Practicing Choice and Voice in Kid Writing

“Hello, Writers!” is the greeting heard at the beginning of writing time in the kindergarten classroom. This year, kindergarten teachers and writers are using an approach called Kid Writing where girls are honored and supported on their individual journey as writers from day one. This is a joyful time of drawing, writing, and sharing based on each girl’s own interests.  
Kid Writing starts with drawing a story. A girl can choose what she wants to draw or use ideas based on what a teacher has modeled. Enthusiasm abounds as girls reach for crayons and colored pencils and talk to their writing group about what their story will be. Later, the children write words that match their drawn story. 

In using the term “kid writing,” the teachers honor that children do not write like adults. A mantra of Kid Writing is, “you can write it and I will help you.” With teacher or peer assistance, a girl will write the sounds she hears in a word or use a “magic line” to represent a word with unknown sounds. 

At the end of the writing time, a teacher will add “adult writing” to each story, praising the efforts of each individual and offering thoughts and suggestions for the next writing time. Throughout, the kindergarteners are completely engaged in their own story, are helping other girls stretch through the sounds they are seeking to write, or are eagerly sharing their writing. As these writers grow in independence, the process becomes their own.

Kid Writing honors all writing at every stage on a Kid Writing Wall of Fame.  Along with many examples of student work, one can see post-its with comments like, “Louisa’s word matches her story!” or “Sadie is great at stretching out sounds!” Other examples from the Wall of Fame include, “Juliet used a capital I!” and “Rosie found ‘birthday’ and ‘Larsen’ in our classroom!” Over time, the kindergarten girls will grow as independent writers and easily transition to the Lucy Calkins Writing Workshop model used in later grades.