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Nurturing Young Writers in Grades 1st-3rd

Updated: Feb 2




Introduction


As reading and writing continue to be at the forefront of students struggles, I reflected on my own teaching practice. What did I do specifically that provided positive feedback and results from my students and their parents? To be honest, it was the whole process, not just one thing. To fully encapsulate it, I created a writing book for first through third grade students titled "My Weekly Writing Journal: 15 Weeks of Writing for Primary Grades." In essence, I created the book I wished I had had for my own students. It's a workbook-style journal designed with the student and teacher in mind. Engaging colors and graphics add to the content intended to simplify, support, and streamline the writing process, drawing upon the structure that I successfully employed in my own classrooms.



"In essence, I created the book I wished I had had for my own students."

The writing journey, as laid out in this journal, mirrors the way proficient writers work, encompassing prewriting, drafting, editing, rewriting, and finally, publishing. By embracing this systematic approach, students will find that writing can be broken down into manageable chunks, enabling them to focus on producing high-quality material. This is essential.


What's different about this journal is not in the process, it's in the inclusion. No other writing journal has combined the entire writing process in one space, making it easier for both the student and teacher. This not only equips young writers with essential skills but also empowers them to express their thoughts and nurture their creativity.


Seamlessly tailored to complement any Language Arts program, this journal is a convenient addition to the curriculum, requiring just 30 minutes a day. Consistent use to build the writing routine and stamina is key. It's the perfect companion for students in first through third grades, offering a supportive platform to embark on a rewarding writing journey.



The Weekly Writing Process



Images from My Weekly Writing Journal: 15 weeks of Writing for Primary Grades: Weekly Organizer Page and Get Started! Page, Week 1.


"My Weekly Writing Journal" takes young writers through a well-structured and engaging process that guides them through their literary exploration week by week. This comprehensive journal is equipped with the following components, each serving a unique purpose in nurturing young minds and fulfilling the writing process:


1. Weekly Planner Page: At the beginning of each week, students will see their writing journey broken down into daily manageable tasks. This establishes expectations with the writing routine and structure.


2. Get Started Page: This page provides students with essential tools and tips to prepare for their writing journey. It offers guidance on clarifying topic, type of writing, choosing a graphic organizer that fits their purpose, and identifying resources.


3. Graphic Organizer Page: The valuable space offers young writers the place to organize their information. It allows them to create visual representations of their thoughts and ideas, making the writing process more structured and coherent.


4. Rough Draft Pages: Two primary lined rough draft pages are included for each week's prompt. Students can use these pages to jot down their initial thoughts, ideas, and sentences as they develop their stories and compositions.


5. Edit Checklist Page: Writing is not just about creativity; it's also about learning to edit and revise. This page helps students review their rough draft and make improvements, focusing on spelling, grammar, punctuation, and other important elements of writing. It gives examples of editing marks and a place for notes.


6. Title Page with Illustration Space: Every great piece of writing deserves an eye-catching title and an accompanying illustration. This page allows students to showcase their creativity by adding a captivating title and a related picture.


7. Final Draft Pages: The three final draft pages with primary lines give students the opportunity to present their polished work. They can neatly write out their stories, revise their illustrations, and create a clean and tidy version of their written masterpiece to share. Teachers can easily take this pages out to display as well.


Writing Across Genres


This journal invites students to explore a wide range of writing genres, from crafting imaginative stories to describing real-life experiences and even conducting research projects. Students choose the type of writing: narrative, descriptive, persuasion, or expository along with the appropriate graphic organizer in the planning stages to set them up for success. Regardless of the topic, this journal offers the supportive space for young minds to express themselves and grow as writers.


Publishing Options for Students



Did I mention publishing? To extend and enrich the writing process, students are encouraged to take their writing to the next level through digital storytelling. This next step brings student’s written work to life and includes skills such as presentation, use of technology, creative design, and even collaboration with other students. I used Story Jumper with my students, because it was free and easy to use, but there are many options available. Students books can be published in digital and hard copy versions.


Digital story book creating was the engagement catalyst I was looking for and highly recommend teachers incorporate. I would follow the routine of writing in the journal one week, then making it into a digital storybook the next week. Students would present and share books with the class when finished. It extended and added value to the writing process. Even reluctant writers were excited to create content knowing that they could make their peers be in awe or laugh. There was nothing else quite like it to inspire them.


Conclusion


"My Weekly Writing Journal: 15 Weeks of Writing for Primary Grades,” is more than just a writing tool; it's a gateway to creativity, self-expression, and a lifelong love for writing. Designed to cater to the unique needs of first through third grade students, this journal provides a structured, engaging, and interactive journal for young writers to hone their skills and let their creativity flourish. With all steps of the writing process included in one place, it's easy for students and teachers to "grab and go." So, gear up for an incredible journey of writing, where every week promises new opportunities to become better writers and find the joy in expressing thoughts through words. Here's to many enthusiastic authors in the future!



Resources



Want to know more about Story Jumper and how to create a digital story book? Take a look at this tutorial video: How to Create a StoryJumper Book or go to their website https://www.storyjumper.com.


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Dr. Lisa Hassler
Dr. Lisa Hassler
Oct 01, 2023
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