Growing First Grade Writing


Slideshare 2016 05 growing a first grader writing from Melissa Williams

It’s the end of first grade…


My students have grown so much! When I look back to the beginning of the school year, they were babies. They still seemed like kindergarteners to me. Then, in January and February they really took off in reading, writing and math. First grade is quite an amazing year of growth! It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy teaching it so much. It’s so rewarding but also so much work. Here are some of the biggies the next grade level is expecting when it comes to writing. Please take note that students with reading and writing difficulties–because of known or unknown reasons–may progress on a different level.

Writing uppercase and lowercase letters

I still have one or two students that are writing some of their letters backwards and they are the typical letters like B, b, d, p, g. First graders don’t write very many words with Q/q in them, so they often ask or look for how to write it, but for the most part they are familiar with all the letter forms. One place I see careless letter formation is when writing their names, but I think it might be because they just want to write it quickly at the top of their paper and be done with it. The biggest issue in writing their name at this point in the year is making sure that the capital letter at the beginning is not the same size as all the others.


Capitalize “I” and proper nouns

Capitalizing proper nouns in first grade is a toughie, simply because they don’t completely understand if a noun is common or proper. When we speak, we don’t hear the capital letter when a proper noun is mentioned. This will take time and more exposure for students to fully understand proper nouns. As for the pronoun “I”, it should be capitalized 100% of the time by the end of first grade, preferably by the start of first grade, but definitely before second grade.




Spell grade-level sight words

We have worked very hard this year on reading grade-level sight words, though spelling them independently can be another story. Think of it this way, I can recognize a treble clef and base clef in sheet music, but if you ask me to draw it from memory exactly how it looks then I’m probably going to disappoint you (Sorry, Mrs. Storie–my piano teacher from elementary school)! Students need practice writing those sight words in their own natural writings in order to master them. One way to make sure students are writing a few new sight words weekly, have students do an activity like spin a phonics word and then choose from a list of new sight words throughout the week. My students really enjoy writing their own sentences, and sometimes then turn them into stories with illustrations!


There are so many more writing skills that first graders need to be ready for second grade that I’ve created a checklist with these and more. It will help the first grader in your life to be ready next year. Just click the link down below to get it now.


I’m already thinking to the beginning of next year. Another beginning means another group of kindergarteners, not truly yet first graders. Do they know their letter sounds? Can they write a sentence? Never mind if they can write a sentence, but can they sound out a word, write the word phonetically and have a space from one word to the next. Those are some of my initial thoughts in starting a new year.



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2 Comments on “Growing First Grade Writing

    1. Thank you, Erin! I’m always crossing my fingers hoping that they don’t completely forget over the summer before they come to you!

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