In the beginning, the focus is on an idea NOT the writing process. The ability to tell a story (become an author) begins with getting an idea on paper. Encourage your child to draw pictures and write sentences that explain the picture.
Children develop writing skills differently; as a result they will achieve these benchmarks at various times throughout the early years.
- Holds a Pencil Correctly,
- Forms Each Letter Properly,
- Spells sight words and previously studied words correctly, and
- Writes independently.
Writing in 1st Grade
As a child’s writing evolves, so do the expectations. As stated above, each child progresses differently. The following should be performed when writing.
- Write Name. Put your name on your paper suing both upper- and lower case letters.
- Proofread Writing. A good writer always proofs her work. A child should reread her work and self-monitor for meaning and structure.
- Writing Contains Spaces. Use your index (pointer) finger to create a space between words in a sentence. Make sure letters within a word are close together.
- Writing Includes Capitalization. A sentence begins with an uppercase letter. The rest of the letters should be lowercase unless they are the first letters of proper nouns.
- Writing Uses Punctuation. Mark the end of a sentence with an exclamation mark, period or question mark. Also, they should use punctuation to separate ideas.
Wrong: I like to go the park and play with my friends and play kickball.
Correct: I like to go to the park. I like to play with my friends. I like to play kickball.
- Spell Previously Studied Words Correctly. A child should spell both sight words and previously studied words correctly, e.g., cat, hat, the & and. Students should use phonics to spell unknown words. However, not all words will be spelled correctly; this would not be a realistic expectation. In fact, some sounds are developmental, e.g., sh, ch and th.
- Writing Contains Detailed Illustrations. A child should illustrate his writing using pictures that reflect his sentences and provide additional information. No stick figures!
- Writing Contains an Idea. A child should construct an idea using multiple sentences; explain a picture with more than one sentence.
- Write Legibly. A child should use her best handwriting.
- Check Writing Periodically. A child should check work before, during and after the writing process to check for the meaning and structure.
Prior to handing in a writing piece, a child should reread her writing and perform the following tasks:
- Abcd – 1st letter of a sentence is a capital letter and the remainder are lowercase letters.
- Spacing – make sure there is spacing between words.
- Punctuation – make sure every sentence ends with a “!”, “.” or “?”.
- Spelling – spell the sight words correctly.
- Proof – check for corrections and continue process until no errors.
Let your child self-monitor their writings using the above checklist. Parents should double check his work. Writing proficiently is a skill every child needs to master. Helpful hint: help a child break writers block – ask questions!