Thursday, December 4, 2014

How to help BEGINNING or STRUGGLING writers succeed!

Writing in a skill that requires daily practice.  I have a little Moffatt Girl who is VERY eager to write.  I wanted to make some NO PREP Journal Prompts that would help her feel successful and learn to love the writing process.  I recently posted our NO PREP December Journal Prompts {HERE}.

Our new NO PREP Journal Prompts for Beginning (or struggling) Writers have been a HUGE hit!  I am overjoyed at the response I got the other day when we did our first writing prompt.  I feel like a little writer has been born! I now have a little girl who is BEYOND EXCITED to write every day!

These journal prompts are designed to help beginning and/or struggling writers build confidence, practice articulating thoughts, work on fine motor skills and proper letter formation.

Here is how they work…
Each journal prompt has "I Can" statements with text and visuals to help remind students to:
*use capital letters
*use finder spacing
*sound out words
*use periods
*draw a picture to support the text

There is also a place for students to illustrate their work or label pictures.
Each journal prompts has 2 different versions for differentiation:
-one with a starter phrase
-one without the starter phrase for more advanced writers

At the bottom of each journal prompt is an illustrated word bank! The word bank helps support and generate ideas for beginning and/or struggling writers.  It is important to remind students that they are not limited to the ideas/words in the word bank.

Each month will also include a fun cover to help create ownership and excitement about the journal prompts for the month.  Something that I like to do is to create a spiral bound notebook with all the journal prompts ready to go.  I usually get that done at a local office supply store.

I also included a basic SIGHT WORD list to help spell some of the most common words that kids use.

Here is a sample of one of the journal prompts included in this months set:
I am SO, SO excited about our NEW Journal Prompts because this little Moffatt Girl LOVED them!  After we finished our first prompt she said, "I love school, Mommy!" 
Well…if that just doesn't MELT.MY. HEART! 

We started by coloring the cover page.   Kids love to color and this was a perfect way to get them excited about the journal prompts!

Since Sophia is in Kindergarten, we use the set that has the starter sentences.  Next year for 1st grade, I will use the version without the sentence starters.  First we talked about the prompt, then she traced the starter phrase.  Actually, she wanted to draw a picture first, and then she started the prompt.

She used finger spaces…

She used capital letters and periods…

She sounded out words…

This process took about 20 minutes, so we took a small break until the next day.  
She was eager to finish her prompt...

This little honey worked HARD!  She was so excited about her writing!  To help her with the process, we would stop and reread what she wrote every few words.  She was so excited to see just how much she had written when she was done! She was proud that SHE could read it ALL by HERSELF!

We used the "I Can" Statement on the right of each page to help remind her of what good writing looks like! We read the statement and she said, "I did that!  I used a capital right here! (pointing to her capitals)  I sounded out box and I used a period two times!"
Honestly, I didn't realize how powerful those "I Can..." statements would be! 

Of course she wanted her picture to represent her writing, so she colored carefully and with great detail! 
She created ownership of her writing!  This was something that she was VERY proud of!

 More details!
I think she is pretty proud of herself!
I am proud of her, too!

Her prompt says:
When I wrap a gift, I put it in a box.
Then I put a bow on the box.

Here is one more finished piece!
She even sounded out Christmas….all by herself!! 
This is HUGE and we are on our way to some great writing!

You can get the December Journal Prompts HERE:

We also have NO PREP January Journal Prompts HERE:
I hope these NO PREP Journal Prompts are helpful for your BEGINNING and/or STRUGGLING writers!
**Be sure to follow our store for more monthly journal prompts!


TW said...

Thank you for sharing your talents!

Jennifer Howze said...

Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful teaching aids. I have been working with my son for some time now(since he was about 5 months old). He is now 5 years old and in Kindergarten. I make it a top priority to continue working with him after he gets home to make sure that he is able to comprehend what he has learned in school. It can be a bit overwhelming at times but, I know that it is all worth it when I see his face light up after he is able to master something on his own. I will continue to use your website to teach my 22mos old so that he will be ready once he starts school.

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