How to design writing lessons for kindergarteners

Sequencing information is a kindergarten skill. Students are shown three or four drawings—of how to build a snowman, for example—and they are asked to organize the drawings in the correct order.

This learning can be extended into a writing lesson by asking students to write about the events so that they tell a story. Below is a tiny story based on three drawings. It was written by a pre-K student.

KindergartenWritingLesson02
When I teach writing to pre-K or kindergarten students, I start by offering the students three drawings which they put in order. Over time, they move from three to four, six or eight drawing sequences. At first students tell only what they see, but later I ask them to weave people into their writing. The story below came from the same student as above, but after half a year of writing. Now in kindergarten, this student used six drawings of a jack-o-lantern in the process of being cut to create this story.

KindergartenWritingLesson01
As students gain experience, the number of drawings and written words will increase. So will the amount of time spent writing. Since new writers fatigue easily, it is better to start small, let the student succeed, and then incrementally increase the demands.

Where can you find good pictures to sequence?

  • Search online using key words like “drawings” “sequence” and “children.” Many websites offer such pictures. You can copy and paste, print the results, and cut out tiny wordless stories for your child to sequence.
  • Some four-panel comics are perfect for this kind of work. I found a “Peanuts” cartoon book from which I took several wordless stories.
  • Pictureless books are another good source.
  • Drawings lessons are good too. Online, you can find many websites showing how to draw a turkey or Santa. Copy and paste, print the results, and cut out the drawings. I tape them to index cards for my students to put in the right order before they write.

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