How Beginning Writing Works - Mid-Pacific Institute

Kindergarten Hitomi

How Beginning Writing Works

Posted on September 3, 2017

by Ms. Hitomi on September 3, 2017

In the Writing handout and during Open House, we explained the writing process, topics of writing, and writing stages. One thing that we didn't share were the steps that the children go through before drawing/writing. Before jumping into the writing activity, the children get their box, take out a pencil, write their name, date, think about the topic, and then figure out how to best represent their words/ideas. Wow! That's a lot of steps before actually writing any letters/sounds/words.

Name and Date

We have to remember this may be the first time the children are writing their name and the date. Many are copying their name from their school supply box because it may be their first time writing their name with so many lowercase letters. They are also looking at the board to copy the date and figure out the formation of a letter.


Thinking about the topic and how best to represent it.


Sometimes the children can't recall what they did, so we will ask them questions to spark some ideas. What workspace were you in? What did you work with? What did you notice? After deciding what to write about, a student said, "I don't know how to draw a microscope." Take a look at the parts of the microscope and notice the different shapes. Instead of looking at the whole, he drew piece by piece. He also added the table, chair, and, of course, himself. He then shared his writing with his teacher, and she wrote the words for him. You might be wondering why we didn't encourage him to write down any sounds/letters. This child spent over 25 minutes on this activity and expressed how long and challenging it was to convey his ideas through drawing, and he did an amazing job with detail. Having to use letters at this stage of writing would not only have been frustrating, but would have also interfered with his immediate need, which was communicating his ideas in the most expedient way -- drawing!


I love how he drew the BIG Lego mess. This is exactly what the carpet looks like when the children are playing with Legos. There are hundreds of Legos everywhere.

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Not only did she draw hers and her friends at a table using the writing materials, but she also added the writing shelf with all the materials. Notice the containers of the drawing/writing tools and up above are the papers. Both children put details in their illustrations to make it more readable.

As the children become more comfortable, we will ask them to write down any sounds/letters/words they think they know. Most often, the children will say, "I don't know how to spell/write." Sometimes, I will point to their illustration and ask them, "What is that?"


After he said pool, I just asked him to write the sounds/letters he hears.

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This student was a little hesitant to write. I just asked him if he heard any sounds in ʻcarʻ and he said, "k." He then wrote it. I chose not to repeat the word or say the word slowly and elongate it, because I knew he wasn't quite ready. I thought what he accomplished was outstanding.

Below are a few examples of different stages of writing we see in kindergarten.

Writing familiar letters

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Random Letters


Beginning and Ending Sounds

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Rememer, this is only the beginning of Kindergarten and each child is at a different stage of making sense of writing. What is most important is that they are enjoying writing!

Just A Few Reminders

Friday, September 1 - Free Dress Day

Monday, September 4 - Labor Day Holiday (No School)

Saturday, September 10 - Elementary BBQ

Thursday, September 21 - Assembly and Free Dress Day