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Writing: Improve

Preschoolers

Reflecting on and improving your skills and knowledge to help children write for a variety of purposes using increasingly sophisticated marks is important work. Here are some ideas you can try with your coach or supervisor to build your teaching practices in this area:

Planning Goals and Action Steps

  • Work with your coach or supervisor to identify the teaching practices you want to build and strengthen. Here are some practices that help preschoolers write for a variety of purposes using increasingly sophisticated marks.1
    • Provide a variety of tools to write with, such as crayons, markers, pencils, chalk, and paintbrushes.
    • Offer a variety of materials and surfaces on which to write, inside and outside.
    • Embed writing in everyday routines (e.g., writing the first letter of children’s names on a whiteboard to indicate they may go to the next learning experience).
    • Respond sensitively to children’s emergent writing, focusing on the meaning they are trying to convey rather than the form of their writing.
    • Respond to children’s questions and requests for help in forming letters or words.
    • Scaffold children’s attempts to write letters and words by providing verbal, visual, or physical (e.g., hand-over-hand) cues as needed.
    • Model writing for a purpose by creating letters, notes, or signs while working collaboratively in a whole-group setting.
    • Encourage children to talk about their pictures or compose captions for group photos and write down what they say.
  • These practices may also be used to support dual language learners (DLLs) in continuing to develop their home language and to acquire English. For more information, see:
  • In home-based programs, consider identifying and including broader relationship-building practices such as those described in Building Partnerships: Guide to Developing Relationships with Families.
  • Create an action plan with timelines to help you use the practices consistently and effectively.

Focused Observation

  • Revisit the teaching practice that you outlined in your planning goals and action steps with your coach/supervisor. Together, plan for and schedule an observation where they can focus on how you implement the practices you’ve identified.
    • For example, if you chose to focus on the practice, Embed writing in everyday routines, you might ask your coach/supervisor to observe your practice during transitions and other routines and provide suggestions for where you might include writing opportunities for children in your classroom. Once you’ve introduced some opportunities, invite your coach/supervisor back to watch how you facilitate these activities to expand children’s use of writing during the day.
  • In home-based programs, observations may focus on how the home visitor engages with parents to identify, adapt, and use the identified teaching and relationship-building practices. They may also focus on how you model the practices.

Reflection and Feedback

  • What went well? What did you do? How did the child/children react or respond?
    • In home-based settings, how did the parents react or respond? How did their reaction support the relationship with their child? Their child’s ability to write for a variety of purposes using increasingly sophisticated marks?
  • Cite specific evidence from the observation.
  • What seemed challenging? What did you do? How did the child/children react or respond?
    • In home-based settings, how did the parents react or respond? Their child?
  • Cite specific evidence from the observation.
  • Did your coach/supervisor offer feedback from the observation that was surprising? What supports do you need from her to refine and strengthen the practice? What else would help you strengthen the practice?
  • What would you do differently if you were to use this practice again?
  • What do you hope the child/children/parents will gain by using this practice? How will you know?

1California Department of Education, California Preschool Curriculum Framework Volume 1 (Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education, 2010), 162–164, Writing, http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/documents/psframeworkkvol1.pdf [PDF, 8.8MB].

Topic:School Readiness

Resource Type: Article

Last Updated: June 3, 2018