As I tucked my four year old into bed two nights ago, he asked me to read one of our favorite stories, David Goes to School. As I read the story, I was drawn to the illustrations. The illustrator used ovals to make the characters just like our book study has discussed. I immediately tucked that information away for later; I can’t wait to show my kinders the oval drawing technique used in a famous picture book that many will be familiar with.
Chapter five summarizes the process of encouraging our young writers to use written expression along with their drawings to give meaning to their reader. Children come to kindergarten with so many different experiences. Some come to us with a high literacy background. They have parents who have read to them consistently since birth. Most have attended a pre-K program, which has introduced them to the alphabet and phonemic awareness. Some children however come to use with a very low literacy background, having little knowledge of print concepts or alphabet knowledge. As teachers, we must bridge the gap and help all students build upon the framework that they come to us with. I love how the author encourages students to write a sentence, even if the sentence only includes the first sound of each work. For example…
A student may write, “M D W D M T the P”.
Dictated this sentence translates to, “My Dad was driving me to the park.”
In this example, the student was able to experiment with letters to form a sentence that had meaning while also using word that they already know. One thing that this book does so well is allow a teacher to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all learners in his or her classroom. As students become more familiar with words (sight words and high frequency words), the teacher can encourage them to use the words in their writing. We want our students to be excited to write, and we want them to feel successful. The lessons outlined in this chapter provide every student with scaffolding to enable that success with writing.