What kindergarten writing looks like - a year of student samples

Kindergarten writing starts off as letters and moves towards full simple 5 sentence paragraphs at the end of they year. Here is one child's progression on kindergarten writing throughout the year, a glimpse into the kindergarten writing standards, and resources for teaching writing to kindergarten.
A glipse into kindergarten writing as it changes throughout the year, brief kindergarten writing standards overview and resources for teaching kindergarten writing.

My daughter is 5 years old.  As a former kindergarten teacher, the writing at this stage is my absolute favorite.  I find great joy in "seeing" progress through writing and I have tried to take pictures of her writing samples to create an online portfolio of her work, meaning, a post here on the blog that I can look back at and see how far her writing has come.  Although my daughter struggles with some vision and fine motor issues, her desire to write and creative imagination help her to be a successful writer.  She is an average kindergartner with an amazing passion and zest for life.  Since she was 3, she has spent almost every day of her life writing something; a letter to Grandma, a grocery list, recipes for food and more recently, stories.

Kindergarten Writing Sample
I am Snow White.  I am raccoon.  I am deer.

Resources for Teaching Kindergarten Writing:



Writing Standards of a Kindergarten Student

Here is a sampling of her writing for parents who may be interested in knowing what a kindergartner can and should write like.  Our current standards require kindergartners to
  • Draft writing by drawing, telling, or writing about a familiar experience, topic or text; that is appropriate to the topic, audience, and purpose.
  • Edit for correct use of end punctuation, including periods, question marks, and exclamation points.
  • Edit for correct use of knowledge of letter/sound relationships to spell simple words.
  • Produce, illustrate and share a finished piece of writing.
Their end of the year portfolio states that they must write a paragraph about a given subject with a topic sentence and three supporting sentences.  Gone are the early stages of writing continuum's that I was taught to use with early writers.  Kindergartners now have higher expectations in writing.  Although I feel that not all children may be developmentally ready for these tasks, I would like to believe that with strong parent support, our children can meet (or come close to meeting) these expectations.  Can my daughter meet and exceed all these new standards and assessments - I hope so, but realistically, I know that she is not currently quite at the stage of writing that these standards require.  Although her thoughts and ideas are expressed with creativity, she writes with energy and uniqueness, and she uses "lively" word choices, her conventions and spelling need some more attention!

Writing Samples of a Kindergarten Student

We use mostly primary writing paper that has a space for drawing pictures too.  Look for the following terms when purchasing writing paper for kindergarten students: (Click the words to view the product in Amazon)

Kindergarten Writing Sample
 Hot chocolate is hot.  Salad is green.  But my favorite thing is ...

Kindergarten Writing Sample
Ravioli, ravioli and soup, soup, vanilla, water, milk, juice

Kindergarten Writing Sample
Christmas was great.  I liked what Nicholas gave me.  It was a dog.

Kindergarten Writing Sample

The book is Hannah and the Seven Dresses.  She does not know what dress to wear.  The fourth dress has ruffles.  She put black pants on her birthday.

Kindergarten Writing Sample
I do not like to get a shot. It hurts a lot. Oweee.

This is the first time that we start to see speech bubbles.  In my kindergarten classroom, I would encourage reluctant readers to use speech bubbles.  Many kids find them interesting and motivation to write in.  She is using longer sentences in her writing now - 8 words in this one - with no adult prompting.  She is capitalizing and spacing on her own!  You can't see it, but after the Owee is an exclamation point!

Kindergarten Writing Sample
This bee is a special bee.  It pollinates roses.  It has wings like a butterfly.

We try to change up our writing so it does not get boring.  Writing can and should be fun and interesting.  After a visit to an art festival where we talked with a local artist, I did a directed draw activity with her to make the bee and she wrote her sentences afterwards.  I really need to explore mediums other than markers, crayons, and colored pencils when creating a picture or illustration for our writing.  Research has shown using art before writing, especially with water colors help improve creative writing, as the colors flow and change, creating new thoughts and writing directions.  It is something for me to work on doing more!

Kindergarten Writing Sample
Once upon a time, there was an old woman.  Her name was Emilesa.  She was poor.  (My Thing)

We have found that as the year of kindergarten progresses, the teacher asked for more specific writing tasks such as book summaries or using 3 specific words of the week.  The more specifications included, the less my little one wants to write and the more she craves creative writing.  This was a little story that she wrote a few days ago after writing a book summary for her school homework, a letter to her Grandma, and 2 other stories.  She sat for hours (her choice) just writing.  Those are the days when I am so very thankful that we do not have a television!

Kindergarten Writing Sample

So what are your thoughts on Kindergarten writing?

Are you a teacher?  
  • Are the expectations in your school and ours just about right?
  • Do you think we are on the right track?
  • How can parents better support their children's writing development?
Are you a parent? 
  • Are you kids enjoying writing? 
  • Do you think they are getting enough "time" writing?
  • How can you help to facilitate an improvement the quality and quantity in their writing?


FirstGradeBlueSkies (Jennifer) said...

Great writing progress!
First Grade Blue SKies

Amanda said...

Thanks Jennifer! As a first grade teacher - any advice you would give to parents for improving writing? And what would you LOVE your kids coming into first grade writing like??? We are hoping to keep writing a ton this summer!!! I am going to print your sound words freebie (http://firstgradeblueskies.blogspot.com/2012/04/sound-word-freebie.html) and do it with my daughter this week (with a Froggy Book) and then write our own version of a story with a different character!

Lori said...

Enjoyed seeing the progression of your daughter's writing! They grow leaps and bounds at this age. Makes it so fun to go back and look at how far they have come in a short time. :)
Conversations in Literacy

Allison said...

I love the idea of using speech bubbles-thank you! My son will be starting kindy in the fall, and I will be homeschooling him. I love this idea.

Amanda said...

They do develop so fast at this age! I am glad that I am trying to record some of her writing digitally. There are a few pages of writing here and there that have made it to her baby book! It is fun to go back and look and to talk to her about her writing developments!

Amanda said...

They are fun to use =) Please let me know if you ever need another educator to bounce ideas off of. That is why we are here!!!

pink and green mama MaryLea said...

This is a great example of the writing process! Thanks for sharing it with me : )

Pink and Green Mama

Raising a Happy Child said...

I loved that you captured her writing progress in an online portfolio. Now I wish I did the same. My daughter was an extremely reluctant writer before starting kindergarten and really blossomed this year. Her spelling improved quite a bit, but neatness leaves a lot to be desired. Did you create your own template for story writing or did you borrow it from somewhere online?

Amanda said...

Your daughter is such a creative writer - I bet it would be awesome to look back and see how she has progressed. The journal I used is the Starfall blank writing journal, just because it is so reasonable priced. I made sure to date all her writing and took pictures of 2-3 each month. I figured it would take up less space than saving all of her writing! http://order.starfall.org/k/shop2/index.html

Amanda said...

Thank you! Kindergarten is such a fun year for writing and reading progress. I wish I would have saved more samples from my years of teaching over the years as each kid has such a unique style! I look forward to seeing your little one progress in her writing (although seeing those lists and first "writings" dissapear leaves me a little sad, it means they are growing up!

Andrea @ No Doubt Learning said...

This is a great visual of progress! Thanks for the inspiration!
PS. Love the sound affects in the shot paper :)

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