Kid Writing at Home & in Classrooms

Kid Writing is a systematic, research-based approach to early literacy. It aims to engage children in strong and joyful work as they become writers and readers, integrating phonics instruction from the very beginning.

KidWriting has 4 basic steps:

  1. Draw your Story or Information. Children draw and discuss their thoughts to rehearse and build their ideas for writing. These ideas can come from their imagination, from a book they have been read, or from a question they are investigating about the world around them. See this short video for How to create a writing journal at home.
  2. Kid Writing with Stretching Through. Children write their story. When adults are available to support the child’s writing, they can help by stretching through the sounds of the words the child is trying to write. In classrooms, “Stretching Through with a Moving Target” is central to Kid Writing and builds phonics skills. The teacher helps children hear individual letter sounds in a word as they write. The teacher focuses on different sounds depending on the child’s needs and abilities.
  3. Adult Writing. The adult writes below the child’s writing (underwriting), modeling correct spelling, capital letters, and punctuation. The adult also provides feedback about what the child did well.
  4. Sharing Writing and Mini-lessons. Sharing writing and receiving feedback is a regular part of writing. In classrooms, several children share their stories with the class. They get feedback from the class in the form of questions about the story. Teachers use the mini-lesson to give each child two praises (things they did well) and a push (an area for improvement). The teacher can focus the pushes on areas multiple children need to learn about.

Kid Writing student and parent

Resources to Support Kid Writing at Home and in Classrooms

Some ideas for getting started with drawing and writing

  • Signs of Spring (trees, flowers, clothing, animals, weather)
  • My Best Friend
  • My Favorite Toy /My Favorite Game
  • An Interesting Zoo Animal (and Why)
  • How to Stay Safe
  • How I Keep Busy Everyday
  • Why My Brother (or Sister) is The Best
  • All About Snakes (or another interesting animal)
  • An Imaginary Adventure
  • All About My Pet Dog (or Cat)

Books for Young Children

These titles and many other books are available on YouTube. Here for example is Who’s In Rabbit’s House?

Read Aloud to Children

Aardema, Verna Who’s in Rabbit’s House?
Cooney, Barbara Miss Rumphius
Lionni, Leo Tico and the Golden Wings
De Paolo, Tomie Bill and Pete
Williams, Vera A Chair for My Mother
Sendak, Maurice Where the Wild Things Are
Wise, Margaret The Runaway Bunny
Mosel, Arlene Tikki Tikki Tembo
Doros, Arthur Papa and Me
Pfister, Marcus The Rainbow Fish
Rubin, Adam Dragons Love Tacos
Kroll, Steven Jungle Bullies
Zemach, Kaethe Ms. McCaw Learns to Draw

Read Alone by Children

Leo, Lionni – Little Blue and Little Yellow
Pinkney, Jerry – The Lion and the Mouse (wordless)
De Paolo, Tomie – Pancakes for Breakfast (wordless)
Goodwin-Sturgis, S. – Construction Kitties
Rylant, Cynthia – Puppy Mudge Finds a Friend
Rylant, Cynthia – Mr. Putter & Tabby Walk the Dog
Willems, Mo – Listen to My Trumpet
Shaw, Charles – It Looked Like Spilt Milk
Dr. Seuss – Green Eggs and Ham
Judge, Lita – Red Sled
Wiesner, David – Tuesday (wordless)
Scotton, Rob – I Scream for Ice Cream
Eastman, P.D. – Are You My Mother?
Martin Jr., Bill – Brown Bear, Brown Bear
Dorling Kindersley – Big Babies, Little Babies

Read for Phonics Practice

Slepian, Jan – The Hungry Thing
Rabe, Tish – My Oh My- A Butterfly
Rabe, Tish – There’s No Place Like Space
Worth, Bonnie – I Can Name 50 Trees Today
McClintock, Mike – A Fly Went BY

Additional Resources

Writing Activities

Making Words YouTube videos (Jack Hartmann)

The Lune – Simple poetry for young writers

English Learner Resources – Read in English or Your Home Language

KW circle of students

About Kid Writing

Kid Writing @ The National Writing Project

Kid Writing: A Tool for Learning includes classroom videos in kindergarten and first grade classrooms.

Kid Writing in the 21st Century: A Systematic Approach to Phonics, Spelling, and Writing Workshop ,a revised 2017 edition by Eileen Feldgus, Isabell Cardonick and Richard Gentry (Hammeray).

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