Many educators downplay the importance of prewriting, but I believe that it is essential, especially in the primary grades. Prewriting is important because it helps students to think about what they know and organize their thoughts so that they can better express themselves in writing.
This is especially important in the primary grades when students are still learning how to communicate their ideas clearly and concisely.
When students are given a prompt or a topic, they often do not know where to start. Prewriting helps them to brainstorm ideas and to narrow down their focus so that they can write more efficiently and effectively.
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One way to incorporate prewriting into your instruction is to make lists!
I think it would be great to model creating a bank of ideas, and then have students create their own little bank of ideas.
Think out loud as you choose a topic and brainstorm ideas. This is especially important because a lot of today’s generation sit in front of a phone, the tv, video games, you name it. A lot of what they see just happens to be virtual, so their experiences might be limited, or they need to be reminded of the experiences that they’ve had.
Let’s talk about how this would look in real life………I would create my list depending on the skill of my students. In kindergarten, I would probably draw lots of pictures as a model for early-stage writers who draw instead of write. For first grade and up, I would write down my words along with pictures.
Now, remember, these are lists, so it should look mostly like a list, don’t make it more complicated than it has to be! Give them time to make their lists! This will include everything from people to places, activities, and more!
Once they have made their lists, you can even pass out stickers so that they can place them by the ideas they are really excited about. This gives them an easy win because they already know the first topics that they will write about.
Another type of list is a true picture list. These won’t be pictures that the students are drawing, but pictures that they are getting from magazines and newspapers. You can even print off some collages from the internet. All you have to do is give them a blank piece of paper, and allow them to create their own picture collages.
Why are Lists Valuable?
Using lists is fantastic during the pre-writing stage because lists are easy. When the task is to write a word or draw pictures, or even put together a list of pictures, the task isn’t intimidating, especially for students who struggle with writing.
By creating lists your students are already classifying and sorting things and experiences into groups, and then you can even have them create a class book of lists!
By taking some time to prewrite, students can avoid getting stuck or frustrated later on in the writing process. Additionally, prewriting can help students to develop a stronger understanding of their topic and what they want to say about it.
Another way to incorporate prewriting is to provide opportunities for collaboration. Put students in small groups and have them discuss their ideas with one another. You can also have them share their ideas with the whole class. They can even collaborate on their lists together!
I’ve created a freebie for creating lists with your class, you can grab it below!
I hope that you’ve learned some helpful tips on prewriting with your primary students! I would love to know your favorite ways for incorporating prewriting into your writing time!