1st grade writing
by: Jessica Kelmon | Updated: November 15, 2022
If you were amazed at how your child’s scribbles transformed into words last year, get ready for pure delight as your first grader learns to write full, meaningful paragraphs this year! First graders learn everything from expressing their thoughts to the rules of grammar.
While the bar may seem high for first graders, remember that this year’s work is a progression, starting with mastery of the alphabet.
A to Z — and all the sounds in between
Teachers often kick off the year with an ABCs review, just like in kindergarten. But this year’s review is also likely to include a couple dozen high-frequency words (e.g. he, and, good, play ).
If your child didn’t master the alphabet last year, it’s okay. First grade is the year to read the ABCs, know their letter sounds, and to print all upper and lowercase letters.
Cn u rd this?
A first grader may start the year writing “cac” for cake or “becs” for because . Dropping a word’s silent e at the end or middle vowel sound to spell it the way it sounds is known as phonetic or “invented” spelling. (See a real example of “invented” spelling .) Children are often more comfortable using consonants and the sounds at the beginning of words because they’re more distinct than vowels or sounds at the ends of words. By using invented spelling, children are demonstrating what they know about letter sounds. Research shows that letting children use invented spelling (and not immediately correcting them) allows them to focus on the purpose of writing: communication.
With time, your first grader should transition to conventional spelling for words with common spelling patterns (e.g. bike, like, hike , and sing, ring, king (See our first grade rhyming words worksheets for more examples.) and high-frequency words (See our first grade snap words worksheets for some examples.).
Note: Keep an eye on your first grader’s spelling near the end of the year: if a child’s spelling does not improve or their invented spelling is arbitrary rather than phonetic, it can be a sign of a learning issue.
But don’t expect to banish invented spelling completely this year. First graders should be encouraged to keep using what they know about letter sounds and newly learned spelling patterns to spell irregular, unfamiliar, and new vocabulary words, for example “inportint” for important .
3 types of writing in first grade
First graders should practice and learn three kinds of writing: opinion, informative, and narrative . Opinion and informative writing will likely start with kids reading a book and responding to what they’ve learned. In an opinion piece, your child introduces the book or topic he’s writing about, states his opinion about it, gives a reason or two to support his opinion, and then offers some sort of conclusion to complete his writing.
In an informative piece, your child names what he’s writing about and gives some information, facts, or details about it (e.g. Dinosaurs lived on Earth a long time ago. Some dinosaurs were bigger than people are today… ), and, as in an opinion piece, offers some sense of conclusion.
Writing a narrative is like writing a story. A first grader’s story should describe two or more events, include details about what happened, and give some sense of the story coming to an end — not only by writing “The End,” although that’s a good start.
Check out these two real examples of good first grade informational writing: • “ Water is inportint ” • “ How to savs water ”
See what first grade writing looks like
bttr, better, best!
Teaching your child to write well means helping them understand that writing is a multistep process. Before your child picks up a pencil, prewriting begins with reading, thinking, and discussing. When your child’s first draft is done, the teacher and other students might ask your child questions about the work to elicit details or facts that could be added, or to help organize the order of events in a story.
Then your child may be asked to do a revision . After one or more revisions, the teacher might help your child with the final edit — focusing on spelling, capitalizing proper nouns and the first word of a sentence, and adding a period at the end. These steps — prewriting, doing a first draft, revising their work, and editing the final piece — helps first graders learn all the important parts of writing.
Research in first grade, oh my!
In first grade writing there’s an emphasis on kids learning to respond to questions by looking up answers to their questions.
In their writing, this means that kids will pull information from books, websites, class presentations, and other experiences to form their opinions, arguments, and even stories. When they use this information, they should be able to recall where they learned the facts they’re including and organize them into their own writing. An example you may see your child working on: reading a “how to” book and mimicking the writing structure to write their own instructions for something — in order! (For great practice, check out our pizza recipe worksheet .)
What how first graders research and discuss a topic
“I go’ed there,” no more!
Get ready for your first grader’s grammar — in the form of noun-verb agreement, adjectives, sentence complexity, and punctuation — to leap forward. First graders learn to use singular and plural nouns with matching verbs in simple past, present, and future tenses. They also learn to use commas.
Kids also learn about proper and possessive nouns (e.g. Shawn and Shawn’s ), articles (e.g. a, the ), pronouns (e.g. I, me, my, they, them, their, anyone ), adjectives (e.g. good, happy ), and increasingly difficult prepositions (e.g. during, toward ).
In fact, think of first grade as the year of “because” — because your child’s sentences should move beyond simple statements to compound statements, questions, and exclamations using conjunctions (e.g. but, so, and, or, because ) to connect thoughts.
Finally, building on the capitalization rules your child learned last year ( I and the first letter of the first word in a sentence), your first grader will learn to capitalize the first letter of people’s names.
Check out these related worksheets: • Commas • Verbs • Verb tenses • Above, on, below
What about handwriting?
Handwriting matters. First graders are expected to be able to print all upper and lowercase letters.
Check out these related worksheets: • Practicing letters a and b • Practicing letters c and d
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The Brown Bag Teacher
Teach the Children. Love the Children. Change the World.
March 11, 2015
1st Grade How To Writing
hands-on experiences: building paper planes, hands-on experiences: making maracas, launching workshop, favorite mini-lessons, transition words, favorite mentor texts.
Throughout the week, I’m pulling from three of my favorite mentor texts – How to Babysit a Grandpa , How To Wash a Woolly Mammoth , and How to Teach a Slug to Read . These are perfect for showing students how real-author use how-to techniques (logical order, sequencing, time order words) to share a story or information with a reader.
How-To Writing within Work on Writing
As we start writing our How-To pieces independently, we’ll self-assess our writing and use the below checklist (personal ones and a class anchor chart) to guide our work.
In retrospect, this is a unit I’ll definitely teach at the beginning of the year. Teaching at this point of the year, is much simpler and requires less groundwork, but still, it’s a nice review of skills we’ve learned throughout the year in reading and writing. Plus, now that we’re officially readers and writers, it’s amazing to see what my students come up with!
- Opinion Writing ( blog post , resources , mentor texts , bundle )
- Narrative Writing ( blog post , resources , mentor texts , bundle )
- Inform/Explain Writing ( blog post , resources , bundle )
- How-To Writing ( blog post , resources , bundle )
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How to Writing for Kids | Procedural Writing in First Grade!
Susan Jones December 13, 2021 1 Comment
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Wondering how to teach how to writing in your kindergarten, first, or second-grade classroom?! In this post, I share exactly how I teach how-to writing in 5 easy steps that you can follow with your own students!
Before I dive in, I wanted to let you know you can watch or listen to all this information in video format below:
If you’ve followed me for a while, then you know that writing is one of my favorite things to teach our youngest learners.
In fact, I have an entire teaching membership all about teaching writing to K-2 learners! It’s called the SJT Writing Club and you can find out more about that here >>> SJT WRITING CLUB
One of my favorite units included in the club is teaching students to write “how to” pieces. This is where students will write an informative piece sharing the steps it takes to complete something. This is the students’ turn to be the teacher and this type of writing is a whole lot of fun! I decided to break down this writing into 5 easy steps for you to use with your students (although there are many more detailed steps I include in my actual lessons, of course!).
Step 1: Do a lot of brainstorming
After you have explained what procedural, or how-to, writing is to your class, have them brainstorm a list of things that they know how to do. When I started teaching, I used to teach procedural writing largely based on prompts that I read or thought of for my class. However, over time I realized that I get a lot more out of my students when they are able to choose their own topics. They will often be more invested in what they are writing and usually have a lot more to say when they get to write about what they are interested in.
I first model how to brainstorm ideas, then I will have my students dump all of their ideas on a brainstorming sheet like the one below, listing all the things they know how to do at school, outside, at home, or in the kitchen.
Your students can hang onto this sheet and store it in their writing workshop folder to reference throughout this unit!
Step 2: Zooming in
After your class has brainstormed a bunch of different ideas, you can explain that we will only be sharing about 3-4 steps in this lesson. Therefore, if a student brainstormed that they know how to be a chef, they will likely not want to choose that procedural idea because it takes a lot more than 3-4 steps to become a chef. You can encourage them to zoom in on that idea and think of something more specific that they can teach others how to do in a few steps (for example “I can make a grilled cheese sandwich”).
To practice this, I like to have my students use the “Zooming In!” worksheet below to practice taking broad ideas and zooming in on something more specific.
After we do this guided practice sheet together, I would encourage my students to go back to their brainstorming sheet and see if they can zoom in on any of their ideas.
Step 3: Plan It Out
After zooming in, students will have picked one idea to get started with! During this step, you are going to teach your students about transition words, telling a story in order, and narrowing down the 3-4 steps it takes to do something.
I like to use worksheets like the one below with picture boxes and a few lines for students to write on.
I have many different versions of a planning sheet like this one in the writing club to meet your students’ varying needs, but the idea is the same. Students will draw a quick picture and a beginning sentence to plan out their steps with transition words! If you would like, you can have students plan out a few of their brainstormed ideas on sheets like this one to flush out their thoughts.
Step 4: Stretch it Out
Once our steps are planned, this is when we add some details and begin creating our booklets. To do this students will go back and look at all the one-page planning sheets they wrote in step 3 and choose one to stretch out and use to make their own how-to booklet. They are going to take each step from their one-page story and stretch them out to fill one full page for each step, like the example below:
Above you can see step 1 of a student sharing how to make a necklace. This is also a great time to teach your students about nonfiction text features like labels and captions that your students will use to expand their stories. After they have stretched their steps out across the pages, you can encourage your students to go back and add more details to their writing.
Once my students have added some details and stretched their work across the pages, I like to give them a cover page to their booklet so it looks more professional.
Step 5: Publish It!
Publishing is the last step to make sure our writing is ready to be seen by the public (their teachers, classmates, parents, etc.). I like to make sure that I validate my students’ work in this step by emphasizing how much work they have put in steps 1-4 from brainstorming, to zooming in, to planning, to stretching it out and adding details, captions, labels, etc. to write a full story.
I usually have students first run through a quick editing checklist to make sure they have proper spelling, punctuation, etc.
Then I like to use the following publishing checklist to check and double-check their work:
I love these publishing checklists as a way to really walk through and make sure we’ve included everything we need for each genre of writing. I have one for each genre of writing in the SJT Writing club !
Once your students have completed their stories and they are ready to be published, make sure you give them the opportunity to read to each other or the class so everyone can celebrate their work!
If you aren’t a member of the SJT Writing Club, I also have a smaller unit in my TPT store for teaching students how to write “how-to” stories. You can find that here >>> HOW TO WRITING
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March 18, 2023 at 6:19 pm
I would love to learn more on how to books!
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Welcome to Susan Jones Teaching. When it comes to the primary grades, learning *All Things* in the K-2 world has been my passion for many years! I just finished my M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and love sharing all the latest and greatest strategies I learn with you through this blog and my YouTube channel! I hope you'll enjoy learning along with me :)
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First Grade | Writing Skills
How is my child performing in writing.
Your child’s teacher should be able to provide samples of student work and describe if they are meeting the goals for writing. If you are worried that your child’s writing is not developing, schedule an appointment to meet with the teacher immediately to tell them your concerns.
1st Grade Writing Goals
While all children develop at different rates, these are goals to help you understand how writing should be progressing during the school year.
- Write their first and last names.
- Hold a pencil correctly (Check out “The Pinch & Flip Method” if they need practice.)
- Write from left to right on paper and continue to the next line.
- Use “invented spelling” or write down the sounds they hear in words. For example, journal might be spelled “ drenurl” .
- Create a story using pictures and words.
Middle and End-of-the-year Goals
- Instead of a few words, stories have sentences.
- Children can practice the three kinds of writing: opinion writing, informative writing (stories that are true with facts, recipes or explaining how to do something), and story writing (called “narrative writing”).
- Students can go through the writing process, meaning they think about what they want to write, write down their first ideas, look back over their work to fix mistakes, and then add details and pictures. At the end, they read it to a friend, the teacher, family member or the entire class.
- They are able to write their answers to questions. They can begin to look up facts and write down their observations.
Your Child Can Write an Essay – Just Watch!
Practice writing letters of the alphabet, invented spelling: your child’s first writing, foster a love of writing with your 1st grader, game: abcya.com story maker – have kids type their own stories.
How can I help my child improve their writing?
Frequently asked questions about 1st grade writing.
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How to teach writing to Grade 1 kids: New strategies for teachers and parents
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Writing is a craft that is vital for both communicating and learning . However, many children struggle to learn to write. For most, their difficulties persist throughout elementary school unless they get help. As recently as 2018, there was very little research on how to teach Grade 1s effectively .
However, recent research shows how teachers can help Grade 1s make a strong start on writing. Parents have a vital role to play in laying a foundation for early writing success.
Many parents have likely heard children say, “I don’t know what to write.” Teaching children strategies for writing tackles this problem head-on.
Breaking writing down into steps
In 2019, a team of Spanish and British researchers published one of the first experiments on teaching writing strategies in Grade 1 . They explored how a child can learn to write a story by asking themselves a series of questions: When did it happen? Where did it happen? Who is the story about? What did they do? What happened? How did it end? These questions help the child to generate and organize their ideas.
To help children remember this writing strategy, teachers in the study used a picture of a mountain with a path that led past six houses — one for each question. The teachers discussed the strategy, modelled how to use it and wrote together with the class. After instruction, the children wrote stories that were higher in quality, longer and more coherent.
The value of teaching writing strategies in Grade 1 has been confirmed by additional studies that examine teaching specific kinds of writing: Procedural writing (instructions for someone on how to do something) , and opinion writing (short essays meant to persuade someone of something) . In this writing research, teachers combined strategy instruction with discussions, picture books and dramatization.
And in our own recent research, we found that strategy instruction is effective for Grade 1 students across the range of writing achievement levels: low, medium and high . These Grade 1 studies join over 100 previous studies with students in higher grades in showing that teaching writing strategies works .
Printing, handwriting, spelling
Recent research also provides renewed support for the seemingly old-fashioned skill of printing. Grade 1s who can print accurately and quickly are able to create better and longer stories and reports . Teaching printing helps students to create better stories . Despite over 70 previous studies on the benefits of teaching printing and cursive writing , systematic teaching and assessment of these skills has declined in some curricula.
Read more: Writing and reading starts with children's hands-on play
Spelling is another traditional skill, the importance of which has been confirmed by recent research. Better spellers create better and longer stories, while poor spellers struggle with composing , and Grade 1 spelling affects the development of composition in later years.
Spelling education works best if it is formal, including, for example, lessons and practice activities . Additionally, teaching writing strategies combined with spelling and printing is more effective than teaching each of these skills alone .
Parents can help children practice spelling at home. Teachers and parents can also show children the “invented spelling” strategy of saying a word slowly, stretching out the sounds, and printing a letter (or letter combinations, such as “th”) for each sound. This will lead to some errors, but in kindergarten and Grade 1, invented spelling is an important driver of spelling development .
New understanding of Grade 1
This new understanding of the importance of Grade 1 is beginning to change writing education . In the past, many schools in Canada and the United States waited for struggling readers and writers to reach the middle elementary grades . Then, they were assessed by a school psychologist. If they were diagnosed with a learning disability, they were placed in a special education class.
However, in a new approach, response to intervention, teachers use evidence-based methods (like strategy instruction) to teach the whole class. They assess students regularly based on their daily writing, and if a child is below grade level, they receive help in a small group .
This approach is not yet common. However, it is almost certainly coming to some provinces in reading education . Reading education and writing education are intertwined, so we can expect the same approach to follow in writing.
Laying the foundations
The foundation for writing success is ideally being supported at home before children start kindergarten.
Parents can ask children to tell them stories, print the stories for them, then read them aloud for the child. They can teach children simple skills like forming letters and printing their name.
Parents can also practice printing with children at home; this is especially valuable for struggling writers . They can help children to write things that are important to them, like birthday cards for family members .
Read more: To help children learn how to read in the pandemic, encourage writing messages as part of play
Parents can also encourage children to read and write independently . Once children begin to write, parents can be their best audience, praising their efforts and the good qualities of their writing, and making suggestions to help with ideas, printing, and spelling .
When children begin school, and into Grade 1, parents can watch for red flags in their child’s writing development. During Grade 1, the average student learns to print the letters of the alphabet legibly and fluently, spell one syllable words the way that they sound (cat, game) and spell common short words that are not spelled the way that they sound (you, they). They also learn to write a story a few sentences in length about a personal experience .
If your child is missing these basic skills, don’t wait and see — talk with your child’s teacher and make a plan to help them succeed.
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First Grade Writing Prompts
In first grade, students are beginning to develop their writing skills for the first time. These students should work towards complex writing goals–i.e. composing a chronological narrative and expressing an opinion–but should be given flexibility in how that writing is produced. For example, first graders may construct a narrative by drawing a series of pictures, or convey an opinion by dictating their thoughts to a teacher.
These simple but creative first-grade writing prompts will help students begin to develop their narrative, informative, opinion, and research writing skills.
Narrative Essay Writing Prompts
Students in first grade will develop their skills in writing narrative essays by relating the details of a real or imagined event and placing the details in sequential order. They can also include their reaction to the event.
- The Purple Crayon . Imagine that you have a magic crayon like the boy in Harold and the Purple Crayon . Describe something you would draw.
- Wings. Imagine that you are a bird or a butterfly . Write about what you might do in a day.
- Superpowers. Name one superpower you’d like to have and explain how you would use it.
- The Dumps. Think of a time when you were sad. What cheered you up?
- Scary Story. Do you remember a time when you were really scared? What happened?
- Family Fun. Does your family go on vacations together? What is your best memory from your last family trip?
- Lost. Have you ever been lost? What did you do and how did you feel?
- Shark Tales. What would your life be like if you were a shark ?
- Movers and Shakers . Has your family ever moved to a new house? Describe the experience.
- Dressing Up. Imagine that you have a magical dress-up box that turns you into whoever you dress as. Who would you be?
- Teacher’s Pet . What if your teacher had a talking pet dragon and she brought it to school one day? Tell what you think would happen.
- After School. Describe what you usually do in the first half hour after you get home from school each day.
- Pet Dreams. What kind of pet do you have? Imagine a dream he or she might have and describe it.
Opinion Essay Writing Prompts
First graders can begin to develop their opinion writing skills by responding to a simple topic with their own thoughts and opinions. They should focus on understanding the concept of an opinion and providing basic justification for their own opinions .
- First is Fun. What is the most exciting thing about being in first grade?
- Must Read. What is one book that every kid should read and why should they read it?
- School Food. Name your favorite lunch in your school’s cafeteria. Why is it your favorite?
- Wild Side. What is your favorite wild animal and why?
- New Friends . You may be meeting lots of new kids in first grade. What qualities do you look for in a friend?
- Weather Woes. What is your least favorite type of weather?
- Toy Story. Which of your toys is your favorite and what makes it so special?
- Holidays . What is your favorite holiday and why?
- Getting Older. Why is being in first grade better than being in kindergarten?
- Weekend. What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
- Watch or Join. If you are at a birthday party, are you more likely to be first in line to play all the games or do you like to hang back and watch others for a while?
- Fish or Frog. Would you rather be a fish or a frog? Why?
- Extra Hour. If you could stay up for an hour later than you’re allowed to each night, what would you do with the extra time?
Expository Essay Writing Prompts
Expository writing includes informational and how-to pieces. Students in first grade may use drawings, writing, or dictation to identify their topic and supply information about it.
- Admiration. Name someone you admire and list three reasons you look up to them.
- PB&J. List the steps you’d take to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
- Healthy Teeth . Explain why it’s important to take care of your teeth by brushing them every day.
- Game Changer . Explain how to play your favorite board game.
- Lost and Found. Describe what you should do if you become separated from your parents in a crowded place like a store or an amusement park.
- Tough Tricks . Do you know how to do something that your friends haven’t figured out yet, such as blowing a bubble with chewing gum or jumping rope? Explain how to do it.
- Pet Care. You’re going out of town, and your friend has agreed to take care of your pet while you’re gone. Explain what he or she needs to do.
- Self Portrait. Describe your appearance to a friend as if he or she had never seen you.
- Apology. Explain how you would apologize to a friend or relative if you hurt their feelings.
- No More Germs. Describe the steps for washing your hands.
- My Space. Describe your room. What does it look like? What kind of furniture and decoration do you have?
- Rules. Choose one school rule and explain why it’s important for students to obey it.
- Step-by-Step. Explain, step-by-step, how to complete a process such as tying a shoe or folding a paper airplane.
Research Writing Prompts
With help from an adult, first graders can begin to understand the research process. These prompts may be best utilized in a group setting, with a parent or teacher leading the student(s) through the research process using a single source (e.g. a book or magazine) to answer a question.
- Dogs. List five things you know about dogs.
- Favorite Author. Write down three facts about your favorite author.
- Insects . Choose one of the following insects and find out where it lives, what it eats, how it moves, and what it looks like: butterfly, ant, bumblebee, or cricket.
- Reptiles and Amphibians. Choose one of the following creatures and find out where it lives, what it eats, how it moves, and what it looks like: frog, toad, turtle, or snake.
- My Town. Find out three facts about the history of your town.
- Volcanoes . What is a volcano ? Where are volcanoes found? What do they do?
- Dinosaurs. Choose a type of dinosaur and write 3 to 5 interesting facts about it.
- Habitats. Choose a habitat such as an ocean, desert, tundra, or forest and describe the plants and animals that live there.
- African Animals. Choose an animal that lives in Africa, such as an elephant , lion, or zebra, and write 3 to 5 interesting facts about it.
- Sports . Choose your favorite sport. What are three important facts about how the game is played?
- Famous People. Read a story about a famous person from history. Then, find out when the historical person was born and where they lived.
- Second Grade Writing Prompts
- Writing Prompts for Elementary School Students
- 24 Journal Prompts for Creative Writing in the Elementary Classroom
- Fun March Writing Prompts for Journaling
- 4th Grade Writing Prompts
- February Writing Prompts
- November Writing and Journal Prompts
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- September Writing Prompts
- Engaging Writing Prompts for 3rd Graders
- Christmas Journal Writing Prompts
- Writing Prompt (Composition)
- Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Prompts
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Firstieland - First Grade Teacher Blog
Where learning feels like play.
How To Teach Informational Writing To First Grade Children
You're ready to tackle new genres of writing with your students but you're not sure where to begin. Let's dive in and find out exactly how to teach informational writing to children!
Imagine your principal walking in to observe your classroom and seeing your students actively engaged in research. The room is abuzz with learning! Children sitting together at the computer reading a story about animals that live in ponds. At another table, kids are filling out a graphic organizer about turtles. Continue walking around the room and you'll see students writing reports about animals and drawing illustrations. Yes! This can truly happen in your first-grade classroom!
What is informational writing?
The definition of informational writing is when an author presents information about a topic. It's non-fiction writing that can be a report, an article, or even a biography. That may sound impossible for a first-grade student but when broken down step by step even the youngest student can produce a piece of informational writing.
Common core standards ask students to write informative/explanatory texts that name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure. So how can we help students achieve this goal?
Step 1 – Begin with a topic
The first thing you need to do when teaching students about informational writing is to begin with an engaging topic. There are many nonfiction topics that young children find fascinating. Some examples of topics for informational writing are weather , animal habitats, the planets, polar bears , insects , and holidays. The possibilities are endless. Choose a topic that your students will be interested in for your first lesson on informational writing.
Step 2 – Research
Once you've chosen a topic, tell your students what they'll be learning about. Explain to students that you're going to show them how to research the topic and how to present that information in a report. Choose a variety of mentor texts that you can show the students and read to them.
You can also show students how to use Epic Books online to research a topic. They can even find videos on YouTube that will help them learn about a topic. Spend a day or two reading and learning about your topic as a class.
Step 3 – Brainstorm
As you and your students are learning about your topic, show students how to use a graphic organizer to gather their information. Make a large graphic organizer that you can complete together as a class. Then send students back to their seats to complete their own graphic organizer.
Show students how to choose a few simple words that will jog their memory on their organizer. Explain to them that the organizer is a place to gather their ideas and thoughts. It is not a place to write complete sentences.
Step 4 – Include all the important information
Once you and your class have done your research and completed your graphic organizers, it's time to begin your report. This is where you'll model to students exactly how to do informational writing. It's a good idea to create a sample anchor chart that you can use as an example to help you model informational writing.
You may be wondering how do you write an informational paragraph for first grade? Your students should include the following information in their report:
The title is what your report is about. It can be as simple as one word such as “Polar Bears”.
The opening sentence is the hook that will get your reader's attention. This is the first line of the report. It's a good idea to give students a few ideas that they can choose from for their opening sentence. My favorite opening sentence to use in first grade is: “Let me tell you about ___________.” Students fill in the blank with their topic. Here are a few examples of topic sentence starters:
- Let me teach you about……
- Today I will tell you about…..
- Would you like to know more about……
- There is a lot you can learn about…..
Click here to grab this free anchor chart for opening sentence starters.
The body is the bulk of the report. This is where students will tell some of the things they learning about their topic. In first grade, students should supply 2-3 facts about their topic. This is a great place for you to differentiate your expectations for students. Struggling writers might only write one sentence with one fact about their topic. On level and advanced writers could write two or three sentences telling several facts about their topic.
The closing sentence is where students will wrap up their writing. This tells the reader that the report is finished. My favorite closing sentence to use with first grade is “I hope you liked my report about __________.” Students fill in the blank with the name of their topic. Here are some other options for closing sentence starters:
- As you can see there is a lot to know about ____________.
- I hope you learned a lot about ___________.
- Did you enjoy my report about ____________?
Click here to grab this free anchor chart for closing sentence starters.
Step 5 – Model
Before asking students to write their own report, it's important to model each step for your students. Grab this free anchor chart to help you model the steps for informational writing.
Use a large piece of chart paper and show students exactly how to write the title and where it goes on the paper. Next show students your list of opening sentences and model how to write that in your report.
Show students how to refer to the graphic organizer when writing two or three sentences about your topic. Make sure to show them how to supply facts about the topic and how to write a complete sentence with a capital, spaces, and punctuation.
Finally, show students how to choose a good closing sentence to finish up the report.
Step 6 – Independent Writing
It's finally time for students to show you what they've learned. Pass out the graphic organizers that your students made and let them use these to help them complete their reports. It's a good idea to use a writing template with prompts when students are first learning how to do informational writing. These templates are differentiated for struggling, on-level and advanced writers to meet the needs of all students. They also include an informational writing rubric which makes grading a snap!
As your students are working, walk them through the process the first few times they try informational writing. Take them step-by-step as they write the title, opening sentence, body, and closing sentence. Walk around the room and check to make sure every child understands and give help as needed.
Step 7 – Illustrations
As a final touch, have your students create some kind of illustration to go along with their topic. This can be as simple as a crayon drawing or maybe a diorama of their topic. Be sure to include labels in the illustration explaining what everything is in the picture.
Step 8 – Revisions
After you've looked over your student's work and made corrections as needed, you can choose to have them do a revision of their work. To be honest, I didn't do this with every informational writing project in first grade. I found it to be a lot with young students and not always necessary. But at some point in the year, after they have had a lot of practice with this type of writing, it's a good idea to have your students do at least one or two revisions so they understand the process.
This bundle of 6 units has everything you need to teach your students informational writing in first grade. The topics are engaging for first grade and include non-fiction texts, Powerpoint presentations, pre & post-assessments, graphic organizers, differentiated writing templates, worksheets, mini-books, and crafts. Click here to take a closer look at this resource.
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Home » 1st Grade Teaching Resources » 9 Helpful 1st Grade Writing Rubrics & Worksheets
9 Helpful 1st Grade Writing Rubrics & Worksheets
First grade writing rubrics are helpful tools for both you and your students when introducing an assignment and what is expected. They clearly outline what is to be included in the paragraph and will function as a reference for the students as they are writing.
To introduce rubrics to first grade students, start by going over what is needed to earn the highest score in each category. Then give examples of what would earn the lowest score to give them an idea of what not to do. Once the assignment is completed, the rubric serves as a guide to help you grade.
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What is a rubric in 1st grade, best 1st grade writing rubrics & worksheets, what are the 3 categories of a writing rubric, check out these additional 1st grade resources.
Rubrics are used at every academic level from first grade to college and vary in complexity. The first basic component of a rubric will be the criteria items, depending on what the assignment focus is, such as punctuation, including verbs or nouns, etc.
A rubric generally includes four levels of how well that criteria is met. A 4-by-4 rubric is a good place to start if it’s the first time your students are seeing one. As the year progresses you can add criteria to what you’ve previously used to introduce more concepts and a more complex rubric.
You can find many lesson plans and rubrics on Teach Simple , a marketplace dedicated to helping teachers in the classroom by providing high quality materials that meet the standards of Common Core (USA) and Core Curriculums (CA, UK, AU). Additionally, all the materials provided are created by teachers themselves where they earn 50% of all revenue. In partnership with Teach Simple, I’ve gathered 9 helpful 1st grade writing rubrics to begin using in your classroom. Have a look!
- First Grade Grammar Rubric From Learn For Your Life
This rubric helps students focus on elements of grammar, such as spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. It contains four levels of grading and gives examples of what it means to fulfill each category.
- Ice Cream Stories Project with Rubric From Sarah’s Teaching Snippets
Use this story rubric to go over all of the key elements introduced in writing and guide your student to a final assignment that combines them all. Students are asked to demonstrate an understanding of the story, form their own opinions, write with correct grammar and punctuation, and experiment with adding their own voice to their writing.
- Writing Editing Checklist By Nancy Vandenberge
This easy rubric allows students to grade themselves, but it can also be used while they are writing as a guide. With only “yes” or “no” options, the criteria to be met is simple and reinforces the foundations of writing such as legibility, using proper spacing, punctuation, and writing on topic.
- Peer Review Editing Checklist From Fun In First
This checklist rubric is designed to be used independently by the student to go over their own work, and then by a fellow student who can practice recognizing correct grammar, spelling, and flow in writing that is not their own.
- Built-in Rubrics From Firstieland
The next rubric on our list streamlines the grading process by including the rubric on the assignment page to make grading easier and also allow students to reference the criteria. This topic is letter writing so it focuses on structure as well as all basic writing concepts.
- Reading And Writing Rubric From Mrs. Jump’s Class
This next set of rubrics are student friendly and designed to be used on a written response related to each of the 15 reading comprehension strategies .
The top portion is for you to grade the content of their responses and the lower portion is for the students to reflect on the quality of their writing and how well they meet the fundamentals.
- Dinosaur Research Report, Editing Checklist, And Rubric From The Teacher Team
This comprehensive research project was developed for students of various grades and writing abilities. You know your students best, so remove any pages that do not make sense for your students.
Included are the following that you may find helpful as a supplement pieces:
• An additional information page to be used to supplement any other parts of the report
• Blank page that can be copied to expand the report if needed
• Two different formats for note-taking pages, depending on how you want them to take notes or if you want to give them a choice.
• Rubric for the written report
• Editing/Revising Checklist to have students check their work themselves
- Strengthen Your Writing Revision And Editing Activity By Have Fun Teaching
This activity helps students develop their writing skills by going through all the stages of writing development including outlining, revising, and editing using a checklist rubric.
- Writing Concepts Rubric From Ahisd
Organization, idea development, and writing conventions are the focus of this rubric designed for teacher use, but also can be used to explain the expectations of the assignment to the student.
Each criteria has four levels of completion with examples, along with a suggestion of where the student is at with the concept to determine if they need more help in that area.
A writing rubric at this level will contain three main categories.
First is the prompt that they will be writing about, which will sometimes include the length of the assignment. Next are the criteria items—what the students need to include and what they will be graded on. The third category is the grading scale that shows how to earn the most points for each section and what will cause students to earn little to no points. These create the structure and format that allows you to assess their work using a 1st grade writing rubric.
About the Author Kelalani Kimiko was born to a multi-generational Japanese American household in Las Vegas, NV. Her upbringing was heavily influenced by the strong family cultural traditions of her ancestors. The seemingly endless stream of new babies and young children in her home caused her to gravitate towards a caretaker role where she greatly enjoyed being a part of how they learn and grow. As a teen she assisted in homeschooling her younger sibling after a diagnosis of autism. This steered her towards her first college major in education where she ultimately found her calling as a writer. She now combines her passions to promote the sharing and access of information across a variety of subjects.
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100 Fun Writing Prompts for 1st Grade: Journal Prompts
- Narrative Writing Prompts
- Informative Essay Writing Prompts
- Research Writing Prompts
- Funny Writing Prompts
- Self-writing Prompts
- Fiction Writing Prompts
- Animal Writing Prompts
- Journal Writing Prompts For 1st Graders
- Descriptive Writing Prompts
Writing prompts are important tools that parents can use when they want to improve their child’s inherent abilities. The right 1st grade writing prompts can help your kids improve their writing, reading, comprehension, and visual processing abilities.
By having prompts of different themes, styles, and objectives, you can diversify the way that your child approaches writing. You can also enhance their divergent thinking abilities with the right writing prompts. Let’s start with our list of the 100 best writing prompts for 1 st graders.
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Here are more educational resources for your first grader so that they never stop practicing!
10 Narrative Writing Prompts
Narratives can be powerful teaching tools to help kids understand the importance of sequencing in writing. They can practice the core skills of narration, including storytelling, plot design, and conclusion. The best narrative-driven 1st grade journal prompts can help kids refine their writing capabilities. You can use these 1st grade narrative writing prompts to help your young ones develop their storytelling.
1. What if you had a magical wand? What would you do with it?
2. What are your favorite after-school activities?
3. Describe a time when you felt lost. What did you do? How did you feel?
4. What superpower would you love to have the most?
5. What are your favorite things about being in the 1 st grade?
6. Describe a difficult time in your life when you had to face some form of adversity.
7. What is your best memory from a vacation that you took with your family?
8. If you could meet one cartoon character in real life, who would it be?
9. Describe your favorite animal. What are its characteristics?
10. What is your favorite holiday? Why do you love that time of the year?
10 Informative Essay Writing Prompts
Informative prompts help kids understand the value of being accurate, precise, and descriptive. You can have them talk about events, historical figures, and facts in greater detail with the right informative prompts.
1. Write an informative essay about animated movies for kids .
2. Pick any stationery item from school. Write about the importance of using that tool.
3. Talk about why it is important to consume healthy foods. Why are vegetables good for us?
4. Talk about how you would teach a special skill to someone you’ve never met.
5. Talk about your favorite hobbies. Why do you enjoy participating in them?
6. Think about what you want to be when you grow up. Talk about your plan on how you’re going to achieve it.
7. Explain in detail why reading is important for all 1 st grade kids.
8. Talk about a time when you failed at something. How did you get back up and succeed?
9. What do you like the most about your best friend? Why is your friendship so special?
10. Select a food item that you love eating, and talk about why it is your favorite.
10 Research Writing Prompts
Research writing is an innovative way of instilling the right work ethic in kids at an early age. You can have your kids practice reviewing, researching, and fact-checking when they prepare their writing prompts. The best 1st grade writing prompts are research-driven ones that require extensive analysis and reviewing.
1. Talk about the origin of alligators.
2. What is the lifecycle of a butterfly? Write about all major stages.
3. What is germination? Write about the process of germination.
4. Why does the earth have oceans?
5. Why does an elephant have large tuskers?
6. Write down five facts about your favorite teacher.
7. Research your family history. What are some interesting facts that you could find?
8. Find ten facts about your city and what makes the city special.
9. What is a biome? Why do we have biomes?
10. What does an ant eat? Describe its journey.
10 Funny Writing Prompts
Funny 1st grade writing prompts can be hilarious to work on, giving younger kids a chance to develop their humor. You can have them imagine funny scenarios and come up with jokes that are in the form of long paragraphs. You can talk to them about the idea of a premise, a funny line, and a storytelling joke for kids .
1. Imagine a world where every house is a gingerbread house. What would your living room look like?
2. Write a funny story about going to space and meeting an alien.
3. Write an adventure short story about saving your friend from ghosts.
4. Write a funny story about futuristic methods of transportation.
5. Imagine that you’re permanently stuck on a ship. What would your life be like?
6. Write a story about what would happen if you woke up in a dog’s body.
7. Write a story about diving into the deepest ocean in the world.
8. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
9. What would you do if you had a tiger as a pet?
10. You have just invented a translation machine to talk to animals. What would you say first?
10 Self-writing Prompts
Poems for kids can be an excellent form of self-expression. You can introduce poetic 1st grade writing prompts and have your little ones practice their creative thinking skills. Poems can also empower kids to sound letters and words, which helps in cementing phonics and other concepts.
1. Write a poem about your favorite animals.
2. Talk about your day, but in the form of a poem. Make it rhyme to AABB.
3. Create a poem about the spring season.
4. Write a Haiku about the sky.
5. Create a Limerick about how much you love dancing.
6. Write a poem about the tiniest things in the universe.
7. Can you write a poem about words that don’t rhyme? Try it!
8. Write a poem about the letters of the alphabet.
9. Write a short poem about how much you love your family.
10. Write a poem about counting fruit, vegetables, or marbles.
10 Fiction Writing Prompts
Fiction-based 1st grade writing prompts are also amazing writing tools that can help your child access new areas of their creative thinking. You can help them uncover their true writing potential and improve their problem-solving skills with the right fiction-themed 1st grade writing prompts.
1. You’re suddenly thrust into a game of Island survival and are tasked with saving the people. What would you do?
2. On your next fishing trip, you spot a deep-sea monster. Describe it in detail.
3. You suddenly have wings and are able to fly freely through the sky. Where do you go first?
4. You just slipped on a banana peel and made a mess. How do you clean it up?
5. You left for school and realized that all the streets are made of candy. What happens next?
6. You met Santa’s reindeer in the spring. What kind of questions would you ask it?
7. There are dinosaurs everywhere, and they’re taking control of the city. What happens next?
8. You’re a time traveler and you decided to visit ancient Egypt. What do you see?
9. Start a fairy tale and complete it with the prompt – “There was once a fire-breathing dragon protecting middle earth.”
10. You’re asked to write a completely new language. What would it sound like?
10 Animal Writing Prompts
Animal-themed 1st grade writing prompts can bring a sense of joy back into practicing writing. Your kids can explore the depths of their imagination with prompts about different habitats and species. With the right animal-based 1st grade writing prompts, you can also improve their visual processing capabilities.
1. What is your favorite animal in the whole wide world? Why?
2. Describe your last visit to a petting zoo.
3. If you met a talking cat, what would it say?
4. Which dog breed do you love the most?
5. I love dogs because they are _.
6. What magical animal would you like to meet and why? (Unicorn, dragon, etc.)
7. If you could pick up three animal traits, what would they be?
8. Think of a completely new imaginary animal. What would it look like?
9. Who’s the scariest animal in the jungle?
10. What kind of animal makes the best pet? Why?
10 Prompts to Help Your Kids Understand and Appreciate Emotions
Some of the most impactful 1st grade journal prompts focus on writing about emotions. While opinion writing prompts 1st grade questions are great, you can really get into the mental framework of a child with emotion-driven prompts.
1. When was the last time you were brave?
2. How do you feel when you goof up? Do you feel angry or sad?
3. What I love about myself is _.
4. What makes me happy is when I am _.
5. How do you comfort a friend who is feeling scared?
6. Recall the last time you burst out laughing. How did you feel?
7. Sometimes I feel sad about _.
8. If I could change one thing in the world, it would be _.
9. Sometimes I am hard on myself about _.
10. Something I wish I were better at is _.
10 Journal Writing Prompts For 1st Graders
The best first grade journal prompts are the ones that involve introspection, critical thinking, and active recalling. You can improve their writing and comprehension skills with some fun writing prompts for 1st grade students.
1. How are you feeling today? Talk about what emotions you felt.
2. What are five things that you are grateful for?
3. What is the one thing that surprised you today?
4. I love my mom because she’s _.
5. My idea of a fun vacation is.
6. If I lived on a mountain, my daily routine would be.
7. This spring season, I plan on doing _.
8. I love my sibling because _.
9. Write about your last vacation.
10. My favorite day of the year is.
10 Descriptive Writing Prompts
When it comes to writing topics for 1st graders, descriptive ones are some of the most fun for little kids. The top writing ideas for 1st grade students can involve describing events, objects, narratives, and storylines, giving them more control on their vision for their answers. You can use these creative writing prompts 1st grade level questions at any time during the year.
1. Describe a dream walk through a garden.
2. Describe a typical school day in detail.
3. What type of music makes you happy? Describe why you love your favorite artist.
4. Describe the most interesting birthday you’ve had.
5. What’s your favorite hobby? Describe it in detail.
6. How would you describe a smartphone to someone from 1920?
7. What’s your favorite dessert? Why do you love it so much?
8. Which is your favorite memory in the whole wide world?
9. Talk about someone you look up to in detail.
10. Is there a comic book hero you love? Describe their qualities and what makes them special.
Quick Tips on Helping Your 1st Grader Improve Their Writing Skills
Now that we’ve explored the best writing prompts for 1 st graders, you can help them become better at the craft with the right strategies. You can use the best 1st grade journal prompts and encourage your kids to write with clarity and purpose.
You should also use different types of writing prompts for 1st grade kids. This will help you keep things interesting for your little ones while making them feel joyful when writing. In fact, the best 1st grade journal topics are the ones that are within your kids’ realm of interest.
Additionally, you can continue to reward them for writing extensively. By giving them toys, books, and colorful stationery, you can subtly encourage them to continue improving their writing and comprehension at the 1 st grade level.
Start With The Best Prompts That Appeal to Your Kids
You can start by mixing around writing prompts for your kids with different styles. You can also prepare your own prompts by referencing the examples mentioned above. The best way to get your kids excited about writing is to give them prompts that make them think outside the box.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your kids writing engaging narratives with these amazing writing prompts!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do i select the right writing prompts for my 1st grader.
You should start with topics that they enjoy talking about organically.
How do I improve participation and excitement for writing prompts?
You can have them write about their favorite cartoons, movies, and books during the initial stages of writing prompts.
What are some ways to improve my child’s writing?
You can use prompts, worksheets, and tracing sheets, to help your kids improve their writing.
What are some writing activities for 1st graders?
You can have them write letters, poems, stories, and other narrative-driven pieces.
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Third Grade: Writing Sample 1
Context of writing.
Written by a third grader who receives special education for language arts. Writing is in response to a prompt, “Think about a person who is special; this could be a family member, a friend, or anyone else who is important to you. Write about why this person is special to you. Be sure to describe a few experiences you have had together that show why you chose this person.”
What is this child able to do as a writer?
- Writes with a purpose: telling about a person who is special to him — his dad.
- The writer stays on the topic.
- He spells many sight words correctly and uses invented spelling (‘bares’ and ‘dares’) for words he is unsure how to spell.
- Shows a beginning sense of grouping sentences together to make a paragraph — uses a main idea (‘Me and Dad hunt for bares and dares’) and a few details.
Me and dad hunt for bears and deers. When my dad gets a deer he cuts them. He always hunts. I go with him too and I see him get them.
What does this child need to learn next?
This writer needs to learn the concept of sentences as complete thoughts. The teacher could have him practice reading aloud to hear natural pauses and get a sense of when a sentence ends. After he has identified the sentences, the student could look for the beginnings of sentences and add capital letters.
The teacher could also guide the student to elaborate on ideas and add details to make the story more interesting. He could read the story to someone — a teacher or peer — and then they could ask questions about what they want to hear more about in the story. A graphic organizer such as a paragraph hamburger may help him plan how to add more meat to the middle of his story and add an ending sentence to end the paragraph and restate the main idea .