and eat.

After they have drawn their beginning, middle, and end, I model labeling each of their pictures. We talk about how, when we label, we only need 1-2 words. This is helpful because typically writing a personal narrative will span over many days, so the picture and the label helps them (and me) remember what they’re writing.

When my students are labeling, I ask them to tap out their words and try their best with spelling. I do not spell words for them. This is because I am able to learn a lot about where they are in their literacy journey and understanding by what they can write on their own and how they can write it. For example, if a student writes “et” for eat versus “ete”, I know that the second child is aware that “et” is a short e so there needs to be something else that makes e say the long e sound.

Step 3. Write a First Draft

The same images as above but with a first draft of a narrative writing.

Once my students have labeled their pictures, I model how to write a first draft. I model looking at my picture and label and them using it to write a sentence. When we read narrative writing and create our anchor chart, we talk about using transition words like first, next, and last. We use these words when we retell the stories so they are already familiar and comfortable with them. So, we write first and then a sentence about our first picture. For example, “First I put on my shoes.” I model this for the beginning, middle, and end. One important thing is to add some mistakes in your writing. (This is important for step 5.) I tell my students that I am going to make some mistakes, and we don’t have to worry about them yet because this is just the first draft.

To start, I only ask them to write 3 sentences. One for the beginning, middle, and end. Although eventually we’ll work to writing a introduction and closing sentences, at first I keep it simple. I would much rather my students confidently write 3 sentences than push them to do more before they are ready.

Once I’ve modeled, I have my students write their draft. I will write the transition words on the board for them, or encourage them to look at the anchor chart. As they write each part, they check it off so they can make sure they include each one. Drafting typically takes a full day, sometimes too. Again, I do not spell words for my students at this stage. I want to see what they can do on their own. Plus, it is important for the next step.

Step 4: Editing Your Draft

An editing marks anchor chart for writing

After everyone has written their first draft, I introduce the idea of editing. Together, we create this anchor chart of the different editing marks. Then, we look back together at my first draft. We read each sentence together, and I let my students tell me what mistakes they see . I make sure to have at least one of every common mistake in my writing.

Once we’ve edited my writing, I show them how to rewrite my story to a final draft. We talk about going word by word so we don’t miss any important changes.

Step 4.5: Sit and Edit TOGETHER with Each Student

An image of the personal narrative first draft with editing marks

Once they have helped me edit my writing, I sit with each and every student and help them edit their story. I ask them to read me the story. This is important because I want to make sure they can understand and read what they wrote. After they read the whole thing, I make sure to compliment them on a few things they did really well. Then, we go through sentence by sentence and talk about what things we can fix. I make sure they understand why any changes need to be made. Once we’ve finished, I give them a paper to write their final draft on and they get started right away while it’s fresh in their mind.

If you’re wondering, yes, this takes a long time. Sitting one on one with 25 students takes many days. Sometimes a full week, but this is the most valuable time in the writing process because it gives me a window into where they are, gives me a chance to focus specifically on the areas the student needs, and allows me to encourage them in the areas they’re doing well. Often times, this turns into a one on one mini lesson on capitals, certain spelling patterns, punctuation, etc. It is time well spent, even if it means that it takes 3 full weeks to complete a writing piece.

If you’re also wondering what the other children are doing, that is a great question. It really varies, but typically I meet with students while the rest of the class is working on literacy centers . I also might work on editing writing when they’re working independently on their inquiry work or morning work . Really, any time is fair game. Any time I have a few minutes, I’ll grab a student to edit their writing.

an image of the first draft and final draft. A purple piece of paper with a small window is sitting on the rough draft.

A helpful tip: If your students struggle with tracking when they’re rewriting a rough draft to a final draft, this works like a charm. Cut a piece of construction paper in half, cut a little window, and that’s it! This allows them to only focus on 1-2 words at a time. As time goes on, you can make the window longer, if you want.

Step 5: Publishing and Celebrating

Image of a final draft of the narrative writing piece

The final step is letting students enjoy the fruits of their labor! After they have all finished their final draft, we take time to share our writing. The first time, I typically have them partner up and share two stars and a wish . Long before we begin narrative writing, I like to share this video about Austin’s Butterfly with my students. It helps them understand the purpose and benefit of getting and giving feedback. We practice giving feedback often, so this is not a new thing for our class. After they share their writing with a partner, I ask willing students to share some of the stars and then some of the wishes they received.

As we continue, sometimes I ask students to share their writing in small groups, with the whole class, or sometimes on Seesaw for their parents. This step is so important, though, because it allows them to feel a great sense of completion and accomplishment.

first draft and final draft

I typically tape or staple the two drafts together so the students can see the progression of their work. They always love to see what they started with and where they ended up! They also enjoy checking off their self assessment when they’re finished.

Step 6: Going Further

You might be wondering, if or when we make more detailed changes. When I first introduce narrative writing, we stick to 3 sentences and just fixing surface errors. With the next writing piece, I encourage my students to add a topic sentence or more details. Each time we work on adding more and more until they have created a story with an introduction, beginning, middle, end and closing sentence. I also encourage them to expand their sentences and add more details. I would rather my students take it slow and really feel confident than to rush and their teacher next year to have to reteach all of this.

If you’d like the template that I use for personal narrative writing, you can find it in my free resource library for email subscribers . Click the picture below to find it. You can also read more about my year long writing curriculum here .

download the narrative writing template here

You might also enjoy:

3 Ways to Build Confidence in Your Developing Writers

Free At Home Parent’s Guide for Supporting Student Writing

Why Strong Sentence Skills Help Students Produce Better Writing

The Easy Way to Teach Students to Expand Sentences

Find me on  Instagram ,  Facebook ,  Twitter , and  Pinterest .

Join my FREE Facebook Club for k-2 teachers here .

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  • How-To Guides

How to Write a Story for Children in 14 Steps

Where do I even start? That’s the overwhelming thought that comes across most aspiring children’s writers when they want to write their own book. It doesn’t matter if you want to write a picture book or a novel –  the problem is always the same. The goal of this article is to teach beginners how to write a story for kids, from having a simple idea to publishing your complete story. Let’s get started on writing your first children’s story.

Interested in fantasy stories? You might find our guide on how to write a fantasy novel useful.

  • Brainstorm your ideas
  • Develop your ideas
  • Develop your characters
  • Get the setting right
  • Plan the ultimate climax
  • Plan an awesome ending
  • Outline your story
  • Write the opening
  • Use effective dialogue
  • Include sensory elements
  • Write the Ending
  • Read and edit
  • Give your story a title
  • Publish your story

So, to summarise…

Planning Your Story

Before you even begin writing your story, you need to plan out all the important elements. Carry on reading for our amazing tips on how to plan your story.

Inspiration is everywhere, you just need to know how to find it. Sometimes it takes a short walk or a moment to yourself to find inspiration. Other times you could be talking to your friends or just watching TV when inspiration strikes.

Wherever you find inspiration it is important to keep a note of this moment. We really recommend getting into the habit of carrying a notebook and pen with you wherever you go. This way you won’t forget all those amazing ideas that pop up in your head. You can even call it your ideas book! There is no right or wrong way of structuring your ideas book, but if you need help you could try the following:

  • Write a list of words you find funny or interesting
  • Draw or describe different characters
  • Stick newspaper or magazine headlines you find interesting
  • Stick any photos or images you find interesting
  • Make note of any dreams you had and remember

ideas book-inspiration for your story

Another great idea could be to carry a camera with you when you’re out on a walk or on a day trip and take snaps of anything interesting. Photo or image prompts are brilliant for inspiring the imagination and reminding you of past memories. We recommend you read this post on how to use image prompts to see how you can use your old photos as a source of inspiration.

Photos along with your notebook are the perfect source of inspiration for when you’re ready to sit down and start planning your next story.

Now that you have a book full of ideas, the next part is to pick one or combine a couple of ideas to focus on. Then you can start developing your ideas into brilliant stories.

We all know that every story has a beginning, middle and end. In fact, the most basic structure you might notice in stories is that you have a hero who sets off on an adventure. They face a couple of challenges on the way, overcome them and live happily ever after (of course it’s not always a happy ending for some). Knowing this basic structure we can develop our ideas further using the story jigsaw method:

story jigsaw example

Each piece of the puzzle is explained below:

  • Who: Who is your character?
  • Want: What does your character want?
  • Why not: Why can’t your character get what they want?

This sounds simple enough! Let’s take a look at an example: Jimmy the fox wanted to enter the spelling bee, but could not find the money to pay for books.

In the above example, Jimmy the fox is the who. His want is to “enter the spelling bee“ and the why not is that he does not have enough money to pay for books. Our simple puzzle of 3 pieces has created a plot for a possible story. However, to make an even more interesting story, you may add several other pieces, such as another who, want and why not. This is explained in more detail in our free story writing pack .

The advanced writer might be interested in adding plot twists to their story to surprise the reader. This could be a surprise ending or a new character entering your story mid-way through and so on.

Hopefully, by now you should have a clear story idea to work on. The next part is to think carefully about the characters you want to include in your story. Characters are one of the most important elements of a story .

Don’t over-complicate this step by including too many characters. We suggest choosing one or two main characters to focus on in your story. When developing your character/s , you might want to think about the following in detail:

  • What do they want?
  • What are they scared of?
  • What bad memories do they have?
  • What good memories do they have?
  • Have they always been good/bad?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What do they look like? Any unique features?

But why would anyone want to know all these little details about your character? Well… they don’t. You just need to make your characters relatable to your readers. And what makes a character relatable, you ask?

Relatable characters have traits (or features) that an everyday person can understand and believe in. Even if you’re writing a fantasy story about witches and wizards. Your characters may have magical powers, but they could also be kind, come from a poor family, have a bad experience with bullies and so on. These extra pieces of information about a character’s backstory make your character interesting to your readers.

Oh and there’s one more very important thing you need to know about the main characters in stories. And that is…they always change in some way. Your character can start off as someone who is weak and scared of everything. Then by the end, they would overcome their greatest fear and become someone who is brave. This is what makes your story really interesting!

The setting of your story is very important, as this is where everything in your story will happen. You can choose to stick to one setting or move between various settings. Depending on what your story is about, you can choose to set the whole story in someone’s house or even just the school canteen. Or you can go all out on selecting various settings for your story, especially if it’s a story about time-travelling or just normal travelling.

Whatever your setting is remember to explain all the little details so your readers can also imagine being there with the characters. And by little details, we mean even the tiniest detail can make a huge difference. For example, if you chose a bus shelter as one of the key settings in your story, talk about the cracks on the glass or the pieces of litter on the floor. Don’t just stick to the appearance of objects, go further by describing the smell in the air and the sounds you hear. Just think about the five senses, sight, smell, taste, hear and touch for ideas.

The climax of the story is where the actual conflict happens or where your main character’s problems are at their highest point. This is the key moment just before the solution is revealed and normally happens towards the end of the story. To make sure your story has the ultimate climax give your character limited options, so they feel trapped or overwhelmed by recent events. This can then build up to a powerful ending (discussed in the next section).

In the actual climax itself, your main character should use a new skill, piece of information or even friends they made before this point. It is important to remember that without this “new something” your character could never have overcome their problem earlier on in the story. If your readers feel that your main character could have easily overcome their problems at the beginning of the story, then your climax is likely to disappoint your readers

The climax is the perfect place to demonstrate how much your character has grown since the beginning of the story. And to provide a valuable life lesson to your readers. And there are a number of things your character might learn, such as:

  • Discovering what they wanted was bad and now changing their want
  • Having to sacrifice something important to them to help/save someone else
  • Realising the consequences of their past behaviour

It is important to note that the actual climactic scene of your story should feature your character facing their problems alone. Even if your main character received help from other characters throughout the story. The climax must have a moment where only your main character goes ahead and defeats the problem.

Your ending doesn’t need to be very long and drawn out. In fact, it can quickly end after the climax. But that doesn’t mean that you should rush it off without considering your readers. There are a number of ways you can end your story, which include:

  • Happy Ending: The conflict ends, and the hero wins and lives happily ever after with everything they ever wanted.
  • Sad Ending: The conflict ends, but there were some difficulties or consequences because of how this conflict ended.
  • Cliff Hanger: The main conflict ends, but the reader does not know what happened to the main character or another bigger conflict is revealed to the readers.
  • Twist Ending: The most unexpected thing happens at the end, shocking the reader.

It is important when planning the ending that it clearly shows the end of the main conflict your character was facing throughout the story. And that this conflict was resolved through your main character’s actions. For example, if your main character was cursed by an evil witch and now they can’t speak at all. The ending should show that your main character was able to overcome this curse and live their life happily (if this was a happy ending).

When planning your ending you might want to play around with different endings to your story to see which one is the most powerful and exciting for your readers.

Before actually writing your story, we suggest you sit down and write out the basic structure of your story (preferably in one sitting). There are a number of ways you can do this, but the simplest way may be to list everything you know about your story somewhere (See our guide on how to outline a book with a free template ). This will help you to note down every idea you have about your story and make sure nothing interesting gets missed out or forgotten about. Listing out your key scenes can also help you identify any holes in your plot and opportunities to make your story even better. This can even save you time and frustration when it comes to actually writing your story.

Once you have finished listing out all your scene ideas, take a moment to look through your list. If you feel a scene idea is not clear or does not connect you can highlight these ideas. You may also highlight ideas that need further research. Now review all the highlighted ideas again and expand on these until they make sense or maybe just remove them from the story if there is no real connection. Think about alternative scenes that your reader won’t expect. F or example, you might have 3 different ideas for how your story will end.

You might even go a step further and sketch out the main scenes of your story using a storyboard or even some index cards. A storyboard will help you logically layout the key scenes in your story and swap them around to see what works best. A storyboard can also ensure that there are no gaps in your story or even scenes that repeat themselves. Once you are happy with your outline and feel confident that all the key areas of your story have been covered, you can move on to writing your first draft.

story outline example - storyboard

Writing Your Story

Now it’s time to start writing the first draft of your story. We call it the first draft because it is highly likely that you will have to write your story a number of times before it is ready to be published.

The opening sentence is one of the most essential parts of any story. It hooks the reader and encourages them to read on if they like the opening. Let’s all face it, there’s nothing really exciting about a story that starts off like, “One day I went to the park…”.

So what makes a good opening? A good opening should set the scene and get the reader excited about what will happen next. It should give enough information to the reader, so they are faced with a series of questions in their head, such as why did this happen? Some of the information you might include in your opening may be details of a setting, a character description or a significant memory in their life. For example. Danny The Champion Of The World by Roald Dahl starts off by describing the main character’s backstory:

“When I was four months old, my mother died suddenly and my father was left to look after me all by himself.”

Your opening should also set the mood for the entire story. For example, if you are writing a horror story, you might want to set a dark tone at the beginning. But bear in mind just because you are writing a horror story, you can still include humour or change tones slightly throughout the story. You just need to remember the overall mood of your story.

There are a number of ways to open your story, such as:

  • Starting with dialogue: A character in your story could be talking about something.
  • Begin with an action scene: Something might have happened to your main character.
  • Describe the setting: Use sensory details to describe an important setting.
  • Describe the character’s backstory: Your character has an important memory to share.

An extra tip for your opening is that you might want to plan a number of openings for your story to see which one is the most exciting.

Dialogue is speech between two or more characters. This can be expressed internally through thoughts or externally through conversations. Effective dialogue sets the scene, adds drama and develops your character’s personality. Dialogue also breaks up big chunks of descriptive text to add more life to your story and characters.

While using dialogue in your story may seem like a great idea, it can get boring if used wrongly. A mistake some writers make is including long dialogue between characters talking about minor or unnecessary things that have very little relation to the main conflict. While dialogue may seem like an easy way to clarify parts of your story, don’t use it as the only way to describe your story’s plot. Keep your dialogue short and simple, with important and interesting information.

Another common mistake in writing dialogue is not including the character’s emotions or personality in the dialogue. You might use straightforward direct words, but we all know that conversations in real life aren’t always that direct and simple. Try inventing your own words and don’t be afraid of including informal or slang words in your dialogue, as this could add to your character’s personality.

Learn how to write effective dialogue with our guide on how to write dialogue .

Sensory elements is another word for including the five senses throughout your story. When drafting out your story, try to find opportunities to include all the senses (not just sight). For example, if you’re introducing a new character, talk about how they smell, what their voice sounds like as well as any features that stand out. The same goes for when you are describing different settings or scenes in your story (see our section on settings above). Sensory elements make the reader feel like they are experiencing the story for themselves.

Typically taste is the least used sense in any story because it is hard to think about how something tastes unless your character is actually eating something. But a very good way to use the taste sense could be to describe how your character is feeling at a certain moment. For example, if your character is walking through a scary corridor, you can say their mouth felt dry and tasted like dry cement. This gives the reader a feeling of how scared or nervous that character felt at that moment.   

We already touched on the ending above so won’t go into too much detail here. The key to a good ending is to make sure your readers don’t feel disappointed after finishing your book. Make sure you don’t rush the ending by missing out on key details as to why this is the ending. For example, if you are ending on a happy note, don’t forget to tell your readers how and why your character/s are happy now compared to the beginning of the story.

The ending is a good place to close any gaps or things you forgot to mention earlier on, such as side characters which may have disappeared or a minor conflict that was never resolved. Your ending should also feature your main character otherwise the ending would be pointless to the reader.

Finally, no matter how you are ending your story, make sure the main conflict is resolved in some way. Whether this is a good solution or a solution with terrible consequences, you should clearly show the end of the conflict. As a bonus, a good ending almost always has a memorable last line. So when you are writing your ending, you might what to write down several last lines and pick the best one that summarises your story the best.

Publishing Your Story

Your first draft is now complete, it’s time to read and edit your story until you are happy to share it with the world.

If you have written your story on a computer, we suggest you print it out as it will make it easier for you to read a printed version. Once you have your story in hand, find a pen (preferably a red one) to circle or make notes of anything that doesn’t make sense in your story. When reading your story, we suggest reading it out loud, so you can listen to any words that are repeated or sentences that don’t make any sense.  

Read your whole story in one sitting, as you read you can make notes in any white spaces around the story text. While reading lookout for any boring or unnecessary information in your story and highlight it. In your first reading, we suggest that you avoid looking at spelling and grammar errors, instead focus on the content and ideas in your story. Once you have done this, you can edit your first draft. It is likely that your second draft will be slightly shorter, as you would have removed any boring parts of the story. Do the same with your second draft, ask yourself if the plot is clear and interesting? Are the characters interesting? Have I described the setting clearly?

When you are happy with the story concept, you can then move on to editing your story for spelling and grammar mistakes. At this stage, you can also look for opportunities to be more descriptive and sentences that start with the same words. Once you have sorted out these mistakes, you can ask someone else to read your story or even read it out loud to them. Another person will be able to give you feedback on how interesting your story is and whether it makes sense. They may even be able to give ideas on how to improve your story further.

The final step is the edit your final draft with all the changes you identified and then it’s ready for publishing.

Your story is almost ready, but we need to give it an interesting title. When picking a title for your story, you might focus on a particular quote, the name of the main character, or even key objects from your story. In most cases story titles are short and easy to remember, so avoid using long and complicated words in the title.

If you can’t find inspiration from your own story, try doing some research by looking at other book titles or using our book title generator . When researching make note of book titles that interest you and review your list to see what they have in common. You might even draw inspiration from everyday stuff, such as music or a movie you recently saw.

Remember the story title is the first thing your reader will see, therefore it should make them curious to open and read your book.  

So your story is now ready to be shared with the world! You can publish your story for free on many websites, including Imagine Forest . The benefit of publishing your story on this site is that you can share your story with a community of active members and receive feedback from other writers. You can even include images, create a cover for your story and print out your final story to share with friends and family.

create your own story-imagine forest

With a solid story under your belt, you might be ready to write some more stories. To motivate yourself you can enter many story writing competitions for young writers, where you can win awesome prizes for your writing skills.  We also recommend our weekly short story challenge for those who want to practice their creative writing skills.

Writing a good children’s story requires a lot of research and planning before you even actual begin writing it. And even with all your notes and ideas, drafting, rewriting and getting feedback can take a long time. The important thing to remember is to let your imagination run wild and never worry too much about spelling or grammar (or at least not at the beginning).  

If you’re looking for a quick step-by-step on how to write a children’s story, then here is a summary of  all the crucial steps you’ll need from planning to publishing your story:

Are you ready to write a story? Let us know your beginner tips for writing stories and what your next story is about in the comments below.

how to write a story kindergarten

Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he's not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.

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Little Minds at Work

Let’s Chat all Things Writing

how to write a story kindergarten

Let’s talk writing! Hey friends! I wanted to take a moment (or a few moments) of your time today to visit about all things WRITING! Writing has always been one of my favorite subjects to teach but for sure not the easiest! I mean when you start the year there is SO MUCH to learn… what a pencil is, how to hold a pencil, how to write with a pencil, what to write, how to stretch words, how to put words into sentences and it goes on from there! Sometimes teaching writing can be intimidating because there are SO many varying opinions. Should you give them a starter? Should you give them a sentence frame? Should they spell words phonetically. Should YOU spell words phonetically when modeling stories and so on!

I finally realized that there is not ONE way to teach writing and if someone tells you that there is only ONE way to do it… then you smile, nod and close your door. All of our students will start at different levels and need different instruction. That brings me to writing instruction and curriculum. There are of course many different writing programs! I was first given the writing lessons from my “big box” curriculum. The top of the lessons started with ALL YEAR, “Students will draw a picture to tell their story. You can dictate the story for them after.” REALLY? I mean yes there will be some kids that start lower and some that still might not get to sentences by the end of kindergarten. However, I’m going to assume that first grade teachers won’t be real happy with me if I only EXPECT my kiddos to color pictures for writing throughout the entire year. That brings me to the opposite end of writing curriculum *cough I’ve shared this program on my own blog before.* I liked this program and it had/has REALLY good parts. The problem is goes TOO fast and leaves out the majority of my students. Sure the program says that the teacher will scaffold by modeling but if the program is too tough for the majority of my class then that means the majority is not receiving the instruction they so deserve.

My first couple of years in the classroom I was constantly changing my kindergarten writing approach due to the above mentioned lack luster big box writing program.  One day I would give them a sentence starter.  The next day I didn’t.  At the end of the year my writers were where they needed to be but there was one thing I noticed… not all the kids enjoyed writing like I enjoyed it!  I knew that there was something I had to change!  After much research and chatting with colleagues I realized that writing is a work of heart!  When the kids are inspired and then able to express that into their kindergarten writing… they too will fall in love with writing!  What I didn’t realize those first couple of years was that I was writing and modeling stories that were near and dear to ME.  I can’t tell you every story I modeled for them but I am going to guess that a story about four-wheelers or Minecraft wasn’t wasn’t one of those!  By turning it over to the kids and having them choose their writing topics, I saw my kids BLOSSOM and year after year my writers fell in love with writing just like me! This is something that the second above mentioned program did but it was SO hard or me to “buy into” that one because it was just not the level of my kiddos. I took that same new passion and worked hard to put it into to easy to read lesson plans!  That is when KinderWriting was born! 🙂 In this post, I will share all about my favorite writing lessons I’ve done through the years, give you the freebie templates so you can plug them right into your lessons and I will be sharing all about the writing program I created called, KinderWriting .

KinderWriting

What is KinderWriting?

KinderWriting Curriculum is an engaging, kindergarten, genre-based writing curriculum. KinderWriting encourages young learners to look inward at their endless possibilities as a writer. KinderWriting is based upon nine units: Writing With Pictures, Writing With Sentences, Writing With Stories, Writing With Narrative, Writing With Opinion, Writing With Direction, Writing With Persuasion, Writing With Imagination, and Writing With Information. Each unit is broken down to 20 lessons. The units cover 20 days of academic instruction. The lesson plans have listed unit objectives, “I can” statements, Common Core writing standards and needed mentor texts.

KinderWriting encourages a daily routine of a minilesson, independent writing, and a share time. Each of the lessons in KinderWriting are well thought out for the young writer and spiral back to previous lessons to ensure students are retaining their skills. KinderWriting also includes unit anchor charts, a variety of writing paper, conferring schedules and note sheets, sample writings, student writing goals display, writing rubrics, and step-by-step guides that are made specifically for each unit.

What is included in KinderWritring Curriculum?

-Teacher “simple read” lesson plans. You will not need to rewrite these lesson plans, unless you choose do. If so I have included editable lesson plans. -Each unit I have planned out the; big idea, focus standard, essential questions, and so much more! -Writing paper -Unit posters -Student material -Unit rubrics -Spanish posters included

What about the standards? 

Each unit has a focus standard that is based upon the Common Core Standards. Units further into the year will have more than one focus standard. If you teach to a varying set of standards, you can email me for assistance. Thanks!

What Units are Covered?

Unit 1: Writing with Pictures Unit 2: Writing with Sentences Unit 3: Writing with Stories Unit 4: Writing with Narrative Unit 5: Writing with Opinion Unit 6: Writing with Direction Unit 7: Writing with Persuasion Unit 8: Writing with Imagination Unit 9: Writing with Information

how to write a story kindergarten

Let’s get started with Unit 1: Writing With Pictures.  This unit is all about setting the kiddos up for success!  If we jump right into “writing” our kiddos can sometimes feel unsure of themselves.  They might worry if their words are spelled correctly or if their pictures are perfect!  In unit 1, we introduce students to writing using illustrations! This is big, big, big especially for those lower kiddos! We want them to and NEED them to LOVE writing. We want to set them up with success from the very beginning.

KinderWriting

Unit 1: Writing With Pictures

Lesson 1: Illustrators! Yes? Lesson 2: Establishing the Minilesson Lesson 3: Drawing Sticks, Circles, & Boxes Lesson 4: Establishing Independent Write Lesson 5: Share Time Lesson 6: Illustrating the Best I Can Lesson 7: Detailed Pictures Lesson 8: Visualizing My Story Lesson 9: Looking Closely Lesson 10: Setting Goals Lesson 11: What is a Label? Lesson 12: Adding Labels Lesson 13: The Pencil Lesson 14: Labeling for Detail Lesson 15: Ask and Write Lesson 16: Show and Retell Stories Lesson 17: Labeling Your Name Lesson 18: Sticky Conferences Lesson 19: A Picture Book Lesson 20: Celebration

I recently had a Facebook live all about Unit 1!  You can listen into that video below!  If the video doesn’t load, you can access it HERE !

I have organized my units into a plastic tote!  Each unit has a folder in the tote!

KinderWriting

The plans include your needed materials, minilesson and ideas to expand your teaching during the share block!

KinderWriting

For independent writing I have offered a variety of writing journals and writing paper!  You can choose between landscaped and portrait style! I include lots and lots of styles so that you can decide what works best for your kiddos!

KinderWriting

Now let’s take a look at unit 2! In Unit 2 we start to introduce students to writing words and stringing some SIMPLE words together to make sentences!

Kindergarten writing

KinderWriting Unit 2 is all about encouraging students to stretch words, write words and then place those words into sentences!

Kindergarten writing

Below is a full listing of the lessons found in Unit 2 of KinderWriting!

Unit 2: Writing With Sentences

Lesson 1: Authors! Yes? Lesson 2: Authors Persevere Lesson 3: Writing Tools- ABC Chart Lesson 4: Making Words Lesson 5: Writers Make Mistakes Lesson 6: Stretching Sounds Lesson 7: Stretching More Sounds Lesson 8: Writing Tools- Sight Word Chart Lesson 9: Color Words Lesson 10: Letters vs. Words Lesson 11: Conferring and Writing Partnerships Lesson 12: Speech Bubbles and Emotion Lesson 13: Using the Room Lesson 14: Are You Really Done? Lesson 15: Capitals Lesson 16: Spacing Lesson 17: Punctuation Lesson 18: Words Make Sentences Lesson 19: Writing Storybooks Lesson 20: Sharing Storybooks

Kindergarten writing

Also in the folder is the unit spiral bound lessons, unit posters and the student mini poster rings!

how to write a story kindergarten

The student resource rings are perfect for the kiddos to keep in their pencil boxes!  You can also use them back at your guided reading table!

Kindergarten writing

We will use the mentor text, The Alphabet Tree, and build words!

Kindergarten writing

Unit 3: Writing With Stories

Lesson 1: Storytellers! Yes? Lesson 2: Authors Write About What They Love Lesson 3: Authors Write About What They Can Do Lesson 4: Authors Write About What They Know Lesson 5: Authors Write About The Past Lesson 6: Mechanics Matter Lesson 7: Names and Places Use Capitals Lesson 8: Tap Out the Story Lesson 9: Powerful Punctuation Lesson 10: Ask More With Writing Partners Lesson 11: A 5 W’s Story Lesson 12: Topics are Everywhere Lesson 13: Books are Stories Lesson 14: Places are Stories Lesson 15: Colors are Stories Lesson 16: Elapsed Time Lesson 17: Adding On Lesson 18: Illustrations Tell Stories Lesson 19: Storytelling Booklets Lesson 20: Sharing Storybooks

kindergarten writing

The big push in Unit 3 is to help those that struggle with generating their own witting topic each day! We want them to be confident in realizing that there are stories ALL AROUND US! We use included pictures to help students generate writing ideas.

kindergarten writing

We also teach them about using color as a writing inspiration!

kindergarten writing

What do writers write about? Well, the write about things they love, things they know, things they can do and things from the past!

kindergarten writing

We work on STRETCHING those words!

kindergarten writing

In unit 3, we become mechanics so we can work on all of those important skills, too!

kindergarten writing

Establishing writing goals are vital!

kindergarten writing

In each unit I supply you with a lot of learning posters to present to the kiddos!

kindergarten writing

We can’t forget the rubrics in each unit!

kindergarten writing

The student resource rings!

kindergarten writing

Unit 3 of KinderWriting wraps up the “basics” units! Units 4-9 are genre-based writing units! Let’s jump into those now!

how to write a story kindergarten

I like to play ninjas.

Also, here is the story booklet we used for this lesson!  You can grab yours for free below!

how to write a story kindergarten

Now let’s talk about Unit 4 of KinderWriting ! Unit 4 is all about Narrative writing! In unit 4, we take take the kiddos through the entire Narrative writing process! There is a week that we spend on mechanics and adding in adjectives/verbs into our stories as well!

Lesson 1: Narrators! Yes? Lesson 2: Narratives Use Words Like I, Me and My Lesson 3: Narratives Have a Setting Lesson 4: Narratives Have a Problem & Solution Lesson 5: Narratives Have a BME Lesson 6: Starting With a Hook Lesson 7: Ending With Feeling Lesson 8: Sequential Words Lesson 9: “Zoom” In Moments Lesson 10: Using Details Lesson 11: Writing With the 5 Senses Lesson 12: Adding in Adjectives Lesson 13: Adding in Verbs Lesson 14: Words Have Families Lesson 15: Mechanics Lesson 16: Narrative Booklets Lesson 17: Writing With a Rubric Lesson 18: Writing Process- Draft Lesson 19: Writing Process- Polish Lesson 20: Writing Process- Publish

Below is a look at the mentor texts for this unit! You can see there are three specific to narrative writing and three for the mechanics focus!

kindergarten writing

In Unit 4, we discuss all of the parts of a narrative story!

kindergarten writing

Unit 4 posters to teach all of the important tasks!

kindergarten writing

Unit 4 rubrics!

kindergarten writing

Student resource rings!

kindergarten writing

Unit 4 writing goals!

kindergarten writing

Now let’s talk opinion writing!  I  will discuss first some of my favorite opinion writing lessons over the years and then jump into opinion writing from KinderWriting!   I love introducing the kiddos to the big word for our opinion writing, because!  I always give a big hoopla over making sure we pronounce it correctly!  This might not be an issue in other parts of the country, but here in Missouri it’s usually pronounced as “becuz!”  So, after this talk they are correcting me the rest of the year if my pronunciation isn’t spot on!  We start with some simple opinion writings! We also talked a lot about what an opinion is and how it’s okay to have a different opinion then our friends!

how to write a story kindergarten

We also write opinions on if we like the tooth fairy best or Santa Claus! Below students wrote their thoughts in the opinion graphic organizer!  {Download the freebie below}

how to write a story kindergarten

Let’s talk KinderWriting Unit 5 which is all about opinion writing!

Lesson 1: Opinionators! Yes? Lesson 2: Giving Opinions Lesson 3: Fact vs. Opinion Lesson 4: Opinions Around Us Lesson 5: Opinions on the Spot Lesson 6: Using the Word Because Lesson 7: Giving Two Reasons Lesson 8: Using a Mentor Text Lesson 9: Opinion Starters Lesson 10: Defending an Opinion Lesson 11: Using the Word Wall Lesson 12: Spacing for Our Readers Lesson 13: Setting Letters on the Line Lesson 14: Reversals and Handwriting Lesson 15: Sounds in Words Lesson 16: Sharing Opinions Lesson 17: Writing With a Rubric Lesson 18: Writing Process- Draft Lesson 19: Writing Process- Polish Lesson 20: Writing Process- Publish

how to write a story kindergarten

Unit 5 writing posters!

how to write a story kindergarten

Unit 5 rubrics!

how to write a story kindergarten

Writing goals are a must!

how to write a story kindergarten

In unit 5, we work on fact vs. opinion!

how to write a story kindergarten

Unit 6-9 (Procedural writing, persuasive writing, fiction writing, informational writing) are also part of the KinderWriting bundle!

A note about pricing! 

Snag this bundle for  25% OFF  .  Each of the writing units sells for $12 each, a total of $108.  You can view KinderWriting HERE or clicking below!

KinderWriting

Now let’s talk letter writing! Depending on your district/standards, you might also be required to teach letter writing!

how to write a story kindergarten

Now let’s talk a little about assisted writing! I like to use assisted writing sheets mainly during independent writing times! This would be for example during daily five work on writing! My kiddos can’t get enough of my writing story starters!  I use them in their work on writing folders and as a choice for early finishers! I have found these story starters to work absolute wonders in my classroom!  What I love about the story starters the most is their ability to assist the students when working independently.  Students WANT to work without the assistance of their teacher, but sometimes they just don’t know how.  This can be especially true in writing.  Students of course would love to write a story of their own, but they at times don’t know what to write about.  The story starters take that out of the equation.  Students simply look at the picture given to them and start to write their story!

I like the spider and web.

how to write a story kindergarten

You can download an additional set of freebie writing posters HERE or clicking the images below!

kindergarten writing

Well I hope you enjoyed these freebies! Leave me some love if you were able to use any of these and feel free to pass them along! 🙂

how to write a story kindergarten

If you’re unsure if KinderWriting would work in your classroom, I recommended that you take a moment to read TEACHER feedback here ! There is no one that will tell you more accurately than fellow teachers!

Snag this bundle for  25% OFF . Each of the writing units sells for $12 each, a total of $108. You can view KinderWriting HERE or clicking below!

Do you teach first grade? Snag the FirstieWriting curriculum HERE .

how to write a story kindergarten

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how to write a story kindergarten

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Picture-Tellers: How to "Write" a Story, the Kindergarten Way

Introduction.

Entering Kindergarten is a huge milestone for many children. Their parents prepare them all summer long for the significant step they are about the take. They are told that going to Kindergarten makes them a "big girl" or "big boy," and that they will be doing a lot of learning when they get to school; and this is true! Today's Kindergarten students work on a wide range of academic and life skills throughout the course of the school year. They come into the classroom with confidence that they are now of school age and have reached a new stage of maturity. However, they quickly realize that they are the smallest of the big-ones, and they slowly lose that confidence.

Writing lessons that occur early in the year are full of the following statements from my students, "Ms. Adams, I don't know how to write that letter" and "I can't make a story, I don't know how to write yet." When children hear me announce writing in our daily schedule, they think of the printing and penmanship of letters (those strange symbols that big people can read and understand). To them, writing is only letters and words and has nothing to do with creativity, stories, or art. They do not realize that they possess ideas and thoughts that already make them writers. They have stories to tell…everyday…every single one of them. They need only the appropriate avenue to express those thoughts and ideas, as well as the organizational skills to make them clear to the reader. I want my students to know that they can write cohesive, organized stories by drawing pictures to show their words, rather than printing words to tell about their stories.

However, learning to write is so much more complicated than guiding students through a process of copying letters and learning simple sight words. When I receive my list of students in August, I get a group of 25-30 students who range in their age, maturity level, language acquisition, and learning abilities. As writing is so essential to their academic foundational skills, it is important that I provide my students with activities and lessons that help them achieve the goal of writing complete sentences by June. This goal, as stated in the "Kidified Standards ELA-K" includes 1.1 "I can use letter sounds to write about things I know," 1.2 "I can write simple words (CVC)," and 1.3 "I can write by moving from left to right and top to bottom." But these standards are lacking in guiding students to become writers of their rich thoughts and ideas rather than become printers of letters and words. 1

Most of my students enter the class with the idea that they cannot read or write because they do not understand the mechanics of printing or they do not possess the ability to apply phonemic awareness to letters. I want them to understand that they are capable of being great writers by communicating their thoughts and ideas in drawing images and pictures, as people have been doing for thousands of years. My unit is designed not only to help students see themselves as writers, but also to feel comfortable and confident in their ability to communicate their thoughts in the developmentally appropriate practice of drawing pictures and images.

Like many public school teachers, I work in an area with a high level of socio-economically disadvantaged students. We service a large amount of second language learners as well. I teach at Robert Sanders Elementary School, which is one of five schools in the Mount Pleasant Elementary School District. Robert Sanders is nestled against the east foothills of San Jose, California and includes Kindergarten through eighth grade. We have between 450-475 students at any given time; 68.7% of those students are considered socio-economically disadvantaged, and 83% are eligible for reduced or free meals, 67.1% of the students are English Language Learners, and 13.2% have been diagnosed with a disability. The majority of our students are Hispanic or Latino, 80.7%, with approximately 5% Asian and 2% Caucasian students. We are approaching our third year in Program Improvement, a title put on schools that receive title 1 funding and have failed to meet their annual AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress according to state testing scores) goal for two years in a row. We are also continuing with our Structured English Instruction program in grades K and first. This program was developed to help students with very minimal knowledge of or use of the English language. These students are placed in a classroom with other English Language Learners (ELL's) where they can support each other in their acquisition of English. Each class is led by a teacher who uses only English and is supported daily by an English Language Development teacher, who guides the students through daily lessons and activities to help them better utilize their exposure to English at school.

My district has adopted the ELA curriculum called "Treasures," which is published by McMillian/McGraw Hill. The kindergarten curriculum consists of ten units, each unit being three weeks long. Within the curriculum the students work on phonics, phonemic awareness, decoding, segmenting, reading, comprehension, oral language, science, and social studies. It offers lessons and practices for almost every aspect of a typical ELA curriculum; however, I have not been overly excited about the writing portion and how it fits the needs of the students in my kindergarten classes.

While there are parts of the "Treasures" curriculum that I find to be highly valuable to the students and myself, I feel that it is lacking in its writing element. The curriculum starts off with a brief introduction to the ABC's, and it allows for a few drawing and reading activities. Then, the first unit sets the pattern for the year: students will focus on two to three letters per three week unit as well as a few sight words. In the suggested "centers" activities, the students are to practice these skills by using the letters to write . This is what I see as the key problem in the curriculum: it quickly links the skill of writing to the skill of printing, making the assumption that the two must go hand in hand. The program instructs students to identify and print letters assuming they are ready to make the huge leap between writing letters and understanding that those letters make words that convey thoughts and ideas. As stated in an article titled "Writing in Preliterate Children" by Jean Emile Gombert and Michel Fayol, "it is not until age 5 or 6 that the directionality of writing is mastered and the functions of the various writing media are thoroughly understood." 2 Printing is a mechanical ability that should be taught separate from writing. It requires a different set of skills to perform successfully. Printing letters involves fine and gross motor skills, as well as the ability to understand and physically copy the shapes and lines needed to make the letters. Writing, however, requires a great deal of conceptualization and organizational skill. This process must take place in the mind of the writer, before he or she even takes pen, or oversized pencil, to hand.

So often, printing and writing are linked together early on, in hopes that a kindergartener (typically age 4 or an early 5 in the beginning of kindergarten) is ready to combine the two skills and produce evidence of their thoughts or opinions. Most students at this age are beginning writers or "nonwriting" as defined in an article written by Marjorie L. Hipple titled "Journal Writing in Kindergarten," and they are at the developmental stage of drawing and scribbling forms that represent what their thoughts are. 3 The "Treasures" program asks the students, with the help of the teacher, to make lists and word webs in the first few weeks of school. After teaching Kindergarten for the past ten years, I know expecting that the students can copy a list or word web puts a great deal of stress on the students and the teachers. By beginning my unit early on in the school year, I will be able to disconnect the link between printing and writing, until the students are ready to make that connection on their own, naturally. I want my students' first experience with writing in school to be one that is not only developmentally appropriate, but exciting.

In the first few years as a teacher, because I had the typical excitement and enthusiasm that most new teachers have, I was ready to conquer the world. I started each year ready to greet a new group and take them to the heights of academia! While my schooling and training in a credential program provided me with multiple methods of reaching my students, I also had two boxes of curricular materials (at least ten TE's, a hundred or so pre-decodable books, phonics and phonemic awareness workbooks, and usually some fuzzy, loveable little puppet used to communicate the daily goals with the students), not to mention the hoards of advice from more seasoned teachers. My enthusiasm quickly diminished as I tried to plan lessons that included every part of the ELA curriculum into my four hour time-block with my students, not to mention math, science, social studies, recess, library, art projects, social activities, etc., etc., etc.!

As I began to accumulate a little more experience, I came to see that despite the curriculum's bulk, it was lacking in providing my students with the type of experiences they need to build the foundational skills that great readers and writers possess. Once I recognized this, I sought out advice from those more seasoned teachers. This time, they shared with me journaling strategies and their procedures for centers; and time and time again they mentioned something called "Writer's Workshop."

In my unit, I will help my students produce written work in the form that is most suitable to their age and beginning skill level: picture drawing. I want to take away the stress of knowing what letters are, uppercase vs. lowercase, how to print them and what sound they represent. I want the students to understand that they are storytellers and that they are able to communicate those stories and be writers by drawing images that represent what they are thinking. This three-week unit will be the foundation of a year-long writer's workshop program. I will be establishing the practices and procedures of the program that will let the students grow and progress at their own rate. My unit will be the first step of the writer's workshop, which will help the students understand and see that they have a lot of ideas and stories to share with the world through their drawings, in a safe, esteem-building setting. As Angela Beyhmer explains, "Many kids find drawings to be a safe way to create symbolic representations of what they want to say, what stories they want to tell." 4

My students are so enthusiastic about school and learning, but need the proper encouragement and guidance to bottle that enthusiasm and maintain it throughout the school year. In setting up an environment and writer's workshop that is developmentally appropriate, I am ensuring that they will continue to be excited about learning. Furthermore, an appropriate writer's workshop will allow the students to be successful and to be challenged at the same time. When they are able to meet and conquer these challenges, they become stronger writers and their enthusiasm is limitless. I want my students to feel capable and have a sense of pride in their writing, regardless of their stage in the writing process. This is a huge task in Kindergarten as some students come into the classroom with no experience in a school setting. Others, who have been in preschool, are ready to apply the skills they have acquired to more advanced activities. I find the adaptability and functionality to be the beauty of a thoughtfully developed writer's workshop, and the overarching goal of this unit.

Writer's Workshop and "Kid Writing"

Writer's Workshop is a writing program designed by Lucy M. Calkins. This program is a progression of developmentally appropriate lessons that begin in Kindergarten and continue through fifth grade. Each year, there is a developed theme to the units with a set of skills that build upon the previous year's while at the same time preparing students to continue on into the next year. Calkins has written several series of books on setting up writing and reading programs that aim to meet students where their needs are and move them on at a pace individually suited for them. Calkins exhibits a fine knowledge of teaching practices and provides explanations that any primary grade teacher can relate to in her series of books titled, The Nuts and Bolts of Teaching Writing "; in her words, "As K-2 teachers, we know that we will have a variety of writers in our classroom. We know there will be a range of ability levels from children who can write 'squiggles and lollipops' to (perhaps) those who can write pages full of conventional sentences." 5 These books are great tools for teachers, offering step-by-step instructions for how to set up a workshop, procedures to follow to ensure success in a workshop, as well as strategies to use within the workshops.

A second program that has been created from a combination of Lucy Calkins's Writer's Workshop and core Vygotskian theories is one titled "Kid Writing," which was developed by two primary grade teachers, Eileen G. Feldgus, Ed. D., and Isabell Cardonick, M.Ed. This program was written and geared toward the lower primary grades of Kindergarten and first grade. I find this program to be valuable for my typical set of students because it has the elements of Calkins's workshop while allowing teachers more opportunities to use their district adopted curriculum; thus, the teachers and students are happy with a developmentally appropriate and challenging program, and the administration has little room for objections as the curriculum has not been tossed out the window. Two of the main points of Feldgus and Cardonick's philosophy come directly from Vygotsky's theories of developmentally appropriate practices and the zone of proximal development: "Children learn best in risk-free environments with high levels of challenge and support," and "Children learn best through social interaction with a more knowledgeable peer or adult." 6 With the guidance of Feldgus and Cardonick, teachers can create an environment in which students are free to learn at their own pace, while still being challenged at a comfortable level. When the students reach a point of confusion or tension in their learning, they are encouraged to seek adult and peer help. Conversely, the guiding adult or more "knowledgeable" peer is fine tuning his or her own skills when providing that assistance in the role of an expert.

A second benefit I see in Feldgus and Cardonick's writing program is the continued emphasis on writing throughout the entire day and on linking those lessons to phonemic and phonetic awareness—but only when the child is ready to do so. This point also recalls Vygotsky's zone of proximal development, "the distance between the actual development level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers." 7 Again, the child is working at a level of comfortable challenge. As we all know, our students come to us with varying levels of literacy development, social-emotional develop, and maturity. In allowing every student to work at a rate that is suited for him or her, we take away the stress and anxiety that some may feel when they look at a phonics workbook only to see a strange combination of lines and curves, while the teacher goes on to name these figures and urge the students to copy them. While some students may come to us ready to name the letters, give their sounds, and practice writing them on lined paper, others have not developed that skill and may need to learn to hold a pencil before they even begin to think about forming the letters.

Many recent studies support the idea that children who are of Kindergarten age are not physically or cognitively ready to master or even practice handwriting until later on in the school year. In one study conducted by Stephen Rushton and Elizabeth Larkin titled "Shaping the Learning Environment: Connecting Developmentally Appropriate Practices to Brain Research," the authors provide a list of the numerous parts of the brain that are active when simply picking up a book to read: "For instance, reading a book requires that the child picks up a book, (activating the motor cortex: movement); she looks at the words, (activating the occipital lobe: vision); she attempts to decipher words (activating the temporal lobe: language); and finally, she begins to think about what the words mean (activating the frontal lobe: reasoning)." 8 A task that seems so simple, picking up a picture book to view or read, involves several parts of the brain and uses several skills. If this activity is so taxing, imagine how much it takes to see a letter, interpret it, pick up a pencil, and copy the form. Are we asking too much of our students too soon? I say the answer to that question is, yes. In a case study titled "Relationship Between Visual-Motor Integration and Handwriting Skills of Children in Kindergarten: A Modified Replication Study," Christopher J. Daly, Gail T. Kelley, and Andrea Krauss found that "Developmentally, a kindergarten age child is sharpening fine motor skills and visual perceptual skills that together enable them to perform activities requiring visual-motor integration, specifically handwriting." 9 Most kindergarten students are not equipped with the visual motor skills needed to learn to form the figures of the alphabet, let alone ready to decipher the images and symbols that make up written language. To many children the letters of the alphabet are recognizable only because they see them everywhere they go, but not because they have had a chance to decode the symbols and images. What Lucy Calkins, Eileen Feldgus and Isabell Cardonick attempt to do is set up a structure or frame for a writing program that allows teachers to modify it in order to meet the needs of their students.

Developmentally Appropriate Practices and Picture Writing

By beginning this unit early on in the school year, I will be able to disconnect the link between printing and writing that is made in our district's ELA curriculum. It is clear to all of us that our students need to develop phonics skills and have a strong foundation of phonemic awareness, but as today's kindergarten pushes its students to read, write, and compute, we tend to forget about what they need when they walk in the classroom. There is so much we want to achieve with them that the curriculums tend to push students to master letter identification and production early on in the year. While these are two skills that we will cover, and hopefully master by the end of the year, this unit allows the students to tackle these skills at their own pace. It does not assume that they are all in the same developmental spot and will work at the same rate. In the article "Relationship Between Visuomotor and Handwriting Skills of Children in Kindergarten," Marsha J. Weil and Susan J. Cunningham Amundson discuss handwriting from an occupational therapist's point-of-view; they explain the penalties of beginning handwriting too early in the year, "Some children are taught handwriting before they acquire adequate prerequisites for handwriting skills. Children who are not ready to write may become discouraged and develop poor writing habits that could be difficult to correct later." 10 Not only is it inappropriate to begin handwriting so early in the year when the majority of students are not ready to tackle it, but it can cause handwriting problems that will need to be worked on down the road.

A Brief History of Humankind & Written Language

Since the beginning of human society, there has been a need for some sort of communication to help people share the earth in peace and harmony. It is an inherently natural desire for man to want to communicate with those around him, conveying his needs, thoughts and emotions. For many years this was done with physical actions and reactions accompanied by sounds or grunts. After some time, as man became more sophisticated, so did the way in which he wanted to communicate. In a book on the origins of writing titled The Study of Writing: The Foundations of Grammatology , Ingnace Jay Gelb explains how communication progressed from movement and sound, to a more concrete form: "The need for finding a way to convey thoughts and feelings in a form not limited by time or space led to the development of methods of communication by means of (1) objects and (2) markings on objects or any solid material." 11 The time when written language began is similar to the stage of writing in which my students come to me in August. They have had a few years of learning to communicate their needs, thoughts and emotions through physical movement, sounds, and grunts, as well as oral language. It is my job to get them from this stage to that of communicating in a more tangible way.

Much like my students, humans began the aforementioned practice by drawing images. There are countless studies, essays, and documented images that support this idea. One such book dedicated to this belief is by Harry M. Raphaelian titled, Signs of Life: A Pictorial Dictionary of Symbols . In his book he writes, "The first man-made symbols — images with meaning — come to us in the form of pictures, drawings and paintings preserved on cave walls or scratched and incised with sharp stone tools on bone, shell and ivory." 12 Before any symbol or letter system was created, man relied on images and pictures to communicate with others. There were not yet abstract letter-images with phonetic connections to use as humans were not ready for this. Similarly, many of my students are not ready to take the jump from communicating through oral language to writing letters and words. Drawing pictures is the most natural next step for the majority of them, such as it was thousands of years ago for man-kind itself. Anne Haas Dyson of UC Berkley adds that drawing pictures before learning to write letters and words serves as a sturdy and stable bridge between the two skills: "children's understanding of the symbol system of drawing (of using lines and curves to represent objects) may serve as a transition to their initial understanding of the symbol system or writing (of using the lines and curves of letters to represent the names of objects)." 13 As a teacher I must guide my students through this transition, allowing each student the time he or she needs to bridge that gap. By implementing a developmentally appropriate writer's workshop, I can steer my students down the path from drawing pictures in their story writing to using letters in their story writing (a goal to be approached much later in the year).

Kinder-Writer's Workshop

As I find the practices and strategies of both Calkins's and Feldgus and Cardonick's programs to be appropriate for my grade level, I would like to start off the year by designing and implementing a "Kinder-Writer's Workshop" of my own. However, in studying with my seminar coordinator and seminar group, I realized that there are a few tweaks I would like to make in my own class. My unit is going to be the foundation to our writing workshop. In setting up this program, I want to share with my students a brief but relatable history of written languages. I want each and every student to know, "You are an author" (Calkins). 14 I want them to take value in this not only by hearing me repeat it to them everyday, but also by learning how written language came to be, and started much in the way which they will—by drawing pictures. As writing and reading go hand in hand, I want my students to be able to read a sequence of images or pictures from a text. In doing this, they will experiment with making meaning with images and will see how their pictures, when put in sequential order, can be read as a text.

In my three-week unit, I will establish the practices and procedures as well as the reasoning behind implementing our very own Writer's Workshop. I will develop a sequence of lessons that will help my students learn to recognize the basic organization of a story (beginning, middle, and end), as well as help them to understand that a great deal of information can be communicated in the drawings they make to tell their stories. I will do this by showing my students examples of Hieroglyphics and explaining how its symbols served as the basis for the first written language. These examples will help them make the connection between images and communicating meaning in pictures and/or images.

We will then take a look at several familiar picture books, viewing only the images to create the story, being sure to identify its beginning, middle, and end. Finally, I will guide the students through an activity of writing their own book about a memorable event that has occurred in the first few weeks of school, again identifying the beginning, middle, and end.

The activities in this unit will strengthen the students' understanding of what it means to be a writer, as well as give them the confidence and enthusiasm they need to participate in our year-long workshop.

The strategies that I will use in this unit are an attempt to meet the three main needs that I see my students as having. The first strategy will be to set up the Kinder-Writers Workshop within the first two weeks of school. Within our workshop, I will utilize such strategies as conducting a morning message lesson at the beginning of each day, daily journaling activities, and big book read-aloud (or "view-aloud"). During our read-alouds, I will check for understanding through comprehension questions and by guiding the students through their discussions.

Two major parts of Calkins's writer's workshop involve conducting daily mini-lessons that are aimed at teaching specific writing skills and encouraging students to share their writing. In this unit, I will use the mini-lesson time to empower my students as writers so that they are ready to conquer the tasks of writer's workshop. I will also build background of written languages by presenting examples of early writing systems (Hieroglyphics, rock art, Greek vase art) and prompting students in their responses to each. I will guide them to explore the connection between these ancient forms of writing and our workshop. In our daily discussions, I will encourage students to discuss it with their elbow partner (person sitting next to them on the carpet).

After reading the many articles and books on the developmentally appropriateness of certain strategies, I have decided to set up several stations during our centers time that aim to help students develop fine motor skills. Some of these activities will include manipulating play-dough, sand-table play, lacing beads and noodles, using markers and crayons to trace lines, curves and shapes. These activities will help students build muscle in their hand and fingers as well as help to develop hand-eye coordination or visual-motor skills.

Activity One: An Introduction to Ancient Writing

Objective: Students will make a connection between their developmentally appropriate stage in the writing process—drawing pictures—and how humans originally communicated through writing—drawing pictures.

Focus: Students will observe early examples of writing (Egyptian hieroglyphics), discuss what they may have symbolized, and create their own cartouches using hieroglyphic stamps.

Materials: I want to provide the students with a wide range of hieroglyphic images to view and discuss. I will have an assortment of books on Egypt to share with class, including Fun With Hieroglyphics by Catherine Roehrig and Hieroglyphs by Joyce Milton and Charles Micucci. I will also use the Apple ipad that is available for use with permission from the principal. I will be able to do a simple search on any web browser and share the images with my students using the iPad and the projector. To make the cartouches, I will use small pieces of cardboard cut into ovals and covered with a thin layer of play dough or clay, hieroglyphic stamps, permanent ink-pads in assorted colors, and small lunch trays to hold the supplies at each table.

-Gather on the carpet in front of the projector screen. Share with children the fact that they are in Kindergarten to learn to do many things and that they will grow a lot during the course of the year. But they may not know that they are already writers, even as they sit on the rug in front of me, even if they do not know how to spell their names, even if they have never written a single letter in their life!

-Show images of ancient hieroglyphics (be sure to use several images of cartouches) and ask students to share their ideas about what they think the images are, where they are, and what might they be for (allow students to share out ideas, prompting with questions if needed: What does that look like to you [pointing to a specific symbol]? Have you ever seen a picture that looks similar? Where do you think these pictures are? In a building, outside on a tree, where might they be?)

-Reveal to the students that these symbols and images are from the first ever ABC's—hieroglyphics! Explain how the images are read, left to right and right to left. Share with students how the symbols translate to the English alphabet (translation tables can be found online at www.chamois.k12.mo.us or in the Catherine Roehrig book).

-Model for students the procedure of creating a cartouche. Talk them through the process, step-by-step.

-Send students to their tables, passing out a cartouche to each. At each table, in the center, is a tray with five to six of the hieroglyphic stamps, and three to four stamp pads.

-Once students are done, bring their cartouches outside and place in the sun to dry.

-Call students back to the carpet to share with their elbow partner which symbols they used to make their cartouche.

-Use the translation chart to translate a word from our daily schedule to hieroglyphics (recess, lunch, writing, etc.).

Activity Two: Introducing Kinder-Writing Workshop

Objective: Students will be introduced to the procedures and routines of our writer's workshop. Students will also have the chance to be a writer, after watching the teacher model developmentally appropriate writing practices.

Focus: Students will participate in their first mini-lesson that is designed to demonstrate that they are full of writing ideas. They will watch as I model how to brainstorm writing ideas, choose a focus idea, and then draw a picture to show my idea. They will share aloud their ideas and then return to their tables to create their first kinder-writer's workshop paper.

Materials: Large pad of chart paper or two large sheets of white butcher paper—one sheet is designed as a replica of the student's writing paper—whichever style works best for your students, countless printable resources can be found online (I like the writing paper found on Teachers Pay Teacher under "Mrs. I's Class"), markers, students sheets of writing paper, supply baskets at each table (each basket containing several pencils, crayon boxes, marker sets, and erasers).

-Gather with students on the carpet, in front of easel board with blank chart paper and markers.

-Remind the students from previous lessons that they are writers right now; they are all ready to write as soon as they choose an idea.

-Guide them through the process of thinking about a topic by thinking about what they know. Make a list of things that I like, eventually focusing on places where I like to go.

-Make a list of places that the students like to go.

-Model how to draw a picture of me at the beach (a place that I like to go).

-Model how to add simple details and colors to writing.

-Review the list of places the students helped to create on the chart paper.

-Students tell their elbow partner a place they like to go that they will write about at their seats.

-Send students to their tables; on their way they take a sheet of writing paper to their seats.

-Remind students of workshop rules and timing.

-Walk around and conference with students as needed (as this is our first time writing at our tables, conferencing time will be minimal).

-Call students to the carpet with their writing and allow any students who wants to share to stand on the "writer's stage" (a stool placed in front of the carpet) and share their writing.

Assessment:

-Collect students' writing to do a quick check and evaluation (I like to save their first writing of the year and send it home on the last day of school, so the students and their parents can see how far their writing has come in the school year).

Extensions:

-If you have noticed that your group of students contains enough children who are ready to write letter-strings or letters, the next day you can begin with a mini-lesson on the topic or call those specific students to the carpet for a conferencing session on writing letters or symbols for each sound they hear.

Activity Three: How to Write a Three-Part Story (A two-part lesson)

Objective: Students will participate in a writer's workshop mini-lesson that pushes them to stretch their one-page writings into a three-page story. They will read a story (taken from the Treasures curriculum) as displayed in three sequence cards and observe how a story can be told in three parts, beginning, middle, and end.

Focus: They will see this process in reverse as I share a story with them, taken from the Treasure's curriculum sequencing cards. After "reading" the story in the three images representing beginning, middle, and end, students will brainstorm activities we've done at school, breaking each of them down into three steps. We will then work as a whole group to choose a significant event that has occurred in school thus far, to break it into three parts, and to draw each part (teacher modeling the writing).

Materials: Large pad of chart paper, or four large sheets of plain, white butcher paper, markers, students sheets of writing paper (three pages stapled together like a book for each child), supply baskets at each table (pencils, crayons, markers and erasers), Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington sequencing cards from Treasures curriculum (choosing the best three to tell the story and stapled together, out of the six cards provided), a teacher-written book in the same writer's workshop format that the students will use in Day 2 of the lesson.

Procedure (Day 1):

-Gather students on the carpet in the kinder-writing workshop area in front of the easel board and tell them that you want to begin the workshop by telling them a story.

-Share the "story" Apple Farmer Annie with the students by looking at each page, discussing what is happening, and describing the scenario in each picture.

-After discussing each page of the book, begin to formulate a story that links the pages together as a story (keeping it as simple as possible, based on the class' skill level).

-Show students the teacher written three-part book (this should be a book that you have already created in the writer's workshop format: a simple beginning, middle, and end story with a simple plot and illustrations).

-Ask questions to guide the students' thinking and get them ready for the next day's lesson: Where can you get ideas for your story? Can you think about something exciting that happened to you since you've been in Kindergarten? Maybe you went on a special trip last summer and want to make that into your story.

-Record students' ideas on the chart paper, with their names next to their idea and save for tomorrow.

-Have students turn to a partner and share other ideas for a story.

Procedure(Day 2):

-Gather on the carpet for writer's workshop, in front of the easel board with chart paper and yesterday's list of student ideas for story writing.

-Review story of Apple Farmer Annie as well as the teacher-written book you shared with the students on the previous day. Be sure to use keywords: beginning, middle, end, sequencing.

-Share with students a day that you can remember as special since the school year began, recalling three major events that day.

-With students, repeat the three events and count them out numerous times.

-Model making your story into a book by writing it in front of the students, with their guidance and assistance (What was the middle part? What could I draw to show that? Are there any details I can add to make this page more interesting?)

-Review the students' list of story ideas from yesterday and ask if there are any more ideas they would like to add today, recording their responses on the chart paper.

-Have students stand and mingle-mingle on the carpet (walk around the carpet area, finding a new spot once the music has stopped), then share their story idea with their elbow partner. (If time permits, I might put them in quick groups of four and have each small group share—four ideas is better than two!)

-Send students to their seats, stopping at the writer's station to get their "books" (three regular workshop writing papers stapled to look like a book).

-Allow students time to think at their seats and write.

-Circulate, prompting with story ideas or sequencing tips when needed. I like to encourage the students to first ask their tablemates for help.

-Call students back to the carpet after ten to fifteen minutes, leaving their books on their tables to be collected.

-Choose two to three students to share their books with the class (I choose students who have a firm grasp of the concept or who are headed in the right direction. I might also choose students who have effective details or have tried to add letters; just to give the class a variety of examples to look at).

Bibliography

Beyhmer, Angela. "Kindergarten Writing Workshop." The Reading Teacher 57, no. 1 (2003): 25. A useful article that explains the reasoning behind beginning writer's workshop in Kindergarten with drawing pictures.

Calkins, Lucy. The Nuts and Bolts of Teaching Writing . Portsmouth, NH: FirstHand, 2003. A useful tool in implementing a writer's workshop.

______. Units of Study for Primary Writing: A Yearlong Curriculum . Portsmouth, NH: FirstHand, 2003. Another useful guide in setting up a writer's workshop and keeping the momentum going for all grades.

Daly, C. J., G. T. Kelley, and A. Krauss. "Relationship Between Visual-Motor Integration and Handwriting Skills of Children in Kindergarten: A Modified Replication Study." American Journal of Occupational Therapy 57, no. 4 (2003): 459-462. A study conducted to examine the relationship between hand-writing skills and brain development in Kindergarteners.

Dyson, Anne Haas. "Transitions and Tensions: Interrelationships Between the Drawing, Talking, and Dictating of Young Children." Research in the Teaching of English 20, no. 4 (1986): 379-409. An article that uses Vygotsky's theories and practices to exhibit the developmental stages of writing: speaking, drawing, letter and word writing.

Feldgus, Eileen G., and Isabell Cardonick. Kid Writing: A Systematic Approach to Phonics, Journals, and Writing Workshop . Bothell, Wash.: Wright Group, 1999. A wonderful workbook for any teacher looking to incorporate a writer's workshop that includes phonetic skills and developmentally appropriate practices.

Gelb, Ignace Jay. The Study of Writing: The Foundations of Grammatology. London: Routlage and K. Paul, 1952. An interesting book listing the various forms of early writing systems and how they came to be.

Gombert, Jean Emile, and Michel Fayol. "Writing in Preliterate Children." Learning and Instruction 2, no. 1 (1992): 23-41. An article that explores the progression of young children from spoken word to written word.

Hipple, Marjorie L. "Journal Writing In Kindergarten." Language Arts 62, no. 3 (1985): 258. An article written by a kindergarten teacher on the effectiveness of journal writing in a kindergarten classroom.

Olshansky, Beth. "Making Writing a Work of Art: Image-Making Within the Writing Process." Language Arts 71, no. 1 (1994): 522-523. An article describing the benefits of linking art and drawing with writing.

Raphaelian, Harry M. Signs of Life; A Pictorial Dictionary of Symbols. . [1st ed. New York: A. Sivas, 1957. An informative account of how we written language came to be.

Rushton, Stephen, and Elizabeth Larkin. "Shaping the Learning Environment: Connecting Developmentally Appropriate Practices to Brain Research." Early Childhood Education 29, no. 1 (2001): 29. An article exploring recent trends in teaching practices and what the kindergarten child's brain is developmentally ready to accomplish.

Senner, Wayne M. The Origins of Writing . Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991. A book of essays explaining the lengthy process of how written language came to be.

Vygotsky, L. S., R. W. Rieber, and Aaron S. Carton. The Collected Works of L.S. Vygotsky . New York: Plenum Press, 1987. A look at Vygotsky's theories of language acquisition and the development of various parts of the brain.

Weil, Marsha J., and Susan J. Cunningham Amundson. "Relationship Between Visuomotor and Handwriting Skills of Children in Kindergarten." American Journal of Occupational Therapy 48, no. 11 (1994): 982. An eye-opening (or re-opening) study conducted on what we expect Kindergarteners to do and what they are developmentally ready to do.

1. www.pvusd.k12.ca.us Pajaro Valley Unified School District I Can Do Standards!

2. Jean Emile Gombert and Michel Fayol, "Writing in Preliterate Children ," 31.

3. Marjorie L. Hipple, "Journal Writing in Kindergarten ," 258.

4. Angela Beyhmer, "Kindergarten Writing Workshop," 25.

5. Lucy Calkins, The Nuts and Bolts of Teaching Writing, 8-9.

6. Eileen G. Feldgus and Isabell Cardonick, Kid Writing: A Systematic Approach to Phonics, Journals and Writing Workshop , 9.

7. Lev S. Vygotsky, The Collected Works of L.S. Vygotsky , 86.

8. Stephen Rushton and Elizabeth Larkin, "Shaping the Learning Environment: Connecting Developmentally Appropriate Practices to Brain Research," 28.

9. Christopher J. Daly, Gail T. Kelley and Andrea Krauss, "Relationship Between Visual-Motor Integration and Handwriting Skills of Children in Kindergarten: A Modified Replication Study," 459.

10. Marsha J. Weil and Susan J. Cunningham Amundson, "Relationship Between Visuomotor and Handwriting Skills of Children in Kindergarten," 982.

11. Ingnace Jay Gelb, The Study of Writing: The Foundations of Grammatology , 4.

12. Harry M. Raphaelian, Signs of Life: A Pictorial Dictionary of Symbols , 2.

13. Anne Haas Dyson, "Transitions and Tensions: Interrelationships between the Drawing, Talking, and Dictating of Young Children," 380.

14. Lucy M. Calkins, Units of study for primary writing: a yearlong curriculum, 56.

Internet Sources and Children's Resources

Ancientsripts.com- A Compendium of World-wide Writing Systems From Prehistory to Today (www.ancientscripts.com)

California Department of Education (www.cde.ca.gov)

Osage County School District (www.chamois.k12.mo.us)

History Discussion Forum (www.historum.com)

Pajaro Valley Unified School District (www.pvusd.k12.ca.us)

Rich East High School Ancient Civilization Studies (www.richeast.org)

Robert Sanders Elementary School website (www.rs.mpesd.org)

Teachers Pay Teachers (www.teacherspayteachers.com)

Milton, Joyce and Charles Micucci, Hieroglyhs . Grosset and Dunlap, 2000.

Roehrig, Catherine, Fun With Hieroglyphics. New York, New York. 1990.

Wellington, Monica, Apple Farmer Annie . Dutton Children's Books, New York. 2001.

(The Treasures curriculum provides this book as a Big Book as well as sequencing cards. If you do not have Treasures, you can photocopy three major scenes from the story to use as your book for Lesson three).

California Common Core Standards Addressed: In completing this unit, the students will have met the following standards for writing at the Kindergarten level:

K.W.2 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

Students draw pictures in our "Kinder Writer's Workshop" to write about an event that is significant to them, which has occurred since the first day of school.

K.W.3 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.

Students will participate in "Kinder Writer's Workshop" to draw pictures that tell about a place that they like to visit.

K.W.5 With guidance and support from adults, respond to questions and suggestions from peers and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

Students will consult with their peers and teacher in pre-writing activities conducted before they are sent to their seats to write. The teacher will use guiding questions to prompt the discussions between students and student-teacher.

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10 Tricks for Teaching Writing in Kindergarten

Lessons I’ve learned from years of teaching five year olds.

10 Tricks for Teaching Kindergarten Writing

When telling people that I teach kindergarten, I often am asked, “How do you do it?” Now, imagine teaching five year olds how to write entire paragraphs. Yes, we are superheroes with the powers of patience, perseverance and the ability to bend at the waist for long periods of time. Here are the best kindergarten writing tips that I have gathered over the years.

1. Teach letter formation in context

how to write a story kindergarten

Kill two birds with one stone. Kindergarten students need to be taught how to form their letters. This can be done within the context of writing a sentence. Often, when students practice writing letters in isolation, they have trouble transferring handwriting skills to sentence writing. Teach capitalization, spacing and end punctuation while demonstrating proper letter formation.

2. Practice consistently

Have your students engage in meaningful writing from day one. Kids learn to talk by talking, and we know kindergartners have mastered that skill. They learn to write by writing even if it is a large string of letters at first or even scribbling. They have to start somewhere. We give them the tools to develop into confident writers by allowing them the time to write and draw every day.

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3. Sight words, sight words, sight words

how to write a story kindergarten

Students need to know how to read and spell several anchor sight words in order to build confidence with sentence writing. I use a word wall, songs and chants to teach students to spell sight words. For example, I sing the word like to the tune of “It’s a Small Word.” L-I-K-E, that spells like. L-I-K-E that spells like…. . Once they are armed with an arsenal of words that are essential to the structure of a sentence, they are well on their way to success.

4. Encourage invented spelling

how to write a story kindergarten

Invented spelling refers to stretching out words and writing them exactly as they are heard by a beginning writer. If students become hung up on spelling words correctly, creativity and continuity suffers. Students will only want to write very simple sentences. Kindergarten teachers double as detectives easily decoding sentences such as “I lik pesu and is kem (pizza and ice cream).”

[Check out our article on why invented spelling is so important. ]

5. Do mini lessons

Kindergarteners have the attention span of a fruit fly. This is why right before journal writing time, I teach them one quick skill. Mini lessons are great for teaching narrative, opinion writing, how to compose a topic sentence, and various stages of the writing process.

6. Try interactive writing

how to write a story kindergarten

Morning message or class news is a good example of interactive writing. This refers to the teacher and student sharing the pen. One student gives the teacher news, and students are called up to the white board to help sound out words and place appropriate punctuation.

7. Choose meaningful topics

Kindergarteners love themselves, their family and their friends. Let them write about the topics they choose in their journals. Sentence starters confuse kindergarten students. If they write about the same thing for a while, it is ok. It is much like reading the same book over and over again. They are building confidence

8. Write across the curriculum

Reading and writing go hand in hand. Students can write their favorite part of a story or compose a letter to a character. Reading informational text and drawing and labeling a picture are a great ways to combine science and social studies research with writing.

9. Remember that punctuation is tough

Kindergarten students often will put periods at the end of each word or line. Teaching kindergarteners the concept of a complete thought is difficult because their thoughts go on and on and on and on. I teach the students that if their writing answers the question, “Guess what?”, it needs a period.

10. Share, share, share

Give students the opportunity to share their writing with their peers. The more opportunities kindergarteners are given to express themselves, the less likely they will be to shout out in the middle of the math lesson that they have a wiggly tooth or Uncle Joey is visiting.

Kindergarten writing is not for the faint of heart. Enjoy the strange spellings, humorous thoughts and the innocent excitement that will lead to young students becoming life-long writers.

What are your tips or questions for teaching kindergarten writing? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, 50 tips and tricks for teaching kindergarten and the best kindergarten books.

10 Tricks for Teaching Writing in Kindergarten

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Teaching Ideas and Resources

The Best Mentor Texts for How To Writing in Kindergarten

how-to-writing-mentor-texts-for-kindergarten-and-elementary-procedural-writing

A list of the best children’s books and mentor texts for teaching how to writing in kindergarten and elementary classrooms.

How To writing is one of our favorite writing units in Kindergarten! Students love getting to be the expert as they teach others. These How To writing mentor texts are the perfect addition to your procedural writing unit.

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How To Use Mentor Texts in the Classroom

We begin reading our writing mentor texts before we even begin a new writing unit. I will choose picture books that are a great example of how to writing to read during our literacy time or any free read aloud times. This is just to begin exposing students to how to writing.

Once we begin our how to writing unit, we will read our procedural writing mentor texts as a part of our writing mini lessons. I will choose a children’s book that is a good example of the mini lesson topic.

If I am going to use a mentor text during our Writer’s Workshop , I try to read it at a different time before using it as a mentor text. That way, students can look at the text through an author’s lens rather than just focusing on the story.

Children’s Books for Teaching How To Writing

These are my favorite picture books for teaching how to writing in kindergarten. Use these books during your Writer’s Workshop mini lessons or add them to your classroom library for students to explore!

Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle

In this book, the main character takes the reader through the steps of learning to ride a bike. The text is very simple, which is perfect for Kindergarten writing. What I like most about this children’s book is that it takes the reader through picking out a bike and getting ready first; not just getting on the bike and going.

how to write a story kindergarten

How To Teach a Slug to Read

In this how to children’s book, a boy is teaching a mother slug how to teach her son to read. Your students will love the idea of teaching a slug to read! This book is written in almost a comic book style. It would also be a great example of using speech bubbles in your illustrations while writing.

how to write a story kindergarten

How To Wash a Woolly Mammoth

This how to writing mentor text is HILARIOUS! The story follows a young girl as she takes on the task of washing a giant woolly mammoth. I love this story because it’s funny and engaging for students, but they can also apply it to their own writing by thinking about tasks they do for their pets.

how to write a story kindergarten

How To Babysit a Grandpa

This is a procedural picture book that i’m sure many of our students can relate to! In this story, the narrator gives the reader tips for babysitting their grandpa (who is really babysitting them). There is actually an entire series of these how to books that I think your students will love!

how to write a story kindergarten

Building a House

How do you build a house? This probably isn’t something your students think about often, but I love this mentor text because the importance of telling all the steps is so obvious. It can easily lead into a discuss of – what if the builders forgot a step?

how to write a story kindergarten

How To Science Series

There are actually 7 different books in this series. I love to use these books for a whole class shared writing experience. We follow the steps in the book and complete the experiment together. Then, we can write the procedural steps together! You can find How to Build a Tornado in a Bottle, Make a Liquid Rainbow, How to Make Slime, and Build a Fizzy Rocket HERE . You can find Make a Wind Speed Meter, Make Ice Cream in a Bag, and How to Make a Pom-Pom Flyer HERE .

how to write a story kindergarten

How To Make a Pancake

This how to mentor text is marketed as a phonics reader, but it’s simple step-by-step writing makes it the perfect mentor text for kindergarten writing! Readers will learn the steps for making pancakes, either with the help of their parents… or two mice!

how to write a story kindergarten

How To Read a Story

I love to use this picture book to teach students what to do during our independent reading time at the beginning of the year, but it is also a wonderful mentor text for how to writing! Students will learn the steps for reading a book – find a story, find a buddy, find a cozy spot, and begin!

how to write a story kindergarten

Growing Vegetable Soup

This picture book will take readers through all the steps of making vegetable soup – from planting the seeds to cooking the soup! This would be another great mentor text for a shared writing experience. Learn the steps for making vegetable soup and then make it together in a crockpot! Students can rewrite the steps to include bringing in vegetables rather than growing them.

how to write a story kindergarten

Pizza At Sally’s

In this book, students will go through the steps of making pizza! We love to read this book and then use Lunchable kits to make our own mini pizzas (you could also use pizza sauce, cheese, and english muffins). Then students write about how to make a personal pizza.

how to write a story kindergarten

How To Writing Classroom Resources

Do you want your entire How To Writing unit completely planned out for you? I’ve got you! My writing units contain everything you need for an effective writer’s workshop in Kindergarten – from mini lessons, to anchor charts, to rubrics and more!

Grab the Kindergarten How To Writing Unit HERE!

P.S. I have been asked if these units will work with first grade and the answer is YES!

Find the best how to writing mentor texts for kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade. These how to writing picture books are perfect for procedural writing in elementary and primary classrooms.

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Kindergarten writing

by: Jessica Kelmon | Updated: August 4, 2022

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Your kindergartner’s writing under Common Core Standards

Aside from decorative swirls, a few letters, and perhaps even their own names, most kindergartners start school not knowing how to write. That’s the point of school, after all… right?

In a word, yes. Kindergarten writing standards include scary terms like “research” and “publish.” But don’t panic. Kindergarten is still the year children first learn about writing, which means learning to listen, speak in class, and write the ABCs.

Writing their ABCs

Teachers often start the year by introducing the letters of the alphabet — the building blocks of writing. Kindergartners learn how to form the shapes of letters, what sounds they’re associated with, and how to combine those letters to create words.

This year your kindergartner should learn to print most upper and lowercase letters.

Cn u rd this?

At many schools, kindergartners are encouraged to spell words the way they sound, which is known as phonetic or “invented” spelling. For example, a student might spell the word water by writing “watr.” Children are often more comfortable using consonants and sounds at the beginning of words because they’re more distinct than vowels or sounds at the ends of words. Using invented spelling, children are demonstrating what they know. Research shows letting children use invented spelling (and not immediately correcting them) allows them to focus on the purpose of writing: communication. Typically, kids learn the rules of spelling and transition to conventional spelling as they read and write. (If a child’s spelling does not improve or their invented spelling is arbitrary rather than phonetic, it could be a sign of a learning issue.)

By the end of the year, kindergartners should be able to:

• Connect most letters with their sounds. • Phonetically or inventively write simple high-frequency words. (See our kindergarten snap words worksheets for examples of high-frequency words to practice, and check out this real-life example of what a kindergartner’s invented spelling looks like .) • Write many consonant-vowel-consonant words, like cat, dog, mom, and dad. (See our kindergarten rhyming words worksheets for examples.) • Write their own names.

Kindergartners who can’t write yet, can listen, speak, and draw!

Think of these skills as big steps toward writing. Teachers and parents should read books aloud and should ask questions along the way about the book itself — the title, author, illustrator, subject — and about what happens in a story, and what your child notices about events and characters’ actions. Be sure to ask some questions that require your child to read between the lines, e.g. Who are the main characters in this story? Where was the frog sitting? Why do you think the dog is sad? Can you draw a picture to show something interesting that you learned? You can also ask questions about the illustrations.

When answering, your child should learn to use frequently occurring nouns and verbs and correctly use the most common “connection words” or prepositions — such as to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by , and with  — to express their thoughts. They should also learn to answer questions using simple, complete sentences. Kindergartners also need to understand and use question words, including who, what, where, when, why, and how , when they speak or dictate writing so they’re familiar with these words when they begin writing on their own.

What exactly is “research” in kindergarten?

Your child’s first experience with research projects will be listening to a few books by the same author or on the same topic. Students will be asked to recall information like the author’s name, and what they learned from the reading. Then, with help and prompting from the teacher, they may draw pictures to accompany dictated sentences or write one to three sentences about what they learned from these books.

Watch how kindergartners research and discuss a topic

YouTube video

3 types of kindergarten writing

Kindergartners should practice and learn three kinds of writing: opinion, informative, and narrative. All three will likely start with kids listening to books read aloud and responding to what they’ve learned. In an opinion piece, your child tells the reader his opinion or preference about a topic, such as a book, animal, activity, etc. (e.g. My favorite book is.. .). In an informative piece, your child names what they’re writing about and gives some information or details about it. (e.g. Dinosaurs lived on Earth a long time ago… ) Writing a narrative is like writing a story. Your kindergartner will describe an event — or a few loosely linked events — putting the events in the order they happen and reacting to what happened. (e.g. Then Goldilocks tried the second bowl of porridge. )

See what kindergarten writing looks like

YouTube video

By the end of the year, your child may be able to write a couple of sentences for each type of writing. Remember that drawing and dictating sentences count as writing.

Check out these real examples of good kindergarten informational writing: • “All people can save water” • “All people can save water”

bttr, better, share!

A big part of teaching kids to write well is helping them understand that writing is a multistep process. Before your child picks up a pencil, prewriting begins with reading and thinking. This may mean rereading a book, discussing what your child has read, or simply brainstorming ideas for a picture or story. Then, the teacher will likely to go over your child’s first draft drawing, dictation, or writing with your child. The teacher or other students might ask your child questions about the work — and suggest details that could be added or better ways to organize information. Then your child may be asked to do a revision . After one or more revisions, the teacher might help your child with the final edit — focusing on spelling, capitalizing proper nouns and the first word of a sentence, and adding a period at the end. These steps — preparing to write, doing a first draft, revising that draft, and editing the final piece — help kindergartners learn that gathering and recalling information, organizing their thoughts, strengthening and clarifying their ideas, and improving grammar and presentation are all important parts of writing.

Kindergarten grammar

Kindergartners start learning the basics of sentence structure — namely capitalizing I (when referring to themselves) and the first letter of the first word in a sentence, ending their sentences with a period (and knowing that it’s called a period), and ending their questions with a question mark (and knowing that it’s called a question mark).

Check out these related worksheets: • Sentences #1 • My first sentences

What about handwriting?

In kindergarten, the focus is on printing upper and lowercase letters. Because kindergartners’ motor skills are still developing, the teacher will introduce handwriting with a range of approaches, like finger painting, writing in the air with a finger, and tracing letters. Kindergartners should learn how to hold a pencil and practice forming letters by writing their names, which gives them practice writing letters, shaping and spacing letters correctly, and writing from left to right.

For handwriting practice, check out these related worksheets: • Creating letter-shape patterns • Practicing letters a and b • The alphabet

Updated August 2022

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Narrative Writing for Kindergarten and First Grade

Narrative Writing for Kindergarten and First Grade

Planning a writing unit of work can be quite overwhelming, particularly as a beginning teacher. I'm here to help you create engaging, effective lesson plans and narrative writing units for your young writers. These tips will be most appropriate for Kindergarten students or Grade 1/2 students, but could also be adapted for older children too!

I'll also share a range of quality mentor texts and writing prompts to support young children, and even the most reluctant writers, in learning to write a narrative story! 

START WITH BACKWARD MAPPING

The first thing you need to identify is what the end goals will be for your little learners. What understandings or skills do you want them to have by the end of your unit of work or set of lessons? This is a crucial first step because it then allows you to frame all of your lessons, activities and teaching points around that end goal. This process is known as   backward mapping,   where you begin with the objectives of a unit and then work backwards to create lessons that will achieve those goals.

For example, in our Kindergarten Narratives unit, the end goal is for most students to be able to write a simple story. I also think about how I will   differentiate that end goal.  For students who require additional support, their goal might be to write a sentence about an imaginary character or setting. For students who require extension, their goal may be to use more advanced descriptive language (e.g. adventurous adjectives or similes) or to write a more detailed story (e.g. include details about a character’s inside and outside traits, or more than one problem or single event).

As with anything we teach, it is so important that students understand the WHY of what they’re learning. What is the point? Why are they learning it? If they understand this, they will be much more motivated and on board with learning it!

In writing lessons, we talk about the three purposes of writing- writing to inform, writing to entertain and writing to persuade. We use the PIE acronym to help us remember this (Persuade, Inform, Entertain).

narrative writing for kindergarten

When we are writing narrative pieces, we discuss the fact that our writing purpose is to ENTERTAIN others with interesting and exciting stories!

WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO GET THERE?

Next, I think of all the skills and knowledge that my students will need to learn in order to be successful. I make a list of all the key teaching points, and break down how I will not only cover all those skills throughout the unit of work, but build upon those skills in an incremental way.

For example, in our Kindergarten Fairy Tales unit, I break down what the components of a story are that I will need to teach my students. This includes:

  • Creating imaginary characters, and describing their traits
  • Using our senses to describe a setting
  • Thinking of interesting problems for a story
  • Fixing that problem

Students will also need revision in other key writing skills such as:

  • How to write a complete sentence - using capital letters and end punctuation correctly
  • How to spell simple words, applying their knowledge of letter sounds and common heart words
  • The editing component of the writing process - re-reading over their work and checking for errors.

These skills may be reviewed in small moments throughout our narrative writing lessons, as well as explicitly in our spelling, phonics and sentence structure lessons.

Narrative Writing for Kindergarten and First Grade

Towards the end of the unit, I begin to teach students how to plan out a whole story with graphic organisers, and also how to adapt known fairy tales to create their own stories. All of these things will need to be   EXPLICITLY taught through modelling and scaffolded practice.

Once you know what skills you need to teach, you can have some fun in thinking about what activities you are going to use to teach students all of these concepts. For example, I love finding fun ways to explore characters. We create our own monsters and write a character description, focusing on interesting adjectives. Or we re-imagine characters and discuss whether they might have just been misunderstood- perhaps the Big Bad Wolf was actually good?! Plan activities that are going to explicitly teach the skills, but will also be FUN for the students and get them excited about what they are learning!

HOW WILL I SCAFFOLD LEARNING ALONG THE WAY?

This part of the process is so often glossed over or skipped past, but it is SUCH a crucial step. Too often I think teachers jump straight from explicit teaching to independent practice, without giving students enough scaffolding or opportunities for guided practice in small groups.

The research into   cognitive load theory   suggests that when we are teaching new knowledge, content or skills to our students, we will be far more effective and successful if we support our students with explicit guidance and scaffolding, along with practice and feedback.

The   Gradual Release of Responsibility   model is a good rule of thumb to keep in mind whenever you are planning any unit of work or lesson sequence.

Narrative Writing for Kindergarten and First Grade

Also,  don't underestimate the power of modelling examples to your students.   This is a great way to scaffold and support young learners in their own writing. Whenever we write, I model writing my own version first on the interactive whiteboard. The quality of my students’ writing is always so much better when I’ve taken the time to model to them first what it is that I’m looking for.

kindergarten narrative writing

Non-examples   are also a really powerful teaching tool as well. I model what NOT to do or make mistakes in my writing, and get my students to help me to edit and correct my own work. Students love being the ‘experts’ who need to help their teachers, and this process allows students to develop much deeper understandings of the success criteria for a lesson.

Some examples of how I scaffold students when teaching fairy tales:

1. break up story elements into manageable chunks and explicitly teach each of these components.

We build up our skills for writing an entire story in incremental chunks, rather writing full stories at the very beginning of the unit. Some examples of what we work on throughout the unit include inside and outside character traits, replacing known characters in fairy tales, and identifying the problem in familiar stories.

kindergarten narrative writing

  2. Verbal before written

We do lots of verbal practice of concepts before we even begin writing. For example, we look at lots of character pictures and unpack ways to describe that character’s inside and outside traits. We also look at lots of setting pictures and use our senses to describe everything about that setting- what can we hear, what can we see, what could we feel, what could we hear and sometimes even what could we taste?

Kindergarten narrative writing

3. Provide students with a scaffold to base their stories around

In the earlier years I use a very simple structure of:

Once upon a time...   (interesting character)

One day...   (descriptive settings)

Suddenly...   (exciting problem)

Luckily...   (fix the problem).

Narrative Writing for Kindergarten and First Grade

These sentence scaffolds are obviously a very simplistic break down of a story, but they are a really useful tool for when you are first helping kids to get their heads around structuring a story! It helps to set them up for success.

Here is an example of how this simple scaffold can lead to a simple story:

kindergarten narrative writing

As an extension, some students may use alternative sentence starters (e.g. One bright sunny morning... All of a sudden.... As quick as a flash...) or write longer paragraphs for each section.

kindergarten narrative writing

4. Innovating on known stories

This is another great tool for reducing cognitive load and allowing students to have the confidence to attempt their own stories when they are first learning to write.

We use known stories such as Jack and the Beanstalk, and just adapt some of the elements (e.g. change the character of Jack to Sally, the beans to magic rice, the beanstalk to a ladder, and the giant to a dragon).

kindergarten narrative writing

You could also adapt/change parts of a story e.g. change the problem in Three Billy Goats Gruff or change the ending to Hansel and Gretel.

kindergarten narrative writing

In older years, I use Pie Corbett’s Story Models to give students lots of different story structure scaffolds that they could base a story around (e.g. warning tale, rags to riches tale).

Narrative Writing for Kindergarten and First Grade

5. Effective Learning Displays 

As a class, we create a variety of learning displays and anchor charts to support our unit. For example, we create word banks using words that we come across throughout our lessons. These displays become an inspiration for students when they are creating their own characters or stories.

Narrative Writing for Kindergarten and First Grade

It’s important that your learning displays are clear and easy for your students to read, and that the students have helped to create them. Sometimes I give my students a challenge- e.g. I want you to have included at least three outside character traits or three adjectives from our display.

6. Practice, practice, practice

For whatever concept I’m teaching, I give my students plenty of opportunities to practise that skill before we move on. For example, we write LOTS of short character descriptions or setting descriptions. In older grades, I might get students to write five different story openings or five different character descriptions in a lesson. Or if we were learning how to plan a story, we might just practise creating lots of story plans.

One of my literacy centers will often be a writing center, where children can review many of the narrative writing concepts that we have been exploring in our explicit whole class lessons. For example, if you have been working on speech marks and speech bubbles, children could use macaroni pasta to add speech marks to different pieces of writing!

BE FLEXIBLE PLANNERS

It is so important that we are willing to be flexible with the programs that we have created. We need to adapt them as we are teaching, so that they are based around the needs of our learners. Sometimes you will find that students grasp a concept much quicker than you’d anticipated, and you’ll be able to delve much deeper into that concept or move along to the next concept a bit sooner.

Other times, your students will really struggle with a concept and you may need to slow down and spend more time on something, or adjust the activities to better support your students. Most of the time you’ll probably need to do a mixture of all of the above, because the reality of teaching is that we tend to have a huge range of learning needs within the one classroom!

Be reflective practitioners and don’t be afraid to adjust your programs as you go! I recommend reading up on formative assessment techniques (otherwise known as assessment FOR learning) in order to build up a repertoire of ways that you can be checking in on student understanding throughout your entire teaching and learning sequence!

HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

1. My free resource library, The Freebee Library , is packed full of free resources for you to use with your students to take good writing to GREAT writing! You'll also find a full Imaginative Texts Writing Program .

2.  My Kindergarten Writing Bundle for Imaginative Texts will be the perfect addition to your kindergarten writing curriculum. Whether you're looking for a mini lesson, or a full week or term of lesson plans, you'll find loads of quality and engaging activities to use with your students, including:

  • Narrative Writing Activities & Templates | Fairy Tales
  • Narrative Writing Lesson Slides - Fairy Tales - Imaginative Texts POWERPOINT
  • Narrative Writing Posters  

Narrative Writing for Kindergarten and First Grade

3. If you are teaching personal narrative writing (recount writing), where your children are writing a personal narrative based on their own experiences, you might like to check out my Recount Writing PowerPoint Slides . This PowerPoint is most appropriate for a Kindergarten classroom setting, but it can also be a helpful scaffold for older children who might need a little bit of extra support when writing about their own personal experiences. 

6 Strategies for Teaching Story Structure in Your Classroom

  • December 19, 2018

For many children, reading is not the problem—it’s understanding that presents significant challenges.

1. Teach Story Structure to All Ages

Discussions about story elements should start as early as preschool and continue through high school. For younger students, simple elements such as beginning, middle, and end are appropriate. For older students, more complex elements such as character, setting, events, problem, and resolution should be introduced to increase difficulty.

2. Create a Storyboard

Storyboarding is a wonderful way to integrate art with story retelling. To make your own storyboard, simply list the elements of basic story structure you want to focus on (e.g., beginning, middle, and end) on a page with a large empty box next to each element. In each box, have students draw a scene from a text you’ve read recently that illustrates that element.

3. Use the “SWBST” Strategy

The “Somebody Wanted But So Then” exercise provides a framework for summarizing a story by identifying and describing key story elements. Using a table like the one below, have students fill in each box with a brief summary from the story. For older students, use more elements and increase the level of detail required for each element.

how to write a story kindergarten

4. Build Out Story Maps

A story map is another visual tool that helps students summarize story structure to improve reading comprehension. Using a text you’ve studied, have your students describe selected story components. This can be done as a class, in small groups, or individually. Differentiate your maps by analyzing simpler or more complex structure elements.

Sample Story Map Card

Name _____________________ Date _________________

Setting: Characters: Time: Place: Problem: Events: Resolution:

5. Teach Story Elements with “Pick a Card”

Write the story elements you’ve been studying on cards. Break students up into small groups or pairs and have each student pick a card without revealing its element. One at a time, each student reads a passage from a story you’ve studied that illustrates the element while the other students try to identify what’s on the card.

6. Plot the Story Structure Using a Graph

For older students, use a story graph to chart the story arc of plot sub-elements such as exposition, rising action, conflict, falling action, climax, and resolution. On the x axis, list the desired story elements chronologically. On the y axis, indicate excitement level from low at the bottom to high at the top. Have your students plot the points for each story element to reveal the story arc.

Regularly practicing strategies like these can help your students learn how to identify a story’s basic elements and how those elements interact. To reinforce the learning, add other reading comprehension activities that integrate story structure elements with other skills.

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How to Write a Children’s Book Families Will Love (+Template)

Many authors' dream is to write a children's book, and to inspire young minds with heartfelt stories and playful imagination. Many assume that writing for kids is easier, but writing great children's literature is no easy feat, especially if you're brand-new to the game.

In this post, we cover everything you need to know about writing a children's book, borrowing insights from experienced children's book editors like Anna Bowles, Jennifer Rees, Cara Stevens, and others. 

How to write a children’s book in 8 steps: 

1. Start with a simple, fun idea

2. cast a relatable main character, 3. structure your plot like a fairy tale, 4. consider repetition and rhyme, 5. make the story easy to follow, 6. write with illustrations in mind, 7. work with a children’s editor, 8. get an illustrator to add some visual magic.

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Children’s Book Development Workbook

Bring your children's book to life with our step-by-step workbook.

The best picture books are simple stories that engage children, and show them a fun or valuable perspective. Think about Dr. Seuss’s classic Green Eggs and Ham : the whole story premise is that the main character, Sam-I-Am, tries to convince his friend, a picky eater, to try green eggs and ham. It engages children with something relatable 一 being reluctant to try new foods 一 and it shows that perhaps it’s not so bad to give it a try.

If there’s one thing that most classic picture books have in common, it’s that they look at the world from a child’s perspective. 

1ZD9HswlFCk Video Thumb

Address children’s hopes and doubts

It can help to write your story with a specific child in mind — one you know personally. If you are a parent, a teacher, or have dealt with kids personally, think of them as you write your story. Connect with the way they experience life and the things they value. Remember the sorts of things that make them laugh. 

Most importantly, consider what’s compelling to them. Maybe your story can address some of their fears and doubts, or evoke their most cherished moments. Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes is about a little mouse who’s concerned about all kinds of things — especially starting school. The story reflects an anxiety many children experience and provides a hopeful message that things will be okay. 

Illustration of a child picking up fireflies during a summer night

Dianne Ochiltree’s picture book It's a Firefly Night tells the story of a girl who catches fireflies in a jar on a warm summer night, but ultimately makes the decision to release them. This is an experience many kids will relate to 一 and will make them feel good as our young hero learns to care for and respect the little creatures around her. 

But before you run with your story idea, it’s important to validate its market potential.

Know which themes are selling right now

Try to assess what's working in the marketplace already, and if your book idea fits in. What are the most popular picture book themes?  

As long-time children’s book editor Brooke Vitale points out, the most popular picture book concepts haven’t massively changed over the years. “Across the board, the top-selling themes for picture books have been bedtime, farm, and ABC.” This is because they’re subjects kids can relate to: bedtime rituals, farm animals and their sounds, and learning to read.

“Also high on the list have been holidays, in particular Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, and the reason for this is because they're marketable.” By marketable, Vitale means that these sorts of picture books are ones that people could easily buy as gifts for children. 

Illustration of two little cats playing

Some smaller holidays are on the rise too, like Mother's and Father’s Day, as well as graduation celebrations. But you don’t have to tie your story too closely to the specific holiday you’re targeting 一 a Mother’s Day book can be about a mother-and-daughter relationship, or a graduation title can be an aspirational tale set around education, making the story evergreen and relevant year-round. 

There are always new themes bursting onto the scene, like empowerment or mindfulness, which you can tap into to bring fresh stories to market. For example, in The Princess and the Pizza , Mary Jane Auch subverts the classic princess story: instead of accepting her fate and marrying into another royal family, Princess Paulina becomes a self-sufficient founder of a pizza empire. And of course, this idea ingeniously combines three things that many children love: princesses, carbs, and cheese.

Once you’ve landed on a great story idea, don’t forget that you’ll need a memorable lead character.

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The most iconic children's book characters have distinct and relatable personalities. Think of Leo Lionni’s Frederick, a field mouse whose fondness for poetry and art is seen as distracting from his family’s efforts to gather supplies for winter. Or take Jim Panzee from Suzanne Lang’s Grumpy Monkey , another outsider who struggles with his “bad temper” while everyone around him is having fun 一 something many kids will relate to. 

Illustration of Jim Panzee, a Grumpy Monkey

Whether your main character is a child, robot, animal, or sentient gas cloud, what matters is that they feel real — with specific abilities and challenges.

Define their strengths and flaws

Young readers don’t want to read about perfect heroes, but rather characters they recognize. Memorable characters should come with their own fully realized strengths, weaknesses, conflicts, and motivations that make them compelling to their young readers. 

To help you create great new characters, we have some additional resources for you:

  • A list of character development exercises to test your knowledge of your characters.
  • A free 10-day course on developing memorable characters , taught by a successful professional editor.

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A story is only as strong as its characters. Fill this out to develop yours.

Besides being relatable in their behavior, your main character should have their own sets of dreams and desires — and the willpower to realize them.  

Give them agency to reach their goals

If there’s a younger character in your book, it’s usually their story you should be telling. It should be about their dreams, and they should be the ones making decisions that drive the narrative forward. 

As Reedsy Children's editor Anna Bowles suggests, don’t forget who the heroes are. “A lot of beginners write about children as we adults often see them: as cute and slightly comical little beings. But what children actually want is stories where they are the heroes, driving the action, facing challenges, and making choices.”

Patrick Picklebottom and the Penny Book is the story of a young boy who goes to buy his favorite book. On the way home, his friends invite him to fly a drone, play video games, or scroll through social media — but he declines and gets home to read instead. In real life, a child might have a parent giving them advice, but in the book, it’s Patrick himself calling the shots. He buys the book, he says no to the various temptations, and he gets himself home to read it.  

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Once you’ve got a great story and some interesting characters, it’s time to consider your story structure. 

Even within the word limits of children’s books, you need to create a satisfying story arc that captivates young readers from the very start, takes them on an exciting journey, and culminates in a gratifying and memorable conclusion. One way to achieve this arc is to think of your story as a simple question and answer.

Ground your premise in a simple question

Picture book editor Cara Stevens , who in her long career has written and edited for Nickelodeon, Disney, and Sesame Street, believes that every story should begin with a dilemma and end with a resolution. “There's usually a question: Will Mr. Frumble get his hat? Why doesn't Priscilla like chocolate? Why doesn't Elmo want to go to the dentist? These questions are a vital point in diagnosing your story or giving it direction when you're not sure where it's going.”

📼 Watch the Reedsy Live in which Cara Stevens reveals the 20 questions that can help picture book authors turn their ideas into finished manuscripts.

Once you’ve identified the story-driving question, you then want the character to face some challenges and doubts. 

Add conflict to the mix

Novels are often about characters dealing with a challenge, and how they change as a result of it. Children’s books are no different. Even in the simplest of narratives, the character should grow and learn something by overcoming internal and external conflicts .  

In Richard Scarry’s Be Careful, Mr. Frumble! , the title character goes on a walk on a windy day and his hat is whisked away by the wind. Will he get it back? After chasing it through trains, trees, and the sea, he does. Despite the initial worry, he finds that he’s grateful for the fun that losing his hat brought with it. 

Picture book illustration of Mr. Frumble losing his hat

Or think again of Patrick Picklebottom, who just wants to read his book: his conflict is created by his friends’ requests to do other things. By the time he reaches home, he has learned to say no and prioritize what he values most.   

Whatever journey you set your characters on, it’ll have to fit within the standard picture book’s length.

Keep it under 30 pages

It’s easy to fall in love with your story and characters and find yourself overwriting as a result. Children's books have rather standard lengths, depending on their type, and it’s important to try and stick to them to ensure your book is readable for your target audience. 

The average word count for a standard picture book falls between 400 and 800, with a length of 24 or 32 pages. The page count includes the copyright and dedication page , as well as your author bio , which means your story has to be told within 30 pages or less. With so little room, you’ll have to be mindful of the number of characters you introduce and the number of plot points they will encounter.    

Table showing picture books' average lengths and word count

At this point, you have a lot of story elements cooking and a structure to mix them in. But before you do that, you’ll want to think about the secret ingredient — style. 

Picture books often feature repetition, rhythm, and rhyme. These literary devices add a musicality to books, making them a pleasure to read or listen to. Children will want to have their favorite stories read to them repeatedly, so parents will greatly appreciate it if the words fall trippingly off their tongues when doing so. 

🤔 Should your picture book rhyme? Listen to editor and children's author Tracy Gold's opinion on Reedsy Live .

Let’s have a closer look at why repetition and rhyme are so common in kids’ books.

Repetition facilitates understanding

You can use different types of repetition in picture books, such as for words, entire sentences, or sounds. You can use it to structure your story, pace it, or reinforce a certain point or concept. When executed well, it can create a nice build-up that kids can pick up and easily follow.

The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith uses repetition in a few different ways. It starts with the narrator walking down the road and spotting a donkey. The first sentence is repeated in every scene, along with the donkey sound (Hee Haw!) Then it adds a line describing the donkey 一 its appearance, mood, and music taste (a sort of donkey dad joke). But that’s not all: each scene adds a short, rhyming description of the donkey, which, as the book progresses, keeps building up into an amusing climax.  

A picture book illustration of a donkey

Building the story incrementally through repetition and rhyme can be powerful. But remember, it’s not compulsory — and not all rhymes are created equal. 

Not all picture books rhyme

In recent years, many children’s book editors have advised against rhyming in your book. That’s because it’s quite difficult to rhyme well, and children's book agents are able to spot a bad or derivative rhyme from a mile away. That said, if you’re a master of the perfectly unexpected rhyme and you think your book demands them, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go for it. 

Llama Llama Red Pajama is packed with rhymes from start to finish. It’s a simple story of a cria (that’s a baby llama!) waiting for their mother to comfort them at bedtime. The story’s simplicity and very short lines are perhaps some of the reasons it works so well.   

Illustration of a baby llama going to bed

If you’re writing in verse and rhyme, always read it aloud. Ask yourself if it feels forced, excessive, or awkward in any way, and whether the rhyme contributes to building the story. If it doesn’t sound quite right, you can always see what it’s like without the rhyming.

According to writer and editor Jennifer Rees , you can sometimes achieve even better results without forcing it. “So often, I get some really sing-songy stuff that forces the reader into a rhythm that people think is fun — but in truth, it just drags on. 

“There are so many gorgeously written picture books that do not rhyme but they just sound beautiful. Someone has really paid attention to how the lines read and how each and every single word sounds when you read it out loud.” 

There are also a few more literary choices to consider as you write your story…

Your core audience is at a crucial stage of their mental development and is currently mastering basic literacy skills. This calls for a few considerations as you write and edit your children’s book .

Start the story quickly

Even at the best of times, kids have limited attention spans. It's essential that you jumpstart the action with some sort of hook in the first few pages. This ‘hook’ could come in the form of an intriguing character or an inciting incident . 

The inciting incident of Dr. Seuss’s classic The Cat in the Hat , as you might recall, is an intriguing character. After setting up a scene with two bored siblings, Seuss introduces a mysterious cat who invites himself into their home. Is the cat good or bad? Should he stay or should he go? The reader understands that the cat brings chaos with him, and the story is set in motion. 

Illustration of The Cat in The Hat by Dr. Seuss

Once the story has started, it’s just as important to maintain a good pace. Each scene should ideally act as a little hook that builds the tempo or raises the stakes until the story's resolution.

Another important thing to consider is your choice of words. 

Use age-appropriate vocab

There are many great places to show off your bombastic grandiloquence, but a kid’s book is not one of them. Children won't be impressed by four-syllable words — they'll only be confused by them. That said, children's editor Jenny Bowman often tells her authors that, when used intentionally and sparingly, the occasional big word can be welcome. “Children are smarter than you think, and context can be a beautiful teacher.” 

To figure out the most fitting vocabulary for your story you can read other books for kids in your age group, or browse famous word sets for early readers, like the Fry and Dolch lists or the Children’s Writer Word Book , which feature the most commonly used words for children’s books depending on their age. 

It’s not just the vocabulary that needs a double-check. Also consider your characters, their behaviors, and the environments they inhabit 一 they should all be tailored to resonate with a child’s life experience. A talking eagle who’s a corporate lawyer working on a big M&A case might not be as relatable as a little mouse on her first day at school.  

To know if you’re on the right track, the best thing you can do is road-test your early drafts with their intended audience.

Ask a child what they think

Read your story out loud to children and parents in your social circle. Pay attention to how it sounds with an audience, and whether it invokes an emotional response. Kids are usually pretty honest, so their feedback will be some of the most valuable you’ll receive. 

Aim for a few rounds of reactions, and incorporate their suggestions as much as possible. Only once you have thumbs-ups from your young beta readers should you begin to think about your next step, which is to start combining your words with powerful visuals. 

In contrast to many other types of books, where words alone are sufficient to tell a story, in picture books text and illustrations complement each other to create a more immersive experience. Whether you’re planning to bring in an illustrator or pick up a pen and brush yourself, you should always be thinking of pictures when you’re drafting your manuscript

Think in terms of scenes

Think of your book like a (very) short movie. Every time you flip a page, you enter a new scene that holds the potential to surprise your young readers. To achieve this effect, consider placing your surprises strategically on the other side of page turns. 

To help you visualize the flow of your story and its pacing, try using a storyboard template to mock up your visuals and match your text to the right scenery.

FREE RESOURCE

Children's Book Storyboard Template

Bring your picture book to life with our 32-page planning template.

Let the visuals do the talking

When self-editing your manuscript, try to cut unnecessary sentences and let the visuals do the talking instead (by showing, instead of telling .) There’s no need to squander your precious word count describing the weather or a character’s clothes if the pictures can do the same. So instead of writing them into your manuscript, include those details in your art notes so that your illustrator will know precisely how to represent them. 

Once you’ve written and rewritten your children’s story, consider bringing on board a children’s book editor to polish it further. 

If you've gotten feedback, self-edited extensively, and still feel your children's book isn't quite there, consider hiring a professional children's editor . Their years of experience will both improve your storytelling and make sure that your book is ready for the market.

Fortunately, we have the best children's editors right here on Reedsy, many of whom have worked with major authors like Daisy Meadows (author of the Rainbow Magic series) and R.L. Stine!

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Work with a professional children’s book editor to take your book to the next level.

There are two types of picture book editors you may be looking for:

Developmental editors. These editors will look at your story’s backbone, from characters and settings, to the story plot and concept, and make sure it’s solid and ready for the market. They will also comment on whether you used rhyme and repetition wisely, if you need to change the time frame or point-of-view, and suggest other potential improvements.  

Copy editors. The copy editor will correct your typos, spelling, and grammar, assess your choice of words, and make comments to ensure your text is perfectly polished. 

Very often, you can find a single editor to handle both services — they’ll give your book a developmental edit, provide any notes for revising your draft, then copy-edit the manuscript once you’ve made the changes.

Read our post on children’s book costs to find out the average price for each service. If you’re self-publishing, there’s one important part of your budget you’ll want to put aside: that would be to hire a skilled illustrator to bring your words to life.  

If you want to publish your book traditionally, don’t bother looking for an illustrator. It will be handled by the company who will represent your work, as they prefer to be in charge of that. Just prepare your picture book query letter and start pitching agents. 

If instead you’re self-publishing your picture book , you’ll have to locate your very own Quentin Black. We wrote an in-depth guide on how to hire a children’s book illustrator , but one of the most important points is to determine your ideal illustration style.

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Identify the visual style for your book

What style best captures the mood and world of your story? Perhaps your book is for very young readers, who will enjoy bright, bold, and graphic illustrations. Perhaps you’re aiming at a slightly older audience, who’ll appreciate whimsical characters and a more muted color palette.

Various illustration styles of humans in picture books

Each illustrator brings a distinct touch to their human characters, from intricate linework to striking realism, edgy designs to gentle human-like figures. You’ll have plenty of options to choose from, depending on what you’ve envisioned for your book. 

To find your ideal professional, gather a range of references to make sure you have ample inspiration and “mentor texts” to refer back to. Browse through your favorite kids' books, or the portfolios of some professionals, and identify what you like — and, perhaps just as importantly, anything you definitely don’t like. This post on 20 children’s book illustrators will be a helpful jumping-off point in finding visual references and the vocabulary to describe what you’re looking for.

While some artists might welcome a challenge, and enjoy trying out a new style, the best way to guarantee results that you like is to find an artist whose style already matches your vision fairly closely — rather than asking them to fit a square peg into a round hole.

And there you have it! Once you've completed these steps, you'll have a completed children's book ready for publication. Make sure to check out our guide on how to publish your children’s book for more information on how to get your story in the hands (and hearts) of your young readers.

6 responses

10/02/2019 – 10:53

Where can I listen to my target audience if the kids around me don't speak English?

↪️ Reedsy replied:

11/02/2019 – 09:08

Thanks to the internet, that's not so much of a problem anymore. Social media and online communities can make it a lot easier to find your ideal audience. Check out this post we wrote about target markets from children's books: https://blog.reedsy.com/childrens-books-target-markets/

Jeff Dearman says:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

There's also newer illustrators looking to get their foot in the door who might be willing to help for relatively cheap compared to the more establish artists the more establish artists will want a lot more $$$$ , so look around. if youre on college campus or recent grad and know some illustrators or a friend or family member who does great art. ask them . Offer like $100-300 for black and white story boards and maybe a couple colored cover designs or what not and give them full authority and ownership over the art and development of the characters. Once the work is done maybe offer them a bonus if they do good work. There's plenty of newer illustrators with extremely good talent who are looking for opportunities.

You can also go to places like the New England film board and or other boards or even reddit and put out a post saying you're looking for an illustrator interested in getting material for their portfolio and offer them the ability to develop the characters etc. and such and offer lke a couple hundred bucks for sketches/character storyboards. - also state you'll put them into a writers' contract and split any royalties once the time comes if the book is susccessfl and write out an agreement you both sign. and agree to.

Penelope Smith says:

24/08/2019 – 04:32

Writing a children's book does seem like it could be tricky. I liked that you pointed out that you should look at that an illustrator past work. Also, it seems like a good thing to consider asking them to draw a sample page for the book. After all, you would want to check they draw in a style you like.

Sjsingh says:

20/11/2019 – 14:04

"pug"book writer Sharma is said a sardaarni, she is not a "Kaur", Kaur can be said as sardaarni. And what a mockery she has done for tying pug, real sardaarni never can dare to do that. Pug is very respectful in Sikhs and many other cast too, and she has made it joke, she has done very wrong to the sentiments and feelings of many Indians. And you have any humanity you should Apologize for this heart breaking act , Publisher has done not less than you. Have you ever thought , write a book on tying a saari or lungi in same style and illustration used in "pug"?

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Moffatt Girls

Hands-on learning made fun

July 1, 2021

Kindergarten Writing: How-To Books Unit of Study

how to write a story kindergarten

With Unit 1 and Unit 2 of the Kindergarten Writing Curriculum complete, students now shift to Unit 3, and it’s all about writing How-to Books! This is always a fun unit to teach since students share something they know how-to do in a book form. This unit of writing is such a confidence booster as students realize they are able to teach others how to do something!

Undoubtedly, teaching writing in kindergarten can be one of the most challenging aspects of teaching. In fact, this is the biggest struggle for many teachers in my private Facebook group. While we are talking about this struggle, let’s be honest: not all adults love to write. In like manner, children can struggle too! This is exactly why I have created the Kindergarten Writing Bundle! This easy to use curriculum has EVERYTHING you need to make writing successful in your classroom or homeschool! Simply put, my desire is for kids to learn to LOVE writing because they feel successful at it!

Fortunately, I think this curriculum hits the spot! I am SO excited to share this Kindergarten Writing Curriculum with you!

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Kindergarten Writing Curriculum Scope:

There are a total of 7 units included in this c omprehensive writing curriculum:

  • Unit 1: Personal Narrative: Sharing My Story
  • Unit 2: Non-Realistic Fiction: Using our Imagination
  • Unit 3: Writing to Teach and Inform: How-to Books
  • Unit 4: Poetry: Exploring Poetry
  • Unit 5: Realistic-Fiction: Writing Interesting Stories
  • Unit 6: Opinion and Persuasive Writing: Changing the World
  • Unit 7: Non-Fiction Chapter Books: Creating a Chapter Book

Let’s take a look at Unit 3 in the Kindergarten Writing Curriculum!

how to write a story kindergarten

Teaching writing How-To Books can be such a rewarding and experience for kids! I especially love to hear about all of the silly and outlandish things that go on in a kindergartener’s head! Nonetheless, it is important to teach writing using a systematic approach.

Therefore, this Kindergarten Writing Curriculum uses a Writers Workshop type model. This means that there will be a mini-lesson, status updates (pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, evaluating, or publishing), writing, and sharing! Don’t worry… I have you covered on how to effectively implement this curriculum in your classroom!

So when do you start teaching writing in Kindergarten? Good question! Right away! You can get this curriculum up and running during the first or second week of school! Luckily, you don’t need to wait until students know a certain number or sight words or letters. During Unit 1 and 2, we are not expecting them to write sentences….yet! Instead, in units 1 and 2 students will understand that their drawings/illustrations tell a story. Consider all of the wordless picture books you have “read.” You can certainly understand the storyline in those books. Allowing students to draw pictures and orally tell their story will show them that they too are authors!

As we move onto Unit 3, students may begin to write words and/or label their drawings to tell how to do something in their books!

*Side note: If you are looking for fun ways to teach the alphabet, click here . For fun phonics activities, click here .

how to write a story kindergarten

What is Included In Unit 3: How-to Books?

  • 22 Detailed Lesson Plans
  • Yearly Goals (Kindergarten and First Grade comparison)
  • Suggested Schedule for (60, 45, and 30 minute blocks)
  • Tips for Getting Started
  • Curriculum Scope and Unit Scopes
  • Developmental Writing Stages Chart
  • Mentor Text Guides
  • Conferencing Guides, Planners, and Trackers
  • Assessments Guides
  • Writing Templates
  • Publishing Party Guide and Templates
  • Writing Posters
  • Personal Word Wall
  • Writer’s Checklist
  • Cover of a Book Poster
  • How-To Books Steps Poster
  • The Writing Process Poster
  • Young Author Award Certificate

Let’s start with the Lesson Plans!

These easy-to-follow lesson plans set you up for success. They are broken up into 6 simple parts:

Focus-  The skill, strategy, or idea students will be focusing on this lesson. 

Warm Up-  A quick activity that has students review and practice previous skills. 

Mini Lesson-  Teach, model, and discuss the new skill in today’s lesson.

Practice- The hands-on portion of the lesson where students apply what they have learned in the mini lesson to their own writing. During this time you will conference individually with students. 

Mid-Practice Teaching Point- A quick reminder and chance to highlight the great work students are doing. 

Share-  Lesson wrap up where students analyze, reflect on, and share their work. 

I have also laid out what a lesson might look like with a 60 minute , 45 minute , and 30 minute time block . We all have different schedules, and this writing curriculum is designed to meet your needs! Do what works best for YOU!

how to write a story kindergarten

Also included are some tips for getting started! With this cohesive curriculum, I have set you up for success! In short, all the work has been done for you. Just print out your materials and open up your lesson plans! Of course you will want to monitor students progress, and change your plans appropriately.

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Here are a few things that will help you, your students, and your classroom be ready to implement a Writers Workshop model. 

Things to keep on-hand:

Teacher Materials-  You will need a teacher copy of each template for modeling. You may find it helpful to use a document camera or recreate the templates on chart paper so students can easily see them. Many teachers find that putting their example away at the start of work time reduces the likelihood of students copying your work. 

Writing Process Poster-  This poster helps students learn the steps of the writing process and track what the class is currently working on. 

Use Velcro, tape, or a clothes pin to attach the marker to the laminated poster so it can easily be moved.  

Word Wall-  A wall and/or personal list that students use to help them spell sight words. 

Alphabet Chart-  A wall chart and/or personal list that students use to help them identify and shape letters. As students start learning digraphs and other special sound combinations it can be helpful to add these. 

Writing Materials-  Providing students with extra pencils or creating an independent system for them to get a new pencil when necessary will reduce interruptions. 

Writing Folder-  During the writing process students will have several drafts and templates. A dedicated writing folder can be helpful for organizing these materials. I’ve included a cover that you can personalize to add to the front of each writing folder.

Kindergarten Writing How-to Books- Unit 3 Scope:

There are 22 detailed lesson plans that will walk you through how to teach writing How-To Books! By the end of the unit, your students will have written 3 How-To Books, and will be ready to move onto Unit 4!

how to write a story kindergarten

In order to make your writing block effective, be sure to implement procedures and plan out your routines and expectations. Get your materials set up and provide students with a writing folder. Be sure to model, model, model!

Organization:

Each child will get his/her own writing folder. Of course, this folder will be the place where they keep all of their writing templates, charts, and materials.

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Inside of each folder, you can include the Alphabet Sound Chart, the Letter Chart, Letter Formation Chart and any other resources about the unit.

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Included in the files are pencil labels…

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Mentor Texts:

Mentor texts are an important component to each unit in the Writing Curriculum. What are Mentor Texts? Mentor text(s) are 1-2 example texts that illustrate the writing style we are focusing on for the unit. 

For the Kindergarten How-To Books, here are some examples of mentor texts you can use:

  • “How to Read a Story” by Kate Messner
  • “How to Spy on a Shark” by Lori Haskins Houran
  • “Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle” by Chris Raschka
  • “How to Make a Liquid Rainbow” by Lori Shores (or another book  from the Hands-On Science Fun How-to series)
  • “Growing Vegetable Soup” by Lois Ehlert

There are plenty more books that you can choose as mentor texts to teach writing non-realistic fiction, but these are just a few of my favorites.

how to write a story kindergarten

In Lesson 1 , we introduce mentor texts. Discussion- How do you know this book is non-fiction? What is this book teaching us how to do? What steps does the book teach us? 

how to write a story kindergarten

The mentor texts will be part of your Writers Library.

Writers Library

A Writers Library is a larger collection of on-topic texts that students can read and reference throughout the unit. Consider keeping these books in a special location where students can access them throughout the unit. These books will act as a reference for students who might struggle with writing non-realistic fiction stories.

how to write a story kindergarten

Planning Stage:

During Lesson 2 , students will start planning their How-To Books. Students will be asked to think of things that they know how to do and draw them in their brain planning template. Teachers can model and brainstorm a variety of things they know how to do at work, home, outside, etc..  Add each idea to your brain with a picture and label.  We will use our brainstorm to help us plan our how-to books.

NOTE: Many students may not be ready to write full sentences in their brainstorming template and that’s OK! Labeling is an age appropriate stage in the planning phase. To be clear, labeling looks different based on each student’s abilities. Some may label with beginning sounds or invented spelling. Some may label with with proper spelling of words or phrases. Nonetheless, the most important point is that we want them to WRITE, whatever that may look like. We use small groups to meet students where they are and move them forward.

how to write a story kindergarten

Posters for Writing How-To Books

The Writing Ideas poster is helpful in generating ideas of things that students can writing about. One of the most difficult tasks in writing is answering the question, “What do I write about?” Adults and children alike can struggle with this part of writing, which is why I like to include idea posters. Students may use these ideas or they may help to spark other ideas they can write about.

how to write a story kindergarten

Posters help students understand what authors and illustrators do when publishing a book. Students will become both the author and illustrator in their own How-To Books!

how to write a story kindergarten

In addition to writing and illustrating the book, students learn that they need to edit their books. Photographs can also take the place of illustrations as students become the photographer for their How-To Books.

how to write a story kindergarten

Keeping students on track with differentiating between fiction and non-fiction with posters can be helpful. Likewise, making sure that their illustrations include detailed pictures will help their readers better understand their books.

how to write a story kindergarten

The posters are simple and to the point. This poster is an easy reference for the focus of the unit: How-To Books are nonfiction books that teach how to do something.

how to write a story kindergarten

Students will also have access to mini Writing Idea posters , if you choose to use them.

how to write a story kindergarten

A Writer’s Checklist can be used during small groups to help students edit their writing once they get to that stage.

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The Writing Process poster will help keep students on track as you move from lesson to lesson. This will highlight where they are in the writing process and what is coming next.

how to write a story kindergarten

In Unit 3, students also learn about the different jobs that are included when a how-to book is published.

The unit includes templates to help students illustrate their how-to books in 3 steps. Their books will include the beginning step, the middle step and the final step in how to do something.

how to write a story kindergarten

The activity below offers additional support to help students practice fiction and non-fiction. We want to keep students on track with writing their How-to Books.

how to write a story kindergarten

My Writing Checklist allows students to check their own writing. The visual clues are also part of the main classroom posters, so students clearly understand what is on their checklist for the How-to Books.

how to write a story kindergarten

Numbering the pages at the bottom helps students make sure that their How-to Books have 3 steps.

how to write a story kindergarten

Developmental Stages of Writing appropriate for Kindergarten:

While all students develop differently, most student writing progresses along these developmental writing stages. Therefore, use this chart to determine a student’s current writing level and identify next steps and goals. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind, it is normal for students to progress through some stages quickly and linger at others. 

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  • Pre-Writing Stage:
  • Random Scribbling
  • Linear Scribbling. Scribbling moves from left to right
  • Letter-like Symbols
  • Random Letters. Letters do not correspond to sounds.
  • Beginning Writing Stage:
  • Letter Strings- child can “read” writing.
  • Letter Groups
  • Labeling Pictures
  • Copying Print (Writer can’t read their writing.
  • Sound Writing:
  • Beginning Sounds
  • Beginning and Ending Sounds
  • Medial Sounds
  • Fluent Writing
  • Phrase Writing
  • Mixed Sound and Recall Spelling
  • Sentence Writing
  • All Syllables are Represented
  • Paragraph Writing

Conferencing:

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Conference is the heart of Writer’s Workshop! This is where you will work with your small groups and get a good feel of where they are in their writing. Certainly keep in mind that you’re conferring with them. It’s an opportunity to provide individualized instruction, assess students writing, reinforce skills taught during the mini-lessons.

Highlighting Strengths

When you confer with your students, you can identify their strengths and notice what they are doing well. Specifically, these moments are great opportunities to celebrate those moments and help build self-confidence. As a result, students’ writing stamina grows as students learn what they are doing correctly.

Improving Weaknesses

Conferencing also gives the chance for students to think about where they can improve their writing. Certainly you can easily make this your teaching point. You may want to pose questions during this time. For example, what else do good writers do? Suggestions could include adding more details. Or they might need to make sure their writing has a beginning, middle and end. Perhaps the student is working on labeling. Whatever the case, conferencing time is a time to set goals for something they can work on to improve their writing so they can become even better writers.

Scaffolding

In light of the vigorous process, I have included Wordless Picture Books to help make this process more effective. Use these Wordless Picture Books to address specific writing goals with students. For example, some students may be working on labeling, and some might work on detailed pictures. By the end of the year, you will see students progress in the Developmental Stages of Writing and move onto write sentences and even paragraphs.

how to write a story kindergarten

Laminate the Wordless Picture Books and use them model what good writing looks like while meeting with your small groups.

Students can use the circles at the bottom of the page to show green for step 1, yellow for step 2, and red for step 3. Alternatively you can have students number their pages 1, 2, and 3.

Remember, some students will just draw pictures, some might label their pictures, and some will attempt to “write” words, phrases or sentences. First and foremost, let the creativity flow. Over time, as students progress through their How-to Books, they will continue to grow as writers. Consequently, you will be able to watch your writers blossom and fall in LOVE with writing! For this reason, be sure to celebrate your students successes as you continue to build writing stamina!

Rubrics provide a structured way to measure student writing ability. With this in mind, use these rubrics to grade pre-unit on demands, post-unit on demands, and final writing pieces as needed. Most teachers find that grading all three writing pieces is not necessary. 

Conveniently, there are several options of rubrics provided so you can select the rubric(s) that best fits your needs. 

how to write a story kindergarten

Publishing Party :

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Now it’s time for students to share their writing in Lesson 22 ! This is such an important component to Writer’s Workshop, especially in Kindergarten! Finally, it’s time to have a Publishing Party! Students have worked hard to write a book to teach someone how to do something. That took a LOT of effort, so now we are going to CELEBRATE their writing accomplishments with a publishing party!

Publishing parties look different in each room. Nonetheless, the important thing is that each student gets a chance to share their work! For a small class you could have students share one at a time. On the other hand, for a larger class you could have students share in small groups or sit at their desks while guests rotate around and see all of the books. 

Plan Ahead:

Mark your publishing party on your class calendar at the beginning of the unit to help your students get excited. Additionally, during revision and publishing days remind your students that they are authors and an audience is coming to hear their stories! 

In short, the main goal of a publishing party is for students to celebrate and share their accomplishments as a writer . Therefore, a variety of party supplies and props are provided including crowns, compliment pages, signs, party invitations, an “I’m an Author” banner and name tags. Use these to make your party something your students and families look forward to each unit.  Let’s get this party started!

how to write a story kindergarten

For your convenience, you can use the included invitations to invite family, friends, or another class to come hear your student’s stories. 

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This Young Author Award will be cherished for years to come as students look back at their completion of writing How-to Books!

how to write a story kindergarten

I hope this post was helpful to you as you set out to implement kindergarten writing workshop this year!

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Be sure to join my private Facebook group with other likeminded educators and homeschool families that are using Moffatt Girl Curriculum!

Happy Teaching!

how to write a story kindergarten

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January 21, 2023 at 7:26 pm

How can I get a print out of the How to (books) I really like those. Please let me know/

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February 24, 2023 at 9:47 am

Here’s a link to the Kindergarten How-To Writing Unit in my store: Click Here .

Kindly, Annie

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December 27

Writing Lesson Plans for Kindergarten & First Grade

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Writing lesson plans for the entire year! Complete writing units to help you teach writing in kindergarten and 1st grade.

Writing Lesson Plans

Writing lesson plans for the entire year! Complete writing units to help you teach writing in kindergarten and 1st grade.

Teaching writing can feel quite overwhelming! Writing instruction should occur daily in the classroom. However, you may find yourself asking, “Well, what exactly do I teach for writing?” That is a question I often hear from kindergarten and first-grade teachers. Deedee Wills and I created the perfect solution for you! We spent countless hours creating a writing curriculum for kindergarten and 1st grade. We later added 2nd grade, too! (You can more information about 2nd grade at the end of this post.) Throughout our Writing Through the Year bundle, we’ve included daily writing lesson plans that are aligned to standards, anchor charts, rubrics, mentor text ideas, and more! The bundle is divided into 9 writing units to last you throughout the entire school year. 

Each writing unit consists of 20 writing lessons. Ideally, you would complete 1 unit per month. Obviously, months with limited school days may be different. Within each unit, you will find the scope and sequence for the unit. Here is an example of unit 1. This unit gets you and your students ready for writer’s workshop. 

Writing lesson plans for the entire year! Complete writing units to help you teach writing in kindergarten and 1st grade.

Setting up your writing block is a process and takes time for specific procedures to be taught. Students will learn about their job, as well as, yours during writer’s workshop. 

Writing lesson plans for the entire year! Complete writing units to help you teach writing in kindergarten and 1st grade.

You will complete and utilize anchor charts throughout the writing units. 

Writing lesson plans for the entire year! Complete writing units to help you teach writing in kindergarten and 1st grade.

Once you set the routines and procedures, students are ready to begin writing. 

Writing lesson plans for the entire year! Complete writing units to help you teach writing in kindergarten and 1st grade.

Students’ writing will develop with each new day of writing instruction and practice.

Writing lesson plans for the entire year! Complete writing units to help you teach writing in kindergarten and 1st grade.

As you progress through the units, students will challenge themselves even more. 

Writing lesson plans for the entire year! Complete writing units to help you teach writing in kindergarten and 1st grade.

Student Sharing

Having students share their writing with their peers is a big part of writer’s workshop. Each day, students will share what they worked on. This is also a time when you can bring attention to great pieces of writing or students who did a good job of practicing the specific lesson idea for that day. 

Writing lesson plans for the entire year! Complete writing units to help you teach writing in kindergarten and 1st grade.

Rubrics are included with each writing unit. For our kindergarten and first grade units, you will find a rubric for emergent writers(kindergarten) and early writers(first grade). 

Writing lesson plans for the entire year! Complete writing units to help you teach writing in kindergarten and 1st grade.

There are also fix it up checklists for students to use. After introducing and modeling the checklist, students can independently check their own writing for correct mechanics. 

Writing lesson plans for the entire year! Complete writing units to help you teach writing in kindergarten and 1st grade.

Start feeling confident about teaching writing each and every day in kindergarten and 1st grade! We make it simple and stress-free. 

Writing lesson plans for the entire year! Complete writing units to help you teach writing in kindergarten and 1st grade.

Check out our writing bundle for kindergarten and first-grade, here:

  • Writing Through the Year Bundle

Plus, click on this link to get a FREE writer’s workshop helper for your students:

  • Writer’s Workshop Helper FREE FILE

If you are interested in 2nd grade writing, here are a few blog posts on Deedee’s website:

  • Fiction Writing in Second Grade
  • Informational Writing in Second Grade

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Writing lesson plans for the entire year! Complete writing units to help you teach writing in kindergarten and 1st grade.

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5 Ways to Create a Literacy-Rich Preschool Classroom

Consider these straightforward ideas for setting up a literacy-friendly environment for pre-K learners.

Photo of elementary classroom

Language and literacy skills in preschool and kindergarten are a strong predictor of children’s academic achievement in all subject areas through high school. In light of this, many preschool teachers feel compelled to provide rote, direct instruction to explicitly teach alphabet knowledge and phonics. Contrary to this inclination, theories of child development suggest that children are concrete learners and retain information best when it is grounded in their existing knowledge (e.g., constructivism ). Teachers can support this by offering real and meaningful experiences that help children connect new learning to what they already know.

The good news for preschool teachers is that such experiences don’t necessarily require hours of planning and carefully crafted lessons. Preschool classrooms can be filled with literacy-rich materials and opportunities for teachers to facilitate meaningful, contextualized learning throughout children’s day.

Here are five ways that preschool teachers can create a literacy-rich environment that encourages children’s natural curiosity and meaningfully promotes emergent reading and writing skills.

An environment for literacy

1. Label children’s personal items and spaces with their photos and names: Preschoolers first begin to identify the letters in their own names, followed by their friends’ names. Add labels with children’s photos and their names to cubbies, coat hooks, seats, place mats, classroom jobs, or any other individual items you may have in your classroom.

When it is time to put things away, encourage children to find their own name. This not only encourages valuable self-help skills but also helps them begin to identify their names in print. Occasionally, you can also ask children to help a friend put away their items too. For example, “Sally left her water bottle on the table. Can you put it in her cubby?”

When children are ready, remove the photo support and continue with only written names. Ask questions like “How do you know that’s Sally’s cubby?” to guide them toward letter identification in the context of their friends’ names.

2. Label classroom materials with both pictures and words: Environmental print in the classroom serves multiple purposes. First, photos of materials with word labels on baskets, bins, and shelves help children easily find materials and know exactly where those materials belong when they’re cleaning up. They also allow children to see that print has a purpose and that groups of printed letters represent words.

Finally, with adult support, children can begin to associate beginning letters with sounds, using the pictures of familiar classroom materials as a reference. As children are cleaning up, try asking, “What goes in this basket?” and “How do you know?” Encourage them to “read” the label using the pictures and the words.

3. Add books to every learning center or interest area: Books don’t have to be limited only to your classroom library. Adding a basket of topic-related books to each interest area helps children develop an understanding between print and its purpose.

Educator Kristin Rydholm provides some great lists of picture books related to dramatic play , blocks , math , and makerspaces . Here are some relevant topics for books for interest center libraries. 

  • Community helpers, different types of families, and cookbooks in the dramatic play center
  • Buildings, construction, and maps or atlases in the block area
  • Books showcasing famous artists or featuring colors and shapes in the art center
  • Counting, numbers, sorting, and patterns in the math center
  • Critters, nature, and creating with loose parts in the science center
  • Mentor texts in the writing center (like A Squiggly Story , by Andrew Larsen)

4. Offer writing materials in every learning center or interest area: Preschool teachers often have a writing center available in their classroom, but why limit writing to just one space? Adults use writing all the time—from writing out birthday cards to jotting down grocery lists and sticky note reminders, writing is all around us. Young children, who learn best through meaningful and contextualized experiences, should also have opportunities to practice writing for a variety of purposes. Though a well-crafted writing center is important, offer writing materials in every area of the classroom.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children provides tips for strategically placing writing materials throughout the room and connecting emergent writing experiences to topics of interest. Other opportunities for emergent writing practice throughout the classroom may include the following:

  • Taking restaurant orders, making price tags, and more in the dramatic play center
  • Drafting architectural plans and labeling buildings in the block center
  • Recording observations of a science experiment in the science center

5. Create resource rings with relevant vocabulary words: With intentional and continued exposure, young children can build the rich and expansive vocabulary they need for later reading development. As your class explores new topics of interest throughout the year, be intentional about exposing children to new vocabulary words.

Create resource rings with topic-related vocabulary words and picture cues to add to a designated area of the classroom; some teachers may prefer to place these in the writing center. Add a hole punch to each card, and group topic-related word cards on a single binder ring. These school-related vocabulary cards by Karen Cox are a great example. As children are discussing topics of study with their friends, or writing/drawing about their learning, direct them to the resource rings as a tool for remembering and/or writing vocabulary words.

Preschool language and literacy skills are critical for children’s long-term school success, but teachers shouldn’t feel pressured to spend hours planning for direct instruction. Much of children’s early language and literacy learning will occur organically in a literacy-rich preschool classroom. By embedding language and literacy materials throughout the classroom with special attention to each interest area, teachers can encourage literacy development in ways that are engaging, contextualized, and driven by each child’s interest.

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35 Best Picture Books About Friendship

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Books about friendship make the best read alouds in both preschool and elementary school. These are the best children’s books with excellent stories of kids making friends, cooperating, resolving conflicts, and being a good friend.

Use these picture books about friendship to show the children in your lives examples of the different areas of friendship.

books about friendship

But probably the most important thing after reading a book about friendship is to reflect and discuss it. Talking about the story, the questions that come up, and the ah-has a child has, will help cement the new learning.

As you move through your days, talk about the lessons of the friendship stories. Ask children, “Remember when this character did that?” See how it impacts kids’ behaviors. Ask, “How can you apply what they’ve been learning?”

Books About Friendship

Table of contents, making a new friend.

how to write a story kindergarten

You Will Be My Friend  by Peter Brown I love how hilarious this book is! Really seriously funny. Lucy is very enthusiastic about making friends with ANY forest critter. Her good intentions go awry, and soon Lucy is yelling at animals — “ Come back here and have fun with me ” and “ You WILL be my friend. ” Which turns out not to be a great way to make friends. Will Lucy ever make a friend?

how to write a story kindergarten

Sweety by Andrea Zuill Sweety is a unique naked mole rat whose classmates don’t really “get.” Sweety wondered if there was a secret handshake so she could find her people. For now, she just is Sweety. And eventually, someone else who is also awesome might come along, too! (Like Sandy who seems to be just as weirdly cool as Sweety.) YAY!! This is a luminous celebration of being completely true to yourself, even if the world doesn’t get you.

how to write a story kindergarten

A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey, illustrated by Mika Song You will fall in love with this gentle snapshot about making friends when social interactions don’t come easily. Henry hopes he will find a friend in Classroom Six. The precise text reflects Henry’s literal viewpoint, the kids around him, and his confusion at their reactions. After many friendship misunderstandings, Henry meets another child looking at the fish. “ Want to play blocks? ” he asks Katie. And Henry makes a friend! This is a sweet, heartfelt story that will help kids see other people’s perspectives.

how to write a story kindergarten

Nobody Hugs a Cactus by Carter Goodrich This prickly cactus just wants to be left alone and is annoyed by everyone else. Eventually, he realizes that he’s lonely and he wants to change his rude behavior. Maybe friends and a hug wouldn’t be so bad after all. Atmospheric illustrations and characters will transport you to the desert setting.

how to write a story kindergarten

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins After a rough first day at school, where she eats her classmates, gets scolded by the teacher, spits them out, and doesn’t make any friends, Penelope’s dad explains that “ children are the same as us on the inside. Just tastier. ” HA. The next day, Penelope eats her classmates again. She just can’t stop herself! However, when the class goldfish chomps on Penelope’s finger and it HURTS, she realizes that it’s no fun to be someone else’s snack. So even when her classmates look delicious, Penelope tries to remember what it felt like…and resists eating them. Which means she has friends and playmates at school.

how to write a story kindergarten

Little Taco Trucks  by Tanya Valentine and Jorge Martin Little Taco Truck used to be the only food truck but when one truck after another join him in his area, he gets upset and feels pushed out. This relatable story shows the benefits of making space for new friendships and flavors.

how to write a story kindergarten

Oliver: The Second-Largest Living Thing on Earth by Josh Crute, illustrated by John Taesoo Kim Oliver is the second largest tree on Earth but Oliver feels invisible. (“Which is surprising when you’re 268.1 feet tall.”) Oliver eventually notices the other large trees around him. It turns out that they also feel invisible. Oliver waves shyly. And he makes new friends! The expressive illustrations are a perfect balance of white space and color and characterization.

how to write a story kindergarten

Words to Make a Friend: A Story in Japanese and English  by Donna Jo Napoli and Naoko Stoop Two girls meet in the wintery snow. They play together, trading words in their respective languages like “ Let’s play!” / “Asobou “, and build bridges of friendship while making a snow Godzilla together. It’s a sweet example of how friendship can cross language barriers with play.

how to write a story kindergarten

Gustavo the Shy Ghost  by Flavia Z. Drago Gustavo is a  shy  ghost which makes it hard to make friends. He uses his love for Day of the Dead to show the other monsters who he is which helps him make friends.

how to write a story kindergarten

Turtle and Tortoise Are Not Friends  by Mike Reiss, illustrated by Ashley Spires The tortoise and turtle hatch and agree that they can’t be friends because they’re different even though they’re in the same pen and they each have interesting adventures. Their so-called action is hilarious because it’s so slow-moving. Like when they both try to get the ball that a kid tossed into the pen and it takes SEVEN YEARS to reach it. Eventually, these stubborn creatures learn that both are in the turtle family…and six years later, they decide to be friends. 

how to write a story kindergarten

Ways to Make Friends  by Jairo Buitrago, illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson Sweet and funny with both helpful and quirky advice,   the book’s gentle message is  kindness  toward others with some fun twists, as well as learning how to be your own best friend, too. I adore this picture book–both the story and the gorgeous illustrations.

How to Be a Good Friend

how to write a story kindergarten

Be Kind  by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jen Hill A little girl ponders one of life’s big questions:  what is kindness ?  She wants to show kindness to Tanisha, who spilled grape juice on her dress and seems embarrassed. The little girl brainstorms ideas about being kind to other people in her life, then finds a sweet way to show Tanisha that she is not alone and that she has a friend. The girl finds concrete ideas of kindness in action — using people’s names, sticking up for someone, listening, putting dirty dishes in the sink, and so on.

how to write a story kindergarten

I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness  by Kerascoët When a classmate is being bullied, what can you do? This wordless picture book shows that sometimes it’s about showing someone they are not alone. You can do what this girl does: show  kindness  and walk home with a lonely, hurting person.

how to write a story kindergarten

Speak Up, Molly Lou Melon  by Patty Lovell, illustrated by David Catrow Molly Lou Melon IS THE BEST! She’s responsible, loving, kind, tells the truth, and speaks up for what’s right, like stopping a classmate who teases a new student. The illustrations are absolutely perfect and filled with tons of nuanced details that add depth and humor to the story.

how to write a story kindergarten

Exclamation Mark  by Amy Krouse Rosenthal It’s not easy when you’re not like everyone else.   Sometimes when this happens, we squish ourselves to fit in. We shrink. Twist. Bend. Until–! — a friend shows us a way of being with endless possibilities. In this bold and highly visual book, an emphatic but misplaced exclamation mark learns that being different can be very exciting! Period.

how to write a story kindergarten

Leo a Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, illustrations by Christian Robinson In this ghost story , Leo is a good friend to Jane. Together they play Knights of the Round Table. When Leo helps save the family from robbers, he tells Jane that he’s a ghost, hoping she won’t be afraid. She isn’t. It’s his friendship that is most important, not what he is. It’s such a sweet friendship story .

how to write a story kindergarten

Wordy Birdy  by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Dave Mottram Wordy Birdy is an enthusiastic bird who talks non-stop. She talks so much that she misses her friends’ warnings about the danger ahead. Although the story is explicitly attempting to show kids the importance of listening with a fairly predictable scenario, I still like the book because Wordy Birdy is such a lovable character whose friends accept her just the way she is. Plus, the illustrations and word bubble dialogue are enchanting.

how to write a story kindergarten

Eat Pete!  by Michael Rex When the boy named Pete invites the monster to play, the monster wants to eat Pete but instead, he plays trucks and pirates. Until he can’t resist and eats Pete. But playing alone without Pete isn’t as much fun. What will the monster do now? Because friends make everything more fun.

how to write a story kindergarten

Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug by Jonathan Stutzman, illustrated by Jay Fleck How do you make a sad friend feel better? Hugs! Tiny T. Rex wants to give his friend a hug. But how do you give hug when you have tiny arms? Tiny asks his family for their advice. It turns out that trial and error, persistence, and hard work will help Tiny T.Rex solve his hug conundrum. You’ll love this sweet demonstration of friendship as well as the determination of the main character and the delightful solution.

how to write a story kindergarten

Jenny Mei Is Sad  by Tracy Subisak Narrated by Jenny Mei’s friend, we learn that Jenny Mei is sad, but she doesn’t always show it. Sometimes she smiles and sometimes she rips things, and sometimes she is quiet. And it’s ok. Her friend is always there for “ fun and not-fun and everything in between .”  This kindergarten book shows the importance of accepting a friend’s feelings and behaviors without judgment or trying to fix things.

how to write a story kindergarten

Strictly No Elephants  by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo When the Pet Club won’t permit elephants, the boy leaves sadly. However, he soon meets a girl with a skunk and other friends with unusual pets. Together they make an inclusive location for all in a wonderful tree house! What a great book to teach about inclusion and acceptance.

how to write a story kindergarten

Chopsticks  by Amy Krouse Rosenthal Chopsticks are always together. But when one chopstick gets injured, he encourages his partner chopstick to go and explore the world alone. Use this metaphorical book to help children learn about friendships.  It shows that friends, even when apart, can still be friends – stronger, even.   Plus, it’s a punny, funny story.

how to write a story kindergarten

We Are Going to Be Pals!  by Mark Teague In the African savanna, a talkative (dare I say know-it-all) egret (bird) tells the rhino that they have a symbiotic relationship AND that they are meant to be best friends. And the bird explains everything there is to know about friendship and life. But when the bird gets stuck in quicksand, will her quiet, new best friend help get Egret unstuck?

how to write a story kindergarten

Friends Beyond Measure: A Story Told with Infographics  by Lalena Fisher Ana and Harwin are the best of friends. They have adventures, disagreements, agreements, and silly fun. But when one friend is moving away, the other friend feels lots of feelings. They plan this year and the next year to stay friends and be in touch. The warm-hearted story is illustrated with amazing infographics, including a line graph, charts, maps, a Venn diagram, and other infographics that add so much extra playfulness and learning to the story. I love it.

how to write a story kindergarten

Pocket Full of Sads   by Brad Davidson, illustrated by Rachel Mas Davidson I love this book because it shows that feelings like sadness are OKAY and don’t need to be FIXED. In this tender story of friendship and feelings, Bear feels sad, a heavy kind of sad. Rabbit tries to fix Bear with jokes, happy thoughts, and five steps from an internet article. It doesn’t work, and they don’t go fishing. But they  do  sit together quietly. And THAT is what makes Bear feel better. Having his friend close without trying to fix him!!!

how to write a story kindergarten

I Forgive Alex A Simple Story About Understanding  by Kerascoet Wordless  with beautiful illustrations, this story tells about the time at recess when Alex’s ball hit his classmate’s pictures, and they fell in a puddle. Everyone seems mad at Alex, but eventually, the boy to whom the drawings belong shakes Alex’s hand and forgives him.

how to write a story kindergarten

Dear Mr. G written by Christine Evans, illustrated by Gracey Zhang Jackson accidentally kicks his soccer ball into Mr. G’s rose bush. So he write an apology letter. And he gets a letter in return. And learns about Mr. G through their letters back and forth. When Mr. G leaves, Jackson promises to care for his rose bush. And when Mr. G dies, Jackson memorializes him in the sweetest of endings. This is a story of kindness, friendship, and grief that might make you cry.

Sharing and Cooperation

how to write a story kindergarten

Not Enough Lollipops  by Megan Maynor, illustrated by Micah Player A powerful allegory story about sharing and human nature. After Alice wins a huge basket of lollipops, she’s happy to share, but the other kids begin to fight over the sweet treats — bribing, begging, pleading, and disparaging — until Alice reassures them that there are (hopefully) enough to share with everyone. The kids line up to each get one lollipop, and their previous rude behavior softens to kindness and consideration for each other

how to write a story kindergarten

Mine! by Jeff Mack Two mice each want the large rock — but first, they must get rid of the other mouse. Told in hilarious illustrations and only the word “mine,” you’ll crack up at the story and surprise ending.

how to write a story kindergarten

Too Many Carrots by Katy Hudson Another winning picture book from the talented Katy Hudson! Rabbit has a problem — his carrot collection is overflowing his burrow, and he can’t fit there anymore. His animal friends offer their homes but he and his carrots destroy everyone’s houses. The only thing to do? Share all his carrots with his friends.

how to write a story kindergarten

That Fruit Is Mine! by Anuska Allepuz This is a charming story about learning to share. You’ll crack up watching the elephants’ many failed attempts to get the delicious-looking fruit off the tree while simultaneously a tiny group of mice work together to get the yummy fruit, too. Which they do! When the elephants see what the mice have accomplished, they love the idea of teamwork and try again.

how to write a story kindergarten

Mine written by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann When a shiny red apple appears on the tree, one animal after another waits for the juicy fruit to be theirs. Rhyming text, vivid verbs, and the animals’ inner dialogues have us on the edge of our seats about what will happen when the wind blows the apple down, down, down. They all dog-pile fight over while the apple rolls gently away to a new animal…who shares it with a friend! You’ll applaud this just ending and laugh at the silliness of the selfish fighters. As you can see from the cover, Eric Rohmann’s printmaking illustrations are bold, graphic, and visually striking. In other words, perfect.

how to write a story kindergarten

Hornbeam All In written by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard This picture book reminds me of George and Martha with its three friendship stories in one book with a charming moose named Hornbeam with his friends. Humor and sweetness abound in these stories of a picnic, a snoring sleepover, and swimming lessons.

Conflict & Resolution

how to write a story kindergarten

How to Apologize by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka Use this gentle, instructive guidebook to teach children about apologizing. It talks about how hard it can be but that it’s important because it makes both you and the other person feel better. It gives readers examples of what not to do (don’t make excuses) and what to do (be sincere). The examples show animals acting out apologies and because most of them aren’t good apologies and end up being quite funny. (One not-sincere example is, “ Mom told me I had to apologize for putting your doll in the fishbowl or I can’t go outside and play baseball. So I’m sorry. “) Excellent.

how to write a story kindergarten

Ollie, the Acorn, and the Mighty Idea written by Andrew Hacket, illustrated by Kaz Windness Written in one of the strongest narrative voices I’ve read recently, Ollie is fed up with neighbor Everett’s bullying, so he decides to become an oak tree. (As one does.) He swallows an acorn, eats soil, adds water and sun, and transforms into a mighty oak. After Ollie behaves like a bully and feels bad, he and Everett talk and transform. They learn that they can do mighty things…together. The artwork dances off the page. Kaz’s distinctive artistic style isn’t just a visual feast; it gives us all the feels. Lovely!

how to write a story kindergarten

Prince and Pirate by Charlotte Gunnufson, illustrated by Mike Lowery Prince and Pirate are two unique fish that live in their own fish bowls. Until one day. That is the day they are moved to a tank together! They do not get along. AT ALL. They name-call and pester each other up until they decide to help the new arrival, a small, scared dogfish. You’ll love the bright illustrations, hilarious dialogue, and strong personalities of Pirate and Prince.

how to write a story kindergarten

Hamsters Make Terrible Roommates by Cheryl B. Klein, illustrated by Abhi Alwar A story of friendship, conflict, repair, and compromise…These two roommate hamsters are opposites. Henry is talkative and it’s irritating Marvin and he blows up and yells at Henry. After time to cool off, Marvin apologizes, and Henry forgives him. They find a compromise that will work for both of their personalities.

how to write a story kindergarten

One LIttle Word written by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Allison Colpoys The big personified ARGUMENT monster sits in the middle of the narrator and her best friend. The friends play apart. The Argument grows bigger with scales and spikes until one friend pushes the other. Tears start gushing out, and so does a little tiny little word: “Sorry”. The Sorries wiggle and dance; their light shines on The Argument, making it shrink and disappear. Then, the friends give each other the best hug ever.

Ending of a Friendship

how to write a story kindergarten

Walter Had a Best Friend   by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier Walter has a best friend named Xavier. Until he doesn’t. This makes Walter’s world change. And he stops doing the things he used to do with his friend.  After time alone, he decides to do something he likes and take a hike by himself.  On a new trail, Walter meets a badger named Ollie, leaving us with a glimpse of a hopeful new beginning.

friendship books

KEEP READING

Books About Names

how to write a story kindergarten

Nursery Rhyme Books

how to write a story kindergarten

Reading Games

how to write a story kindergarten

Choose Your Own Adventure Books

22 best choose your own adventure books

Frog and Toad Books

read alike books for frog and toad books

Friendship Poems

7 Anthology Friendship Poems to Exchange with a Friend

Melissa Taylor, MA, is the creator of Imagination Soup. She's a mother, former teacher & literacy trainer, and freelance education writer. She writes Imagination Soup and freelances for publications online and in print, including Penguin Random House's Brightly website, USA Today Health, Adobe Education, Colorado Parent, and Parenting. She is passionate about matching kids with books that they'll love.

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As a librarian I LOVE and trust your brilliant book choices. You are my first go-to for new purchases! Thanks for working hard so I don’t have to! (At least on book selection :). Also you really should check out Apryl Stott’s books and add them to your SEL suggestions. They are brilliant and don’t shove the topic down your throat, which some SEL books do. Fantastic art mixed with strong classroom connections!

Thank you, Jami! That makes my day!

And thanks for the recommendation. I’m going to run to my library’s website and search for her books right now!

IMAGES

  1. 5 easy steps to write a story ✅ storytelling

    how to write a story kindergarten

  2. Teach child how to read: Cut And Paste Story Sequencing Worksheets For

    how to write a story kindergarten

  3. Reading Short Stories For Kindergarten

    how to write a story kindergarten

  4. Creative Writing Prompts with Paperless Option and Task Cards FREEBIE

    how to write a story kindergarten

  5. I Can Write A Story

    how to write a story kindergarten

  6. Kindergarten Short Stories by A Wellspring of Worksheets

    how to write a story kindergarten

VIDEO

  1. How to Teach Students about the Writing Process in Kindergarten, First, & 2nd Grade // Writing Tips

  2. 4 Effective Practices for Teaching Writing in Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grade, how to teach writing

  3. Kid Writing Workshop 2

  4. How to Start Journaling with a 5 Year Old/Lesson 1: Journal in Kindergarten/Journaling Tips for Kids

  5. What is "The Writing Rope" and how does it apply to Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade?

  6. How To Write a Children's Book: Your Step-By-Step Guide To Writing a Children’s Book

COMMENTS

  1. How to Teach Narrative Writing in Kindergarten & First Grade: Step by Step

    Step 3. Write a First Draft. Once my students have labeled their pictures, I model how to write a first draft. I model looking at my picture and label and them using it to write a sentence. When we read narrative writing and create our anchor chart, we talk about using transition words like first, next, and last.

  2. A Step-By-Step Guide to Helping Your Child Write a Story

    Step 1: Think of an idea. A good place to start is by reading a book together. Stop and ask your child to make predictions about how the story might end. Your child's alternative ending may become great material for a new and original story. You can also write stories based on real‑life experiences, such as your child's first day of school ...

  3. How to Write a Story for Kids: Step-by-Step Guide

    Writing Your Story. Now it's time to start writing the first draft of your story. We call it the first draft because it is highly likely that you will have to write your story a number of times before it is ready to be published. Write the opening. The opening sentence is one of the most essential parts of any story. It hooks the reader and ...

  4. How To Writing in Kindergarten : Lessons, Mentor Texts, Examples and MORE!

    That is something we want to ensure to include in our writing mini-lessons. Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert. We included this book in the kindergarten writers workshop units that we published in 2011. It is a classic and a wonderful mentor text for how to writing. In Your Monster Won't Go To Bed by Denise Vega.

  5. How to Write a Story for Kids

    In this video, children will be taken through the writing process in a way that helps them reflect and improve.00:00 Introduction0:27 Step 1: Analyze1:22 Ste...

  6. Kindergarten Writing: Writing in the Kindergarten Classroom

    KinderWriting is based upon nine units: Writing With Pictures, Writing With Sentences, Writing With Stories, Writing With Narrative, Writing With Opinion, Writing With Direction, Writing With Persuasion, Writing With Imagination, and Writing With Information. Each unit is broken down to 20 lessons. The units cover 20 days of academic instruction.

  7. 25 Fun Kindergarten Writing & Storytelling Prompts (Free Printable!)

    Plus, kindergartners usually have lots to say! Kindergarten writing prompts, often called story starters, help young writers focus on a single topic as they develop writing skills. Topics should be broad enough that every child can easily think of something to write about and interesting enough that they stay engaged.

  8. How to Teach Writing in Kindergarten

    Tip #1: Say It First. When we say our stories aloud, it gives students ideas to write about and they can "hold" their idea in their minds before they draw/write. In kindergarten, you will see many of your students writing stories while relying on dictation or illustration. This is developmental and we always praise our students' work ...

  9. Picture-Tellers: How to "Write" a Story, the Kindergarten Way

    Talk them through the process, step-by-step. -Send students to their tables, passing out a cartouche to each. At each table, in the center, is a tray with five to six of the hieroglyphic stamps, and three to four stamp pads. -Once students are done, bring their cartouches outside and place in the sun to dry. Closing:

  10. Writing Activities for Your Kindergartener

    Bookmaker. Turn your child's writing into books! Paste her drawings and writings on pieces of construction paper. For each book, make a cover out of heavier paper or cardboard, and add special art, a title, and her name as author. Punch holes in the pages and cover, and bind the book together with yarn or ribbon.

  11. 10 Tricks for Teaching Kindergarten Writing

    Sentence starters confuse kindergarten students. If they write about the same thing for a while, it is ok. It is much like reading the same book over and over again. They are building confidence. 8. Write across the curriculum. Reading and writing go hand in hand. Students can write their favorite part of a story or compose a letter to a character.

  12. 14 Best How to Books for Kindergarten & Writing Tips

    8. How to Write a Story by Kate Messner. This is a great book to share at the beginning of the year when you want to help your kindergarten children understand exactly how to write a story! It follows a 10-step process that really guides you through the creative writing process.

  13. How To Write A Story For Kids in 12 Steps (With Examples)

    Learn how to write a story for kids in 12 easy steps with examples. From developing an idea to publishing your book, this video contains all the information ...

  14. How to Write a Story: Read-Aloud Book, Learn to Read and ...

    How to Write a Story by Kate Messner, illustrated by Mark Siegel.Step 1: Choose an idea for your story. A good one.Step 2: Decide on a setting. Don't be afra...

  15. How to Teach Story Elements in Kindergarten

    There are 5 story elements; characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution. When teaching kindergarten we have found it is better to use beginning, middle and ending of a story instead of plot. We also use problem and solution instead of conflict and resolution. Characters - people and/or animals in the book.

  16. Kindergarten: Writing Sample 3

    This student has an idea she wants to share with her pictures and a sentence. She is using a clear sentence to tell about her picture. She includes details in her picture to help tell her story. She begins the sentence with a capital letter and ends with a period. She uses a combination of upper and lower case letters.

  17. The Best Mentor Texts for How To Writing in Kindergarten

    Growing Vegetable Soup. This picture book will take readers through all the steps of making vegetable soup - from planting the seeds to cooking the soup! This would be another great mentor text for a shared writing experience. Learn the steps for making vegetable soup and then make it together in a crockpot!

  18. Kindergarten writing Writing

    Kindergarten writing standards include scary terms like "research" and "publish." But don't panic. Kindergarten is still the year children first learn about writing, which means learning to listen, speak in class, and write the ABCs. ... Writing a narrative is like writing a story. Your kindergartner will describe an event — or a ...

  19. Narrative Writing for Kindergarten and First Grade

    Planning a writing unit of work can be quite overwhelming, particularly as a beginning teacher. I'm here to help you create engaging, effective lesson plans and narrative writing units for your young writers. These tips will be most appropriate for Kindergarten students or Grade 1/2 students, but could also be adapted for older children too! I'll also share a range of quality mentor texts and ...

  20. 7 Strategies for Teaching Story Structure

    Break students up into small groups or pairs and have each student pick a card without revealing its element. One at a time, each student reads a passage from a story you've studied that illustrates the element while the other students try to identify what's on the card. 6. Plot the Story Structure Using a Graph.

  21. How to Write a Children's Book Families Will Love (+Template)

    1. Start with a simple, fun idea. The best picture books are simple stories that engage children, and show them a fun or valuable perspective. Think about Dr. Seuss's classic Green Eggs and Ham: the whole story premise is that the main character, Sam-I-Am, tries to convince his friend, a picky eater, to try green eggs and ham.It engages children with something relatable 一 being reluctant ...

  22. Kindergarten Writing: How-To Books Unit of Study

    Kindergarten Writing Curriculum Scope: There are a total of 7 units included in this c omprehensive writing curriculum: Unit 1: Personal Narrative: Sharing My Story. Unit 2: Non-Realistic Fiction: Using our Imagination. Unit 3: Writing to Teach and Inform: How-to Books. Unit 4: Poetry: Exploring Poetry. Unit 5: Realistic-Fiction: Writing ...

  23. Writing Lesson Plans for Kindergarten & First Grade

    The bundle is divided into 9 writing units to last you throughout the entire school year. Each writing unit consists of 20 writing lessons. Ideally, you would complete 1 unit per month. Obviously, months with limited school days may be different. Within each unit, you will find the scope and sequence for the unit. Here is an example of unit 1.

  24. Creating a Literacy-Rich Preschool Classroom

    Encourage them to "read" the label using the pictures and the words. 3. Add books to every learning center or interest area: Books don't have to be limited only to your classroom library. Adding a basket of topic-related books to each interest area helps children develop an understanding between print and its purpose.

  25. 35 Best Picture Books About Friendship

    Books about friendship make the best read alouds in both preschool and elementary school. These are the best children's books with excellent stories of kids making friends, cooperating, resolving conflicts, and being a good friend.. Use these picture books about friendship to show the children in your lives examples of the different areas of friendship.

  26. Helena schools have free screenings for 'KinderSprouts'

    "The program is designed to help 4-year-olds develop the skills they need for a successful start to kindergarten," said Kaitlyn Hess, Helena Public Schools data and assessment administrator.