Why I’m Teaching Creative Writing to My First Grader
Teaching creative writing as part of a first grade curriculum is not something I would have considered. It’s not really talked about much, and if it’s taught at all it just a small integrated part of a language arts curriculum.
Now, let me say that I am quite particular about language arts. Learning to read and write is one of the most important things my children will learn, and if they do not have a strong foundation, they will struggle their entire lives. Therefore, when I shop for curriculum, the first thing I look for is a strong language arts program.
However, this year I was looking for a way to condense things a little bit and teach as much as possible all together. Usually a language arts curriculum has separate lessons for phonics and reading, grammar, spelling, and penmanship. That is four lessons a child has to go through every day, which was getting very long for my kids (and very long for me as the teacher!)
When I opened up the WriteShop curriculum I bought, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but as I read through it, I realized that I needed to be using this with my first grader!
By sitting down and helping her through the writing prompts, I was not only helping her get an early start on creative writing, but we were also knocking out grammar, penmanship, and spelling, at the same time!
Grammar is taught by helping her get her capitalization and punctuation correct, helping her form complete sentences, and more.
Penmanship is learned as I encourage her to use her very best handwriting and help instruct her with letter formation as needed. (It also makes penmanship much more interesting because she is writing what she wants to write instead of copying something that may or may not interest her.)
Spelling can be drilled as I check to see which words she spells incorrectly and add them to a spelling list for her. I also review the phonics rules that govern the spelling of that particular word.
“I did it!”
I like the WriteShop program in particular because it is so gentle, helping the parent work with their child right where they are. If a child is not writing well yet, the parent can do most of the writing as they help their child talk through the writing prompts orally. If a child is advanced, the program has extra suggestions to make the lessons more challenging.
You can get the WriteShop Primary Book A set (Teacher and Student combo) on their website here. (Not an affiliate link.)
Do you teach creative writing to your lower elementary students?