Entries Tagged 'WriteShop Primary' ↓

Introducing writing through narration

Young children in grades K-2 are usually considered “pre-writers”—just learning to write letters, words, and groups of words. Their writing experience should be fun! After all, isn’t our goal is to help our primary-age children build confidence as they gain the ability to write?

Daily Guided Writing 

Because children learn best by example, take time to model good writing techniques to your child. Let her narrate her words to you through a daily time of guided writing. This gives her that predictable, shared writing experience that’s so important to her development.

For beginning readers, the predictable patterns and easy sight words build confidence. For more confident readers, narration gives daily practice in reading and writing harder words and sentences.

Most importantly, this time of guided writing gives kids the freedom to put together ideas and create word patterns without the limitations and fear of having to write them down. So even if your child already knows how to write simple sentences, you can often get more from him if he is allowed to dictate his words to you rather than write on his own.

How to Elicit Narration from Young Children

Together, you and your child can write several short sentences about simple, familiar topics such as animals, friends, the weather, or upcoming events. Sounds easy, right? But if you ask your son to tell you all about friends, for example, he’ll probably say, “I don’t know.” It’s an awfully broad topic, after all, and his little mind may be all a-jumble. Most kids need direction, but some will need more help than others to formulate their thoughts into simple words.

So how do you get your child to dictate to you? It’s all about asking questions! For the youngest or most reluctant kids, begin by writing three to five predictable sentence starters, such as:

    A friend is
    Friends like to
    Friends are special because

Next, discuss various options for ideas on how to complete each of the three sentences. Ask questions to lead and prompt your little one and to keep the dialog on track. Here’s one idea:

    You:  Let’s think of some words that tell us about friends. I’ll go first. A friend is funny. Now it’s your turn.
    Child: A friend is happy.
    You:  A friend is important.
    Child: A friend is kind.
    You:  These are all great. Which one should we choose for today?
    Child: A friend is kind.
    You:  Let’s write that. A friend is kind. Here’s the marker. Can you help me write the word kind?
    You:  What do friends like to do together?
    Child: Play games.
    You:  Let’s use complete thoughts. Friends like to play games together. Say that. “Friends like to play games together.”
    Child: Friends like to play games together.
    You:  Great. Let’s write it down. Friends like to play games together. Can you help me with the marker?
    You:  Tell me—why are friends special?
    Child: Because they share their toys?
    You:  Yes, that’s a very important reason. Can you finish this sentence to make a complete thought? Friends are special because ____.
    Child: Friends are special because they share their toys.
    You:  Good job. Now let’s write that down. Friends are special because they share their toys.

When you’re done, you might end up with something like this:

    A friend is kind.
    Friends like to play games together.
    Friends are special because they share their toys.

Not only have you modeled thinking skills to your child (by asking questions like who, what, and why), but you’ve also demonstrated simple techniques of beginning with a capital letter, ending with a period, and using a complete thought. See how a simple five-minute dialog can go a long way in teaching basic writing skills?

Copyright © 2008 Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

. . . . .

WriteShop Primary Book AThis dialog comes from Lesson 4 of WriteShop Primary Book A. WriteShop Primary is filled with dialog examples to help you prompt your child during daily guided writing times. Book A is now available in our store. Book B should be released later this year.

Writing with young children

IT’S NEVER too early to introduce your young children to the joy of writing.

Even during the early elementary years (K-3), there’s so much you can do to model and encourage pre-writing and writing skills, such as reading aloud from quality picture books or asking your child to tell you about a picture he drew while you write down his words.

Early Writing Skills

Bear in mind that children develop at different rates. Fine-motor skills, like other stages of development, vary from child to child. Some budding writers, especially boys, will struggle with writing on a line, copying and forming letters, and putting their words and thoughts on paper. These skills and more come with time and patience.

The development of a young child’s writing is best achieved through:

  • Plenty of time spent on writing activities.
  • Many opportunities to write during the school day.
  • Focused instruction that builds from your child’s efforts.

Your Child Needs YOU

Clearly, young children cannot learn to write on their own. Even if you create an atmosphere rich with educational materials—picture books, lined paper, colored markers, crayons, and an alphabet chart—it’s not enough. To effectively develop basic writing skills, your child needs YOU—along with your example, encouragement, and daily guidance.

This season in your child’s educational development is an opportune time to teach and model writing within a warm, safe environment. As you teach your primary-aged child to write, you’ll find that repetition, routine, and consistency play a vital role in teaching basic skills. There’s no way around it—your involvement with your child during writing sessions is key to his success!

Consider WriteShop Primary

If your child is in kindergarten, first, or second grade and you need some help guiding her writing along, consider WriteShop Primary WriteShop Primary Book ABook A. It encourages and reinforces this special parent-child partnership young learners depend on.

The beauty of WriteShop Primary is its adaptablity to meet your needs. If your child is older, yet behind in her writing, you can utilize many components of the program but not use the activities that have a “younger” feel. You can challenge your older child to write more each step of the way, according to her ability, especially taking advantage of the “Flying Higher” suggestions and optional activities at the end of each lesson.

And for beginning students, WriteShop Primary can be used as more of a “pre-writing” launch pad. You can use the discussion starters and activites to introduce your very young child to the wonderful and exciting world of writing. Your younger children will delight in the crafts and illustrations, and you can prompt them to tell you the stories and writing projects that you then write down for them until they are ready to start writing letters and words (and eventually sentences) on their own.

Order Book A

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

FREE gift with WriteShop Primary pre-order

Through July 20, we’re including a WriteShop Primary Activity Set Worksheet PackActivity Set Worksheet Pack ($4.95 value) for FREE to everyone who pre-orders WriteShop Primary Book A!

There’s one 2-sided worksheet for every lesson in Book A, along with evaluation charts to help you track your child’s progress.

The copyright give permission to reproduce worksheets and charts for single-family use, or you may purchase extra workpacks for additional children.

Book A is nearing its ship date!

WriteShop Primary is the delightful new program for children in K-3 grades. Book A, the first in the series, targets kindergarten and first-grade students, but you can also use it with second graders who have limited or no writing experience. Books will begin shipping very soon!

See a sample lesson

Our website is now filled with all sorts of information about WriteShop Primary. Begin at the WriteShop Primary Home Page and visit the other links from there. You can find:

Pre-order here

Hurry over to the store to pre-order your new book. You’ll love this gentle, effective method for introducing writing skills to your little ones! Books will ship in mid-July.

A real proof copy. Really!


I’m beginning to think someone has let a gremlin loose between the pages of WriteShop Primary.

Maybe that cute little tiger has secretly gone undercover to wreak havoc moving bullet points and misspelling words.

In the last week alone, David has sent me four—yes, four—“this-really-is-the-final” versions of Book A. And every time I think I’ve found all the bugs, I spot something else.

  • A title that didn’t get underlined.
  • An activity that needs to be italicized.
  • Yet ANOTHER misspelled word.
  • An index reference that takes you to…um…the index.
  • A schedule chart that’s missing half the activities.
  • Text that’s “leaking” out of its text box.

Mind you, this is after five pairs of eyes have scoured the pages of this book. I laugh as I email David, that patient saint, for the zillionth time: “How DO we keep missing this stuff?”

It just never ends! :) But we knew that at some point we would simply have to say: No more. Done. Finished. 

So yesterday we closed Book A, sent the PDF file off to the printer, and ordered three proofs. My copy sits before me now, ready for the last sweep of the red pen. Ready for the final list of tweaks.

Yep, yesterday was huge for us. And today I can announce with great excitement that I now have a real proof copy of WriteShop Primary Book A in my hands. Really!

Pinch me. We’re almost there!

Update: WriteShop Primary Book A

Interest in WriteShop Primary continues to mount!

WriteShop Primary Book A
At last weekend’s FPEA conference in Orlando, nearly 100 people signed up to receive e-mail notification of WriteShop Primary’s release dates! We’re excited to bring out a product that will meet many of your needs for a gentle early-elementary writing curriculum.

WriteShop Primary Book A’s release is getting closer, so let me catch you up a bit!

  • We’re now calling Book A a K/1-level book, but it’s really ideal for pre- or beginning writers in kindergarten, first, or second grades.
  • We feel quite official now that we have ISBN numbers for our books!
  • After introducing our prototype at several conventions, we’ve made a few simple changes, including a font change to improve readability.
  • The Activity Set Worksheet Pack for Book A is finished. There’s a worksheet to support and reinforce skills taught in each lesson. Here’s a little peek at the worksheet for Lesson 8. Continue reading →

WriteShop Primary Book C – take a peek!

Just thought you might like to take a peek at our WriteShop Primary Book C cover. Isn’t it just adorable? Makes me want to pinch that chubby, huggable little panther!

And if you love the cover, you’ll be even more in love with the contents.  Here is the scope and sequence for the ten lessons of Book C:

  1. Planning the Story
  2. Writing a Mystery
  3. Self-Editing
  4. Journal Writing
  5. Descriptive Writing: Describe a Thing
  6. Descriptive Writing: Describe a Person
  7. Descriptive Writing: Describe a Place
  8. Writing a Book Report
  9. Writing a Simple Report (no research needed)
  10. Writing a Simple Research Report

In addition, you and your child will enjoy some delightful picture books together, create fun-filled writing projects, and learn more about the writing process in WriteShop Primary’s gentle, step-by-step manner. More details to come, so keep checking back with us! 

Book C, for grades 2-3, will be available sometime this summer, but definitely in time for the start of school in the fall. Would you like to be notified when WriteShop Primary comes available? Just drop us an email!

Willy Worm Word Wall

If the Gathering of Adjectives game seems too advanced for your K-2nd graders, you may enjoy using this simplified adjective-building activity with them from WriteShop Primary Book C.

Willy Worm Word Wall  


Make a Willy Worm Word Wall

First, cut out about a dozen 3-inch circles from construction paper to make a Willy Worm Word Wall. Tape the circles together in a row to form a worm. Mount the worm on a wall or place it on a countertop. Draw a smiley face on the first circle to represent the worm’s face. On the first three blank circles, write various describing words (adjectives), one word per circle. Use words such as small, fast, yellow, soft, or bumpy. Continue reading →

We’ve got mail!

I’ve been storing a mountain of emails in one of my Outlook folders—comments and testimonials from happy WriteShop users. Our brochures and website only have so much room for snippets like these, so I thought I’d give a voice to these dear moms and co-op teachers who took the time to brighten our day. Hope they encourage you, too!


“I am reallllly mad at you! These StoryBuilders have proven to be tooooo fun and my kids don’t wanna do anything else. Looks like math and science will be flying out the window today as we have already spent the morning writing from the cards and they are still at it!” —Wendy

Co-op Testimonials

“I used the WriteShop 1 curriculum with a co-op group last fall and it was fabulous. Thank you for all the work you all have put into it.” —Anita

“We had a fabulous year in our co-op! It is so rewarding to teach writing and witness the drastic improvement in their skills. Many moms told me writing had become their child’s favorite subject, and they had always hated writing. I know I could not have had the success I did without this great program.” —Debbie 

WriteShop I & II

“Thanks so much for all your hard work!  I just LOVE working with this program, and believe that it has really taught my children to write well. I’m using it this year already with my son and he is doing extremely well for a student who could barely write a sentence by himself last year! The other thing that I like about the program is the marking scheme. It really helps to have such an objective checklist for marking the student’s writing.” —Cindy

My son and I have really enjoyed using this writing program so much more than others. He is in 10th so we will be moving on to WriteShop II as soon as we receive it. His writing has improved tremendously since we started. —Holli

Thanks so much Kim. Our youngest son is 16 now, and in a Christian/missionary kid school, but we’re homeschooling while we’re in the States—and WriteShop was my favorite writing program in our 8 years of homeschooling in the past! —Mary

“I can not believe how quickly my kids’ writing has improved using your curriculum for just a month and a half! After three years of searching, we have finally found a writing curriculum that we all enjoy doing. No more tears!”—Sherri

“You did a great job with WriteShop. I have taught in the public schools and am now home with my teenage kids and have never seen a better writing program. Thanks!” —Laura

“I want to thank you for developing such a teacher and student-friendly program. This is the first program I have found in nine years of home school that is incremental enough to take the teacher by the hand and tell her what to do day by day. Plus I much prefer your Composition Evaluation forms over other grading rubrics with squares, which left me with questions as to how to add up the grade. Your form explains exactly what value to assign every item that is graded.” —Linda

“My son is 13 and we just started using Write Shop and I am very pleased with it. One of the homeschool moms in my group referred it to a friend of mine,  and she referred me to it. They both think very highly of the curriculum and we are all highly recommending it to other moms in our group. Thank you so much for writing this valuable, much needed and fantastic curriculum!!” —Susan

WriteShop I and II taught my son a plethora of composition skills and, also, provided me with an effective method to hold him accountable to use what he learned. By (both of us) following this well-designed curriculum, he gained the tools to write confidently and effectively! We are pleased with the results!” —Lorna

WriteShop Primary – Beta EditionWriteShop Primary

“It’s very exciting about this whole WriteShop Primary program!! You all have a great product. I love, LOVE your editing and revising section in Lesson 3 (Book C), and I drew big hearts around #1 to remember to tell you I think this is great!” —Wendy (test mom)

“I am impressed with the thought and planning that has gone into WriteShop Primary . . . there doesn’t seem to be a detail missed! Jack & I are enjoying being part of testing the program.” —Candy (test mom)

“We really enjoy this program and I am definitely seeing growth in my two students. We are thrilled that we have had the chance to test out WriteShop Primary.” —Jennifer (test mom)


To learn more about WriteShop I or II, please visit our website at writeshop.com. WriteShop Primary is now available. Learn more here.

Timed-release curriculum?

You’ve heard of timed-release cold capsules, motion-sickness patches, and fertilizers. But timed-release curriculum?

In a sense, that’s what these past couple of months have been about—a slow-release introduction to our up-and-coming WriteShop Primary series for grades K-3. Today, let’s “release” just a bit more about this exciting new program!  Continue reading →

An interview with David Borrink

David Borrink is the owner of Arts & Letters, Inc, a small company that specializes in graphic design and editing services.  We’ve just loved working with him on WriteShop Primary and watching the project unfold under his designer’s eye.

You and I are so used to zipping down to the store (any store) and buying just about anything ready-made, from food products to clothing to books, yet we rarely think about how those items got there! So I thought it might be fun for you to become a fly on David’s wall and learn how a book actually comes into being. Continue reading →

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