As we near the end of the year we have been reflecting on the amazing progress the Prep children have made in many areas over the year. Perhaps one of the most visible areas is that of writing.
We have samples taken at the beginning of the year when the students showed little understanding of writing, some being able to write their names or know a few letter sounds or memory words like ‘Mum’ or ‘dad’, but little else. We now have children just 11 months later who can independently write recounts about what they have been experiencing at home or at school, construct narrative stories using descriptive words based on stories they have heard or just from their imagination. Show what they have learnt by putting together information books or posters to show their knowledge about an Inquiry topic, write down their thoughts or responses to questions about a book during Daily 5 after ‘listening to reading’ or ‘reading to self. And we often see children writing messages onto our messages board to explain what they need for their next Investigations sesssion.
All this with, of course, an understanding of the need to write with properly formed letters, spaces between words and with punctuated sentences.
We often say that ‘children cannot write it if they cannot say it first’ and much of our Investigation program and Literacy time encourages students to develop the essential oral language skills to allow them to write their thoughts with such confidence. During letters and sounds sessions the focus is around hearing sounds in words, articulating language and understanding the phonics (sounds) in the words we write. These session give children the basic tools to write and they are then complimented with the rich oral language development that the children have during Investigations time when they are discussing their learning projects with each other, the teachers and other adults in the classroom. The children are also immersed in the language of listening to quality picture story books read to them everyday through our teaching program and of course by parents at home which helps give them the language to become confident writers.
Here are a few examples of some of the fantastic stories and other types of writing that the Preps have produced recently. It is wonderful to hear the students understanding that writing is for an audience and the language and ideas they are including into their writing helping to inform or entertain the audience. We have had occasions this year when children have made information books during Investigations about a topic and then another student has used the book as a source of information for their own research.
We encourage our students to have their writing published in our own the classroom library (a copy to take home and one for the class!) and to include them into their read to self boxes. Much writing is also recorded onto the online blog to be shared with the ‘world’. All of this, has helped with the understanding of writing for the audience.
We recently had one of our students suggest that we needed a special area in the school library for books made by children, so other children could read the stories and learn from the fact books!
This sense of audience is perfectly demonstrated by this anecdote. As one of the story books below was finished recently Mrs Ovens noticed another student was reading the finished book, she remarked that this was nice to see the book being ‘shared’, to which the student informed her that she had asked her friend to read it to ‘check it made sense!’
I hope you enjoy the examples below of the children’s writing.
Mr Ramage and Miss O’Bree