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1st Grade Writing

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.

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.

Writing Checklist

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!

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