6 easy steps to help kid writers (even those who struggle) come up with interesting ideas, well-written sentences, and write stories confidently in K-2.
Ways to Support Struggling Kid Writers in K-2
If you want to build your students’ writing skills and support them as they grow into confident, independent writers, then you are in the right place!
Learning to be a good writer is important for life in the classroom and beyond. But, helping our students develop writing skills takes planning, energy, and commitment on our part. This occurs through quality instruction and plenty of practice opportunities. Helping kid writers to develop their skills is incredibly rewarding.
Today, I want to shed light on ways to help kid writers write things that are truly “wall-worthy”! There are simple, yet effective things you can incorporate in your classroom right now that will make a big difference.
1- Modeling Good Writing
As the teacher, you can help students master writing skills simply by showing them how to do it! Let them watch you, show them examples, and walk them through the process.
- Writing styles – It is important to cover a variety of writing styles that students may use. Teach poetry, creative stories, and personal descriptions in the younger grades.
- Writing conventions – As you model how to write in a certain style, point out to the students the correct use of punctuation, capital letters, spacing, etc.
- Display examples – Have examples of different types of writing formats around the room so students can refer to them.
2- Use Writing Centers
These are designated places in the classroom that are set up to facilitate writing times for your students. It may be a corner of the room, along a wall, or as a center.
Writing centers can incorporate any of the following components that challenge your students to strengthen their writing skills:
- Daily practice – Practicing writing daily with Writing Mats are helpful. Use sentence starters, word lists, and a writing checklist to scaffold young beginners.
- Writing posters – Display topics, vocabulary, or other helpful information on the wall for the students to reference while writing.
- Checklist – Provide a self-guiding checklist for students to make sure they have covered everything in their writing.
- Sentence starters – Be sure to include sentence starters that students can grab if they are stumped and need inspiration for writing.
- Writing prompts – Use fun prompts to encourage creative writing. Grab a free set below!
3- Incorporate Fun Writing Activities
You need to hook kids and get them excited for writing before they will “choose” this activity independently and feel capable. To do this, add some fun to your writing lessons and centers with appealing writing activities.
Below are engaging writing activities that kids will enjoy!
- Focused writing – Practice using vocabulary, graphic organizers, instructions, lesson suggestions, and templates. Try writing activities that are seasonally themed for even more engagement!
- Brainstorming – This is a helpful activity to do as a class in preparation for students doing it independently. Create an anchor chart with writing ideas to use later!
- List writing – Have students write down a list of ideas gathered from their brainstorming time to write about. They can keep this list and continue to add to it. It can be helpful to have when a child needs some help getting started writing.
- Books – Use children’s books that will prompt kids’ creative writing.
- Use sentence starters – Giving kids a way to start their writing will help them tremendously. Think simple prompts, like “I like…” and “I went…” that will encourage them to write about a topic and get started quickly. Try adding these tear-off strip sentence starters to your center!
- Write and publish a book – Kids love being the creators and authors of their own stories. After writing and revising a story, have kids “publish” their own books. Then, laminate and bind the pages together to create something durable and memorable!
- Write letters to a pen pal – Find another class to correspond with and pair students up with a pen pal in another place. Kids will enjoy getting to know someone else far away!
- Create a comic – There is no denying kids love to read comic books, and there’s no doubt they will also love creating their own. Encourage them to create their own comic based on a favorite character or animal for added fun!
4- Include Engaging, High-Interest Topics
Help kid writers become interested and invested in their writing by exploring engaging topics. Kids will be more likely to write about something they are interested in!
- Heart maps – In each section, the student writes and draws something they love. People in our family, friends, pets, hobbies, and favorite things help fill our heart maps. Then, when they need a writing topic, they can refer to the heart to write about something they love!
- Special places – Connect writing to a place that is special for that child. Have kids draw and write about a place that is important to them and share with their classmates.
- Holidays and seasons – Kids love writing about holidays and seasons. This helps them build their vocabulary, use their senses, and practice the writing process.
- Poetry – Kids will enjoy trying out different styles of poetry, such as this colorful and fun way to write a shape poem.
5- Provide Picture and Word Support
One strategy that can be very helpful for students is using pictures in the writing process. This is especially true for students who are weaker in reading skills.
Here are some ideas for using this strategy.
- Picture/word lists – Provide struggling students with a list of pictures and words that can help their writing. Writing Mats provide this support!
- Use pictures as prompts – Pictures of people, landscapes, situations, etc., can be powerful prompts for writing. Present one to the class and brainstorm about what is happening in the picture before writing.
- Vocabulary visuals – Hang up posters or visuals for kids to refer to. These posters include pictures and words to help students expand their vocabulary as they write.
- Picture topic cards – Place pictures of objects, animals, or people on popsicle sticks. Let students draw one out to serve as a writing prompt.
6- Teach Writing Conventions
Teach the general writing conventions appropriate for your grade level one at a time and practice using them correctly. For primary grades, that includes correct capitals, punctuation, and spaces, printing neatly, stretching out words and rereading.
- Conventions checklist – Post a writing conventions checklist in the room or your writing center.
- Practice – Give students plenty of practice with the technical side of writing. Writing mats provide just such practice.
Writing Prompts for Your Writing Center
To help you support your kid writers, grab a FREE sample of Writing Prompt Mats and 50+ writing prompts.
Get kids excited about writing with engaging prompts!Writing Mats support emerging writers with a picture-word list, fun topic, and conventions checklist. Try a FREE sample today!
You can also grab a FREE set of 50+ writing prompts that would go perfectly in your writing area to add some fun topics and choices!
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Check out the all-in-one writing center resource that has all that you need to create an effective and meaningful writing area in your classroom.
We all want to help kid writers strengthen their skills to have better success in the classroom. Writing doesn’t have to be boring. Hopefully, these ideas and tips will inspire you to beef up your writing instruction and help kids produce “wall-worthy” writings!
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