In first grade, children are expected to quickly develop foundational language arts and writing skills. Some first graders start with very limited writing ability, mainly using verbal skills to communicate. The key development in first grade writing is to bridge the gap between spoken language and printed words.
A great writing activity to try with your first grader is to break down spoken interactions into different types. Being able to identify different types of interactions helps young writers learn many forms of expression, and how each employs different vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation.
There are three fundamental types of writing (sometimes called "composition") that children will learn about and practice in first grade:
While your child’s writing will be basic in first grade, they’ll start to understand the difference between the writing styles listed above. Your child will also learn about correct sentence writing practices, as they’ll be expected to write short compositions displaying their knowledge of each text type and structure. The more they practice writing, the easier it will be for them to identify different styles of text.
First graders will learn that their opinion is linked to their thoughts and feelings about something, and that people can have different opinions on the same thing! When writing about their opinions at first-grade level, they will be expected to express their thoughts and ideas using correct grammar and punctuation, whilst also supporting their argument with a reason for their opinion. As children are still developing their basic writing skills at this level, it’s always important to remind them to write in complete sentences, using capitalization and punctuation to help logical articulation.
A simple example of first grade opinion writing could be:
Informative writing informs its reader through primarily factual content. At Grade 1 level, young children should identify informative writing, distinguish facts from opinions, and be able to write simple yet complete sentences about a variety of topics.
Typically, first-grade children will study simple scientific facts or learn about the environmental world around them. You can encourage this by giving your child many opportunities to read factual scientific books and articles. Even if your first grader is a struggling reader, this activity will develop a deeper understanding of what it takes to write a great informative text, whilst also adding valuable knowledge that will be helpful for them as they move on to second grade.
Challenge your child to complete one of the report writing lessons on Nightzookeeper.com. These lessons model examples of great informative writing and ask children to write their own sentences about the animals featured in the lessons.
At Grade 1 level, children are often already aware of narrative devices, structures, and forms, but mainly through non-written mediums, such as watching TV and films, and listening to friends and families recount their experiences. They may not, however, be used to the formal breakdown of this and how to write a story themselves.
This style enables your child to practice their creative writing skills, while learning key first grade writing rules, such as sentence writing and story mapping, while growing their vocabulary list!
Narrative writing is perhaps the best writing style to teach your child all they need to know about sequencing, which relates to the three main components of a story plot: beginning, middle, and end. It also offers first graders the chance to learn how to use appropriate structural and linguistic devices to give a story an arc - such as (but not limited to) "once upon a time", "then", and "happily ever after".
It is always best at the first-grade level to break up these features and work on them separately with your child.
Your child can build their own writing world on Nightzookeeper.com. This will provide lots of opportunities for them to practice their character creation skills as they invent new animals for their Night Zoo.
Night Zookeeper is a reading & writing program which covers the full language arts curriculum, and helps children develop their skills in a fantastically fun way! Improve your child’s writing skills with our award-winning content, which includes writing resources such as fun noun games, punctuation challenges (such as how to use commas), interactive lesson series, creative writing prompts, and more!
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