How Preschoolers Can Utilize a Writing Center
Preschool Writing Activities
Once you have a writing center set up in your classroom there are many activities you can do to encourage emerging writers. It is important to remember the milestones children reach generally occur at a common age, but it is extremely uncommon to have a group of children working on the same skill level. For this reason it is imperative to offer different activities for the various skill levels in your classroom.
The ability to express yourself with the written language is a valuable tool that will serve your students forever. Support and encouragement across skill levels will make writing a pleasurable experience. I encourage you to try the following ideas for your preschool writing center.
At a very early age writing will consist mainly of unidentifiable marks on paper. This is an important step because it shows the child understands communication can be accomplished through writing. Eventually, as they learn letters and gain the appropriate fine motor control, they will begin copying the written word and asking how to spell.
A clipboard, paper, and pen are the only items necessary for a preschooler to copy words in a print-rich environment. This is a very simple activity that requires no planning but allows a teacher to regularly assess progress. To make this a structured activity turn it into a word scavenger hunt where students are given the words and have to find them in the classroom before they copy them.
Writing Center Activities
Create a Post Office: A fun writing center activity is to create a post office. This can be done in your writing center with the addition of mailboxes. Mailboxes can be made with shoeboxes or with smaller boxes such as milk cartons. Have stationary supplies on hand, including envelopes and stickers that can be used as stamps. Preschoolers can write each other and even receive letters from their teacher. Once students become adept at writing each other, have them write thank you notes to classroom visitors. This can be as simple as writing the words "Thank you" on chart paper, displaying it in the center, and having your students copy the words and decorate the card.
Create a Book: Another activity is to have students write their own book. Decide whether you want to give them a topic or let them choose what to write about. Provide paper, cardboard, art supplies, hole punches, ribbon or book rings. They can write and illustrate their book, design their book cover, and write the author bio on the back cover. Pull out a handmade book at circle time and let them read their story to their classmates. If you collect and copy all their small books and bind them together you have an excellent end-of-year gift for parents that showcases the progress their child has made.
Create a Wish-List: Holidays are terrific times to practice writing. Your preschoolers can write their wish list and write letters to Santa by cutting pictures from catalogs and writing or tracing the correct word beside the picture (provide the word for them to reference).
Create a Card: Have the children create a card by dictating what they want written. This demonstrates that they understand the written word is a tool for communication.
Remember that reading and writing go hand in hand. Books, magazines, and newspapers should have a important place in your classroom. Your students want to be like you so let them see you reading and writing...and enjoying it!