Kindergarten Writing: What Happens January to March?
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If you ask a kindergarten teacher what’s so special about January, they're likely to light up and even get a bit giddy. What’s going on that’s getting them so excited? It’s a well known phenomenon in the kindergarten world that once students come back from the winter break a metamorphosis of sorts occurs - and one of the areas that sees the biggest change is in kindergarteners' writing. That means that in January a student may very well write a sentence that doesn’t require a detective to figure it out, and this big leap makes kindergarten teachers very happy.
That also means you will see a big change in the writing instruction at this point. What can you expect from writing in the spring of your child's kindergarten year?
Drawing will still play a major role in your child’s writing time, and illustrations are a great springboard for telling a story. What does your child’s drawing have to do with his writing? A lot, actually. It’s not about how good of an artist your child is, but his or her attention to details. You may notice that your child is adding more elaborate details into her drawings, and drawing a picture of a person with details of glasses, clothing, or other accessories shows a new awareness. This attentiveness to visual detail will then transfer into their story telling attentiveness and abilities.
Sounding it out
"Sounding it out" or stretching it out is a writing strategy that will be front and center this trimester. By now your child should have a solid understanding of the alphabet and letter sounds, and he will be putting this knowledge to work in his writing. Students will be encouraged to use this technique to write words that they don’t know, by saying the word slowly and then writing down each sound they hear. Don’t worry if your child misses a sound or two in the middle - that’s still pretty normal at this stage of the game. But you can help by slowing down the word, and doing the stretching with them. Think of the word as a rubber band and say the word slowly as you pull the rubber band. Then, as you let the rubber band snap back, say the whole word at regular speed. Giving your child a visual, like a rubber band, as well as hearing the sounds or phonemes isolated is great reinforcement.
Now this is where teachers start getting picky about correct spelling. While the list might differ slightly from school to school, every kindergarten class will have a list of sight words that the students are learning to recognize on sight, specifically words that are used often and can’t be sounded out. Make sure you have a copy of the list at home and you hold your five-year-old accountable for knowing those words.
In reading, your child has been spending a significant amount of time learning word families. Word families are chunks of words that help students learn other words. At is a word family because it can help you make many more words such as hat, cat, sat, fat, mat, rat, just by adding a beginning sound. This reading strategy naturally spills over into their writing.
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