I taught Kindergarten for over 25 years. I KNOW what and how much Kindergartners are capable of writing in June of Kindergarten. I have seen it with my own eyes. But, something happens to these young, enthusiastic writers during the summer between Kindergarten and First Grade. That something is not a good thing…it is called regression! I have a new group of first graders and I have seen their writing samples from just 3 months ago when they were in Kindergarten! Wow, the quality was great for their age. They were using capital letters, spaces, inventive spelling and correct spelling of some sight words. Now these same writers are in first grade and when we talk about writing, they act as if they have never heard about it. What has happened is that they didn’t write every day during the summer and most of the writing skills that they acquired in Kindergarten are gone. I am back at the beginning of the process. What I have to do it build up the desire to write, get back that enthusiasm and work on stamina…I am talking about writing more than one sentence at a time. In June, some of these writers were writing 5, 6, 7 or more sentences. Parents, please listen! Writing is a skill, just as reading and math are skills, and it cannot be ignored for a day, let alone a weekend, or an entire summer. By writing I don’t mean, that you the parent writes and your child copies perfect letters and words. How are they learning from that? By writing, I mean, your child does the work:
- He/she thinks of a topic
- He/she sounds out and stretches out all of the sounds that he/she is developmentally able to hear at this moment
- He/she starts each sentence with a capital/upper case letter
- He/she places a period (.) or question mark (?) at the end of every sentence
Parents take a look at your child’s first grade writing and be realistic. Does it look worse than his/her Kindergarten writing? If it does it is time to start practicing that writing skill……now! so that he/she will get back that love of writing that will last a lifetime.