Writing can be one of the most intimidating components of the Kindergarten curriculum. I remember when I began teaching kindergarten, I stressed so much about teaching writing. This was mainly because I felt that we did not have a solid writing curriculum. So when I couldn’t find the resources my students needed to become successful writers, I began creating them. My writing journals have become one of my best sellers, and they have even been featured in the TPT Blog! In this post, I will share how to use writing journals in kindergarten so that you get your students writing every day!
Why You Should Use Kindergarten Writing Journals
First, let’s begin with why using kindergarten writing journals is important and effective. Here are 4 reasons why I am passionate about using the journals in my kindergarten classroom…
1. GET YOUR STUDENTS WRITING EVERY DAY.
I use these journals to make sure we write EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. In kindergarten, the day flies by and sometimes you just don’t get through everything you have planned. Thanks to having these no-prep journals printed and ready to go each month, I make sure to take time each day to fit in writing.
2. TRACK PROGRESS AND MEASURE WRITING GROWTH.
Writing journals are a wonderful way to track progress and show growth in your emerging writers. I send each journal home at the end of the month, and I encourage parents to save them. At the end of the year, I tell the parents to compare the September Journal with the May Journal. The transformation is truly amazing! This is one of the reasons why writing has become my favorite subject to teach. Seeing a student begin the year drawing pictures and end the year writing multiple sentences is truly the best feeling ever!
3. STUDENTS LEARN FROM REPETITION.
My students learn from daily repetition of watching me model the writing process. Using the writing checklist included on every page, I model how to begin with an uppercase letter, add finger spaces, sound out words, use ending punctuation, and add a detailed illustration. Of course, it will take time for your students to be able to do this on their own. I assure you they will though!
4. THE DIFFERENTIATON IS BUILT RIGHT IN!
Every year, I have a few parents who are concerned that their children may be bored because they are already reading. Here is where my writing journals will come to your rescue. I usually explain to the parents that even readers have things to work on – like writing. In my years of teaching kindergarten, I’ve had many kids enter reading BUT they are certainly not writing. So, I tell the parents that I will provide a challenge by giving their children a push in the area of writing. While other children may be using pictures or adding a few letters, you can differentiate instruction by encouraging your higher-level learners to try to complete the sentence prompt. The journals have helped me provide enrichment and calm the concerned parents without making extra work for me!
How to Use Kindergarten Writing Journals
Now that we’ve covered the why it’s important to use journals, let’s move on to how to actually use them…
You might be thinking, “How can I use writing journals at the beginning of the year? My kids are learning to write their names.” Trust me. I get it, but I will tell you that it is never to early to expose your kids to the writing process. At the beginning of the year and throughout the first quarter, we use the journals for “shared writing.” Basically, we complete the pages together. I do a lot of modeling and explicit instruction showing the children the mechanics of the writing process. I also teach my kids how to add details to their illustrations using at least five colors and adding body parts to people.
Please know that it is perfectly okay if your kiddos do not complete the sentence and only add an illustration to the page in the early stages. Keep in mind that the first step to writing is using pictures to tell a story. They will get there!
Trust the process. Model, write, repeat. Your kids will soak up everything you teach them. Each month, you will begin to see them make small improvements.
Usually by the second quarter, my above-level learners may be able to do the pages independently while I still provide support to the rest of the group. Most students are able to complete the daily page on their own around January. By the end of the year, students are able to write well beyond one sentence thanks to making journal writing part of our daily routine.
Overall, I hope this post has inspired you to try using kindergarten writing journals in your classroom. Let me know in the comments if you have used my journals. You can also try a FREEBIE when you sign up for my email list!