Welcome to Day Six of the Ready for Kindergarten: 30 Days of Activities, Ideas, and Learning Fun series here on Chasing Supermom.
Today I have some rare alone time with my own soon-to-be kindergartner. He absolutely ADORES all things related to art, so I thought I’d focus today’s post on something drawing related.
When you are working with a pre-writer (more on pre-writing another day!), one of the most important skills he/she must have is being able to make their words match their picture. Kindergartners need to understand that pictures represent ideas, and that ideas can be turned into words on the page.
The first step in creating a piece of writing is the picture. (It drives me nuts when teachers have students draw the picture AFTER writing…the picture is the plan, and is a vital step in the writing process!)
When a child creates a drawing, he/she is laying the framework for their writing. Their illustration is almost like a recipe or a road-map. The picture helps your child know where their writing is headed, and gives them an idea of what it should look like. When I teach writing to kindergartners, we call their picture their “picture plan” or their “pre-writing.” Creating their picture is a necessary first step.
Pull out a piece of paper for your child. (Better yet, buy them their own spiral notebook! Make this their writing journal!)
Draw a line about half-way down the page. Ask your child to draw a picture on the top half of the page. If they ask what they are supposed to draw, let them know that there are no wrong answers (I never let kids draw anything violent though!), and that they are welcome to draw whatever they’d like.
Next, ask your child to write about their picture. Have your child write to the full extent of their abilities. (More on writing levels later!) If your child can scribble or “pretend write” , go with it. If he she can write random strings of letters, great! If he/she can write the letter that represents the first sound, awesome. If he/she can sound out the words and write the letters they hear, terrific. *Some kids may need to dictate their writing to you, and that is okay! After they have “written,” ask them to read what they wrote, and then copy their words underneath what they have written. This gives validity to their attempt and gives them a correct model as well.
The point today is to get their writing to match the picture – not to perfect their writing! Ask your child to write about their picture. Tell them to use their illustration to guide them.
In the above picture, my son’s writing matched the picture. It would NOT have been an appropriate response for him to write, “I like my mom” or “I went to the beach.” Any sentence containing something about a rainbow was what we were going for, since that is what he drew. The key understanding to be gained in this activity is that pictures represent ideas, and those ideas are represented by the words on a page.
If your child starts to fall back on familiar words (typically words they know how to write like names, etc.) steer them back towards the picture.
After they are done drawing and writing, celebrate their efforts. Pull out a favorite picture book (click HERE if you need a recommendation!) and tell your child that they are just like a real author. As you read the story, point out how the words on the page match the story’s illustrations.
Today’s idea seems small, but this piece is foundational to building a kindergarten writer. Helping your child understand that illustrations represent ideas and that ideas can be represented in print is a HUGE concept in early writing AND early reading! Writing and reading are so very closely intertwined. So pull out some paper and get your child drawing and writing today! The five-ten minutes you invest will make a world of difference!
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