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Writing Activities to Use in Early Elementary

Teaching writing should start early. Even your kindergarten students can start forming sentences and stories to share with their classmates and families. Keep reading to learn more about my favorite writing activities for first graders and even our youngest learners!

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Picture Book Storytelling

I love using picture books to teach writing! First, give your students books vivid illustrations. Next, have them tell a story using the images. The best books have very few words {if any} so your students can use their imaginations.

Differentiate this activity by having your youngest writers list words to describe the pictures. Finally, first and second-grade writers can begin writing short sentences about the book.

A few fun books to use for this:

Good News, Bad News

Hug {but any of the books from this author would work!}

Playtime? {Your students will LOVE this silly bedtime book!}

Breathe {absolutely gorgeous illustrations that will help your students create sentences}

Draw and Describe

Drawing is a fantastic way to introduce descriptive writing! First, have your students draw a picture of something. Next, have them write a description of their drawing. It can be a person, a place, or something they have seen. As they draw, encourage them to talk about the details they see. Once they finish, they can write a short sentence or a few sentences about what they have drawn.

Reader’s Response

Read your students a short story or a chapter from a chapter book and have them write their own response. One way to try this is to have them write a question they have, one thing they’ve learned, and one personal connection they make to the story. Finally, have them share their responses with classmates to make connections. 

If you want to make it no prep for yourself, check out these Reading Response printables that can be used for fiction or non-fiction books!

Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers can also be a great way to get your students ready to write. Have them use a Venn diagram or an idea web to compare and contrast characters, to brainstorm ideas for a story, or to draw a conclusion and summarize a story. Of course, they may need some guidance to get started, but once they do, you’ll be amazed at how creative they can get! You can create templates for early elementary students for easy scaffolding.

Visualization and Writing

Of course, the best readers are the best writers! Give the student a prompt or story and have them draw an image that portrays it and then write a few sentences to describe it. Visualization is a prime reading strategy. Overall, readers that can illustrate what they “see” in a story show stronger comprehension.

Building Vocabulary with Sentences

Next, give your new writers a list of vocabulary words. Have them write short sentences in context. This often works best with familiar or review words. In addition, use this strategy for writing in different content areas such as science and social studies. 

Acrostic Poems

Another writing genre to introduce to young writers is poetry. Choose a word and have your students write an acrostic poem. This type of poem has a word written vertically down the page with lines of poetry beginning with each letter in the word. I’ve had my students write acrostic poems using their first and/or last names. Of course, the words of the poem can be adjectives that describe them or things they enjoy!

Heads up – it can be tricky for our youngest writers to write these poems. It’s an excellent activity to do with an older buddy class!

List Writing

Finally, lists are great for new writers. Challenge your students to make a list of 10 things, like 10 ways to be a good friend or 10 activities to play outside. Lists are direct and allow your students to practice writing without the pressure of forming a complex story. Start with these pre-made list templates!

Getting your young students to write is a great way to boost their confidence and set them on a path to success. Use these writing exercises to get your students started!

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