Basic Writing Lesson Plans and Activities

Once your child has mastered writing her name and copying words on her own, it's time to start incorporating sentence-writing into the repertoire. As with most new skills, the key is to help your child practice as often as possible. Below are some simple lessons with activities that you can use to help your child practice and improve her writing abilities.

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Spelling and Dictation: Writing a Shopping List

Next time you need to go to the grocery store, let your child help you get ready by preparing the shopping list together. Give him a few colored pencils or crayons and a piece of paper to write things down. Start enumerating the items you need and ask him to write them down along with the number you need. If you come across a word he doesn't know how to write, spell it out, correcting gently if necessary.

You can add another dimension to the activity by asking him to use different colors for different categories (e.g., red for fruits, green for veggies). Additional variations include a packing list for a trip or gift list for Christmas.

Writing Sentences at Home

To illustrate the different parts of a sentence, help your child 'build' sentences with color-coded word 'blocks.' You'll need some lined paper, 10-15 index cards and pencils or markers in four colors. Ask your child to pick a color and write 'the' on a card.

Instruct her to pick a different color and write 'is' and 'are' on separate cards. Then have her choose a third color to prepare 5-6 noun cards using items she sees around the house (couch, dog, flowers, mom, chairs, etc.), and a fourth color for adjective cards (big, small, new, old, pretty, etc.). If she has trouble with any words, spell it out; this exercise also makes it a good review of the ABCs.

Place the flash cards in four ordered stacks (article, nouns, verbs and adjectives). Have your child pick one card from each pile, organize the sentence, read it aloud and copy it on the paper. Help her explore how many different true sentences she can form. Read them all together in the end.

Basic Story Writing

Give your child 5-6 sheets of paper and a box of crayons or colored pencils. Ask him to pick his favorite book or movie and use the top half of the page to draw either some of the scenes he likes the most or a prediction of what happens after the end of the story.

When he has finished his drawings, sit together and talk about each. As you go through each drawing, ask your child the following questions and write his answers under each panel:

  • Who is in the drawing?
  • What is she or he doing?
  • Why?

Once you've gone through all of pictures, ask your child to read the sentences aloud as he would a story.

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