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first grade boy writing at kitchen table

Writing Activities for Your First Grader

Writing allows children to express their thoughts, creativity, and uniqueness. It is a fundamental way in which children learn to think critically, organize and communicate ideas, and make thinking visible and permanent. And learning to write well helps children to be better readers!

Writing with purpose, style, and structure

First graders write many times a day to express their ideas and interests — they are writing with a purpose, through stories, letters, and lists. Children at this age can read their own writing and should be encouraged to read aloud!

They can print clearly and leave spaces between words. Children in first grade are able to write simple but complete sentences, and they are beginning to understand when to use capital letters, commas, and periods.

First graders also begin to use “story language” in their own writing, for example, incorporating phrases such as “once upon a time” and “happily ever after.”

Be a writing role model

Make sure your child sees you writing. She will learn about writing by watching you write. Talk with her about your writing so that she begins to understand why writing is important and the many ways it can be used.

Stay positive!

Kids who are worried about spelling every word correctly will often stick to a small group of words they can spell, or may avoid writing altogether.

Struggling with handwriting?

Handwriting involves more than just making letters on a page — it requires strong fine motor and visual-motor skills. Here are  six multisensory techniques  to try if your child is struggling with writing.

Does spelling count?

With first graders, you’ll see a combination of invented and correct spelling (especially words from a word wall or vocabulary list). Early attempts at spelling are not the random swings they sometimes appear. Children’s “ invented spelling ” gives us a window into what they understand about written language. A good teacher will be able to tell the difference between the misspellings that indicate normal literacy development and those that suggest a possible learning disability. If you have questions, talk to your child’s teacher or reading specialist.

Invented spelling: your child’s first writing

This video is from Home Reading Helper, a resource for parents to elevate children’s reading at home provided by Read Charlotte (opens in a new window) . Find more video, parent activities, printables, and other resources at  Home Reading Helper (opens in a new window) .

What does first grade writing look like?

6 year old boy writing in a notebook with mother watching

Looking at Writing

See more samples of real writing from first graders in our interactive resource, Looking at Writing.

Try these writing ideas at home

Ask your child to help you make a grocery list or a “to-do” list for weekend chores. Your child can dictate the list as you write, to model the process. Then switch roles, and ask your child to write the list as you dictate.

Family letters

Help your child write letters to relatives and friends. These may include thank you notes or just a special note to say hello. Be sure to send your child a letter or card once in awhile too so that she is reminded of how special it is to get a letter in the mail. And consider finding a pen pal for your child.

Family stories

Ask your child to draw a picture of a family activity and then write a sentence about it below the picture. Encourage your child to say the sentence and write letters to match the sounds in each word. Then have your child read what she wrote. Display the story on the refrigerator or a bulletin board — and celebrate the work!

Reader’s theater

Encourage your child to read her stories out loud. Listen carefully with patience, and give positive feedback about her ideas and her writing!

Turn your child’s writing into books! Paste her drawings and writings on pieces of construction paper. For each book, make a cover out of heavier paper or cardboard, and add special art, a title, and her name as author. Punch holes in the pages and cover, and bind the book together with yarn or ribbon.

Field notes

Encourage your child to take notes on trips or outings, and to describe what she saw, using all of her senses. This could include a description of a walk outside, a ride in a car or a bus, or other events that lend themselves to note taking.

Message board

Hang a family message board in the kitchen and leave notes there for your child. Encourage your child to write a message back and post it to the board.

Young children love to name things! Ask your child to write out labels for the rooms and objects in your house. Don’t worry about invented spellings! Help your child safely tape them up for temporary display. See a real-life example in this blog post,  Using but confusing, with laundry .

Make practice fun!

Give your child opportunities to practice writing by helping her sign birthday cards and make lists. As your child gets older, write together — have your child help you with the writing you do, including writing letters, shopping lists, and messages.

Young reporter

Encourage your child to take notes on trips or outings, and to describe what she saw. This could include a description of nature walks, a boat ride, a car trip, or other events that lend themselves to note-taking.

Writing to remember

If your child likes a particular song, suggest that she learn the words by writing them down. Also encourage copying favorite poems or quotations from books and plays.

Encourage your child to read her stories out loud. Listen carefully without interrupting, and give her positive feedback about her ideas and her writing!

Play a game with pictures

Photos and images are great story sparkers. Do a web search and find a few interesting images. Or cut out pictures from magazines. The pictures can be realistic, such as a photo of students on a playground. Or they can be fantastical images, such as a superhero flying in space. Glue a couple images into a notebook. Then ask your child to write about one of them. You can prompt her, asking her to include what she sees, what the people are thinking, what will happen next—or just let her imagination run free.

Make an “I can” book

As your child learns to write, she’ll also be learning other new skills. Making an “I Can” book will let her practice writing skills and keep track of her other accomplishments. Staple together a bunch of blank sheets of paper to make a book. As your child reaches a new milestone, such as learning to tie her shoes or hit a baseball, she can draw a picture on a new page of the book. Younger kids can then write, “I can tie my shoes.” Older kids can write a few sentences about what they’ve accomplished.

Create a family scrapbook

A family scrapbook is a great way to save memories and jump-start your child’s writing. Use an inexpensive photo album to keep souvenirs of things you do together. This can include photos, ticket stubs, and found objects, like pretty leaves. Your child can begin by writing the date and a line about where you were and what you did. Then, you can work together to write a more detailed summary. Don’t forget to include funny or even annoying moments!

Foster a love of writing with your first grader

Write, revise, and edit

More writing resources

  • Developing Writing and Spelling at Home (In English and Spanish)
  • 7 Great Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Writing (In English and Spanish)
  • How Writing Develops
  • Handwriting: What’s Normal, What’s Not (In English and Spanish)
  • 6 Multisensory Techniques for Teaching Handwriting  (In English and Spanish)
  • When Writing Is Hard (In English and Spanish)
  • 5 Graphic Organizers to Help Kids with Writing  (in English and Spanish)
  • Recording Observations: Journals and Field Notes  (In English and Spanish)
  • An Introduction to Letter Writing
  • Mary Amato’s Tips for Parents: How to Encourage Creative Writing
  • How Parents Can Support the Common Core Writing Standards  (In English and Spanish)
  • Can your first grader research and discuss a topic? (opens in a new window) (VIDEO: GreatSchools)

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Home » 1st Grade Teaching Resources » 23 1st Grade Writing Worksheets To Practice New Skills

writing activities for grade 1

23 1st Grade Writing Worksheets To Practice New Skills

Spelling, reading, and writing are three of the most important skills children will learn in their first few years of school—that’s why having access to an assortment of first grade writing worksheets will make your life easier as a parent or a teacher. By the time students reach first grade, many have started learning basic words and are able to write basic ideas out on paper. The writing worksheets below offer a variety of different activities for all skill levels and help students focus on essential writing skills and develop them. Worksheets are great support for learning through practice—the unique offerings and the classic activities alike will create a strong foundation to build on!

Table of Contents

What should a first grader be able to write.

  • Best First Grade Writing Worksheets 

Should First Graders Be Able To Spell?

Check out these additional 1st grade resources.

First grade introduces the basics of spelling, grammar, and vocabulary to students. As they practice all of these skills, they’ll inevitably grow as writers. First grade teachers want to see kids who can write simple, complete sentences. They should ideally be using proper capitalization and end punctuation. 

Even if their spelling isn’t perfect, the ability to use their knowledge of letters and letter sounds to take an educated guess is really what teachers are looking for. First graders should also be adept at copying down words and sentences provided to them, and able to produce their own simple sentences from scratch.  

In partnership with Teach Simple , whose marketplace is full of educational materials created by actual teachers (plus 50% of all revenues go to them), I’ve gathered 23 totally-awesome grade 1 writing worksheets to help inspire your students and support their core language arts skills!

Best First Grade Writing Worksheets

  • You Write The Story Soccer Picture Worksheet By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

This writing worksheet offers students the chance to practice writing using a visual prompt. The use of visuals supports learning and aids students in idea generation. This 1st grade worksheet will help you teach brainstorming and the elements of a story. 

  • Other Ways To Write Worksheet By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

This worksheet may seem like it is just focused on writing, but it also engages essential critical thinking skills. Understanding that writing is a process that can happen on paper or on a computer will set your students up for success well beyond first grade!

  • Search The Word By Worksheet By Splash Learn

writing activities for grade 1

Search the word by Worksheet is aimed at enhancing children’s literacy skills, particularly their familiarity with common sight words. Through an engaging, picture-based activity, it encourages learners to identify and understand the usage of a specific sight word in various contexts. The exercise is designed to improve reading fluency, speed, and comprehension, making it a valuable tool for early literacy development.

  • Capitalization Errors Worksheet By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

There are many elements of grammar that students need to learn throughout elementary school, but capitalization is truly fundamental. Catching errors is a fantastic practice to reinforce learning! This worksheet will certainly engage your reader and support their knowledge of grammar as they fix the errors in seven different sentences.

  • Writing About Me Worksheet By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

Cultivating a strong sense of self and identity is an important element of social-emotional learning for young children. This worksheet blends together writing, spelling, and those SEL elements to create an engaging and fun activity where students can write about someone they know very well!

  • In My Own Words Worksheet By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

Summarizing paragraphs and retelling narratives with a focus on key information are essential skills. They support not only reading and reading comprehension but also critical thinking as a whole. This worksheet asks students to retell four different quotes in their own words and offers particularly effective practice for your first grader! 

  • Once Upon A Pancake For Younger Storytellers — Creative, Interactive Activity Book For Kids From A Story Book Day

writing activities for grade 1

This workbook is full of writing prompts and unfinished stories to spark kids’ creativity and enhance their writing by finishing up each one. This workbook is a fun way for children to develop their reading, writing, and storytelling abilities, using prompts about superheroes , friendships, magic, and more!

  • “I” Handwriting Practice B By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

Handwriting is key to academic success and legibility is a key part of writing in the first grade . This simple worksheet let’s students practice uppercase and lowercase “I” handwriting while also constructing sentences starting with I or making silly sentences that only use “i” words.

  • Journal Writing Prompts By Minds And Heart

writing activities for grade 1

Whether you need beginning of year writing activities, literacy centers, morning work, or early finisher work, these prompts will work for any time! With a checklist to self-edit for capitals, punctuation, and details, students will be reminded to utilize the components of strong writing that they are learning every day. 

  • You Write The Story Artist Picture Worksheet By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

This worksheet offers another delightful visual writing prompt—this time about some artists and a dinosaur. The benefits of the visual prompt paired with the writing practices will lead to fun and learning all at once!

  • Draw A Story Worksheet By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

Kids love to draw, and visuals are wonderful supports for reading and writing. This worksheet blends the two and guides your little author through the process of creating a story and illustration of their very own. 

  • My Opinion The Big Orange Splot Worksheet By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

Opinion writing includes elements of informational texts. This worksheet asks first graders to think critically about the prompt, practice writing, and focus on their opinion of the characters and plot of the story .

  • The Big Orange Splot From Art with Mrs. F

  • Capitalization And End Punctuation Worksheet By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

A sentence has distinct features to indicate where it begins and where it ends. Early literacy skills focus on these text features to support students in their grammatical understandings. This practice worksheet is a wonderful resource for emerging readers and writers to practice capitalization and end punctuation on different types of sentences.

  • Comprehensive Language Arts Skills Practice Test For Grade 1 By Twin Sisters Digital Media

writing activities for grade 1

Knowing where your students are is important to tracking progress. These worksheets are designed to be used as a practice test, focusing on core writing and reading skills. Ranging from punctuation and grammar to story structures and more, this is a great assessment tool to check in on your student’s learning. 

The worksheets in this bundle include topics like:

—Consonant Sounds

—Blends and Digraphs

—Compound Words

—Contractions

—Synonyms and Antonyms

—Adjectives

—Sequencing and Story Mapping

—Capitalization

—Punctuation and Grammar

  • Writing Sentences Printable Workbook By Twin Sisters Digital Media

writing activities for grade 1

A simple but useful tool, this sentence writing practice looks at the writing basics younger students need to learn and focuses on each one!

  • Writing Conventions And Applications Printable Workbook By Twin Sisters Digital Media

writing activities for grade 1

Make learning more fun with a variety of activities and games related to all things about writing conventions! This set features various types of practice with nouns, verbs, plurals,  subject-verb agreement, adjectives, statements vs. questions, capitalization, punctuation, complete sentences and beginning/middle/end-story structure. Packed in a set of unique worksheets, this practice is fun and effective.

  • Describing Emotions Worksheet By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

This worksheet is a double whammy! Not only are you getting engaging writing practice, but you will also be supporting students’ emotional learning. A simple but effective way to ask kids to write about their own feelings in descriptive words.

  • Make Sentences With The Sentence Maker By Guinea Pig Education

writing activities for grade 1

A choose your own adventure of sorts, this worksheet allows students to piece together words and create sentences. A fun and tactile tool, this activity encourages students to be creative while offering a support scaffold and building a solid foundation for writing sentences on their own.

  • Silly Stories Story Starters By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

Who doesn’t love a silly story? Inspire your students to flex their imagination with this worksheet full of story starters. They’ll have ideas to jump off from and will practice writing while being creative and thinking of stories that are outside of the box.

  • Scholastic Success With Writing, Grade 1 By Worksheetbee

writing activities for grade 1

This comprehensive writing workbook from Scholastic focuses on several different parts of writing skills in 1st grade including identifying sentence parts, building sentences, sequencing, writing descriptive sentences, and identifying story parts.

  • Star Wars Workbook: 1st Grade Writing Skills From Workman Publishing 

writing activities for grade 1

Get kids hooked on writing by providing them with writing activities about their favorite characters from Star Wars. This workbook is aligned with Language Arts Common Core Standards and combines editorial quality, fun presentation, and the rigorous educational standards that Workman applied to the Brain Quest Workbooks as well.

  • Space Poetry Worksheet By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

This charming worksheet is a perfect way to practice poetry and tie in science. The creative writing elements and cross-curricular connections make this a wonderful resource for your first grader to think about how to write a poem about space.

  • Uppercase And Lowercase Letters Worksheet By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

Having two versions of each letter can be a weird concept to wrap your brain around as a child. This set of practice worksheets around the basics offers a quick and easy way to support students in understanding the difference. It also serves as handwriting practice making it a double whammy!

  • Capital Letter Examples Worksheets By Have Fun Teaching

writing activities for grade 1

Let your students apply what they know with this worksheet. A little more capitalization practice can’t hurt, and with this sheet you can easily check their understanding of the concept before you move on from the topic.

The answer is yes and no. We want our first graders to be able to spell out CVC words they’ve memorized and can identify by sight. They should also have a handle on some decodable words—mostly those that can be broken down into their composite letter sounds. 

Complex, compound, and trickier letter combinations are not going to be words teachers expect first graders to spell correctly, but with practice they will come! Using these first grade writing worksheets will support your students in becoming proficient readers and writers in tandem with developing spelling skills they’ll need for second grade and the rest of elementary school.

About the Author Ali Pierce has been a proud public school teacher for nearly a decade. An English teacher by day, Ali works with educators throughout K-12 in a variety of coaching and support roles. A proud Wildcat, Ali earned both her BA in Creative Writing and M.Ed. in Teaching and Teacher Education from the University of Arizona. When not teaching, Ali can be found hanging out with her two young sons and sneaking in some reading for fun.

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19+ Effective 1st Grade Flash Card Sets

21 awesome addition worksheets for grade 1.

Last Updated on September 10, 2023 by Teach Simple

Miss Giraffe's Class

writing activities for grade 1

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

  • How to Make Writing Fun for 1st Graders

1. Make writing into a craft activity!

First grade writing activities that are so fun and NO PREP!

2. Inspire your young writers with a lot of pictures!

Writing Charts for first grade are so wonderful to help kids write words they may not know how to spell

3. Remove any frustrations for reluctant writers

Awesome support for reluctant writers in first grade or kindergarten! You could even use these in 2nd!

4. Let your students write about topics they're interested in!

Space writing prompts first grade kids love!

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writing activities for grade 1

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Grade 1 Writing Activities

8 fun grade 1 writing activities.

writing activities for grade 1

We’ve compiled a list of seven exciting writing activities to inspire your little ones to get started on their writing journey.

1. Read, Read, Read!

Your first-grade child may have a book that they just love! Why not get them to read it one more time and then write a short paragraph explaining why they love it so much. Which character do they like the most and what would they want to ask them if they met in real life?

Reading is generally a wonderful way to improve writing levels in young children and is especially effective when done on a regular basis! On nightzookeeper.com , we love to encourage children to write about what they are reading in an interactive journal called ‘Reading Light’.

2. Get Active, Get Outdoors

A great way to inspire your little ones whilst burning off some excess energy is to get outside with pencils and paper. Before heading out on your adventure, make a chart like the one below:

The great outdoors is the perfect place to get your children using all of their senses. Begin your adventure by asking your child to write down an object that catches their eye in the first column. Then challenge them to describe the sounds they can hear around this object, how it feels and how it smells. Once your chart is complete, find a quiet place to sit with your child and invite them to write a sentence about each object using some of the lovely descriptions that they added to their chart.

3. The Sentence Building Game

Spelling often holds children back from getting started on their writing journey at first-grade level. You can help alleviate this barrier by giving children words they can use to build sentences with.

The idea of this activity is that children use the words provided to make as many sentences as they possibly can. Points can be awarded for each complete sentence that starts with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark. Here’s an example of how you could set this up:

Activity to building sentences

4. Get Crafty!

A wonderful way to make writing fun for your child is to combine the writing process with an arts and crafts project.

For example, challenge your children to paint a picture of an animal they love. This could be a pet or an animal they love to visit at the zoo. They could also use magazine clippings and other materials you have at hand to add a layer of collage to their picture. Finally, complete the activity by asking them to write three sentences about why they chose this animal in particular.

Painting of a sea animal

5. The Daily Journal

Keeping a journal is a great way to get your first-grade child writing in small chunks, on a regular basis, about a topic they know better than anyone!

Here’s a format you might like to use:

Templete with prompts to write sentences

You could even ask your childr to be involved in the template creation process. Ask them which questions they would like to answer on a daily basis and incorporate these into the activity. This will give your child a sense of ownership and a deeper understanding of the activity.

6. The Greeting Card

Ask your child to make a card for a person in their family. This is a wonderful activity to get your children writing whilst also spreading love and joy in the process.

The card could be to celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday or holiday, or it could simply be a card to share their thoughts and feelings with their chosen family member. Children can be encouraged to write as much as they like about this special person, writing down all of their thoughts and feelings.

7. “When I am older, I want to be…”

Plan a special day for your child when they get to dress up as an adult they admire. This could be someone famous that they look up to, or it could simply be a profession that they admire, such as becoming a teacher, pilot or doctor. Set up activities to give your child the opportunity to explain verbally what they would like to be when they grow up and give them time to act as the person they have dressed up as. Towards the end of the day, present them with a template of questions for them to answer in writing. The below template may be helpful, or you can invent your own with your child.

When I am older prompts

8. Night Zookeeper

Night Zookeeper makes writing fantastically fun for children aged six to twelve!

Our writing program for kids features an array of writing activities, such as prompts, games, and interactive lessons, created to inspire children while keeping them focused and engaged.

Sign up today to get a 7-day FREE trial!

More writing prompts & activities

  • Grade 1 Picture Writing Prompts
  • Elementary Writing Prompts - Grade 1

Related content

  • Elementary Language Arts
  • Elementary Writing Curriculum
  • Language Arts Resources

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1st Grade Writing Worksheets

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50 1st Grade Writing Worksheets

A series of events

What did you do today? In this language arts worksheet, your child gets practice looking up words in a dictionary, writing words in alphabetical order, and drawing.

Airplane message banners

This worksheet presents airplane-drawn messages and gives your child practice with counting, reading, and writing skills.

It's the opposite! In this language arts worksheet, your child gets practice identifying antonyms such as on/off, light/dark, and night/day.

In this language arts worksheet, your child learns about using commas to separate words in lists and practices writing sentences using commas.

Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words that join sentences. In this writing worksheet, your child gets practice combining two sentences into one using different conjunctions.

Counting bugs!

How many snails are there? This coloring math worksheet lets your child count and draw bugs, draw the corresponding number of dots, and write the numbers.

Learn how to use a dictionary! In this language arts worksheet, your child learns why dictionaries are helpful and how to use one.

Editing is an important step that follows writing. In this language arts worksheet, your child gets practice deleting extra or unneccessary words and then rewriting the new, shorter sentences.

Poems: a mysterious story (pronouns)

The writer avoids pronouns by repeating the nouns. In this language arts worksheet, your child will get practice identifying nouns and pronouns by comparing and contrasting a section of a poem with pronouns replacing nouns.

Poems: calligrams

A calligram is a type of shape poem that uses the form of letters to add to the meaning. In this writing worksheet, your children will read two calligrams and then create their own.

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Interactive resources you can assign in your digital classroom from TPT.

writing activities for grade 1

Easel Activities

writing activities for grade 1

Easel Assessments

Free first grade writing activities.

writing activities for grade 1

Also included in

writing activities for grade 1

Description

This writing set was made with first grade in mind. This pack is also great for kindergarten and second grade to build confidence in writing.

Check out the full packet here:

First Grade Writing Activities (GROWING BUNDLE)

This set goes well with my:

Writing Prompts: Opinion Writing & Picture Prompts (THE BUNDLE)

Check out the freebies here:

FREE Writing Prompts : Opinion Writing & Picture Prompts

You may also be interested in:

Writing Prompts For Young Writers (GROWING BUNDLE)

Daily Writing Prompts (THE BUNDLE)

If you have any questions, please email me at:

[email protected] before purchasing

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Get our free printable Secret Code Worksheets 🔎! Help your students build skills while having fun.

25 Fun First Grade Writing & Storytelling Prompts (Free Printable!)

I’m excited to learn about …

Four printed note cards of first grade writing prompts.

First graders have lots of big ideas and opinions, but they are still learning how to put letters and words together in order to communicate in writing. Help spark their imaginations and get them writing with these 25 first grade writing prompts.

The following writing prompts are designed to spark your first grader’s imaginations and get them writing! And they are perfect for in-person or virtual learning.

(Want this entire set in one easy document? Get your free PowerPoint bundle by submitting your email here, so you’ll always have the challenges available!)

1. After school I love to_______.

writing activities for grade 1

2. I’m proud of myself when_____.

writing activities for grade 1

3. To be a friend you must_____.

writing activities for grade 1

4. One of the fun things my family likes to do together is _____. 

writing activities for grade 1

5. Would you rather fly like a bird or swim like a shark? Why?

writing activities for grade 1

6. If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?

writing activities for grade 1

7. What would you put in a treasure chest?

writing activities for grade 1

8. This is how you make a sandwich.

writing activities for grade 1

9. If I were as tiny as an ant, I would ______.

writing activities for grade 1

10. My favorite color is ____ because_____.

writing activities for grade 1

11. I’m excited to learn about _____. 

writing activities for grade 1

12. Who is the funniest person you know?

writing activities for grade 1

13. If I could fly, I would go_____.

writing activities for grade 1

14. My favorite thing to do on the playground is_____.

writing activities for grade 1

15. I’m really good at_____.

writing activities for grade 1

16. Listening is really important because_____.

writing activities for grade 1

17. When a friend is sad how can you help them feel better?

writing activities for grade 1

18. List five things you know about bugs.

writing activities for grade 1

19. What is your favorite sport? Why?

writing activities for grade 1

20. I like to read books about_____.

writing activities for grade 1

21. My favorite art activity is_____.

writing activities for grade 1

22. One thing I find very interesting is_____.

writing activities for grade 1

23. I am different because_____.

writing activities for grade 1

24. When I am by myself I like to_____.

writing activities for grade 1

25. What are three things you do before you go to bed at night?

writing activities for grade 1

Get My First Grade Writing Prompts

Love these first grade writing prompts? Make sure to check out our first grade jokes to start the day !

25 Fun First Grade Writing & Storytelling Prompts (Free Printable!)

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Teaching Made Easy in First Grade

TEACHING BEGINNING OF YEAR FIRST GRADE WRITING HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER

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Does the thought of teaching beginning of the year writing in first grade sound less pleasant than a staff meeting that has gone into overtime?

Teaching first-grade writing is not for the weak . It’s no easy task. Like for real.

Teaching first grade writing at the beginning of the year …even trickier.

I remember my first year as a teacher. So excited and full of energy. Writing was absolutely, without a doubt, the one topic I looked most forward to teaching.

Then… not so much .

  • I had students who struggled to hold a pencil.
  • Students who ran all their words together. I’m talkin’ absolutely no spaces between words whatsoever .
  • I had students who began every. single. sentence . with the word ‘ and’ .
  • Worse yet, I had students who wrote an entire paragraph using just one sentence and a whole lot of ‘ ands’ .
  • I had students who cried because they didn’t know what to write about, didn’t know how to spell words, or simply didn’t like to write.
  • The list goes on. 

Let’s just say that the image of myself being a champion writing teacher on year one was trampled by a gigantic stampede of wildebeests.

First Grade Beginning of they Year Writing

BUT NOW…TEACHING FIRST GRADE WRITING AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR

Has never been easier.

Fast forward to today. I can honestly say that writing is easy to teach, and it’s oh so rewarding to watch as my 1st-grade writers’ abilities soar to new heights .

After trying, and failing, to implement a Writers’ Workshop model, my first-grade teaching bestie and I sat down to take a good long look at our standards and what the end writing goals were for our students.

Then we jumped into backward planning. We asked ourselves what we wanted our students’ writing to look like by the end of first grade, and identified all the building blocks students needed in order to achieve our expectations of them.

When this was all said and done, we were able to pinpoint exactly what foundational skills our first graders need to know prior to jumping headfirst into opinion, narrative, and informative writing.

Here’s what we came up with:

  • Drawing pictures using basic shapes and lines
  • Labeling pictures using best-guess spelling
  • Writing a complete sentence with a subject and predicate
  • Proper use of capitals , spaces between words, and punctuation
  • How to write using a sentence stem
  • Learn to write telling sentences (declarative)
  • How to write asking sentences (question)
  • Teach how to write exclamatory sentences
  • Writing lists
  • Listing 3 or more things in a sentence using commas
  • Respond to questions in writing
  • Writing stronger sentences using adjectives, adverbs, who, what, where, when, or how
  • Use feedback from teacher  and peers to strengthen writing
  • Write more than one sentence on a topic

Now imagine jumping into a narrative, opinion, or informational writing unit knowing your students have all of the above skills mastered . Did the thought of that make your teaching life 1,000 percent easier ?

First Grade Writing Curriculum for the Beginning of the year

Introducing a Curriculum that will Truly Bring Joy Back to Teaching Writing

First grade writing – building the foundation.

If you’re still with me, you’re probably wondering what this writing resource is all about. Well, let me show you!

The teaching portion of our First Grade Writing – Building the Foundation unit is DIGITAL. That means no lesson plan pages, instructional pages, or any other pages will waste precious ink! Can I get a hallelujah?

What’s more,  everything you need for the day’s writing lesson is on the slides ! (Okay…full disclosure….except for the one student page you’ll need each day. You can print out the entire 8 weeks’ worth of student work in one little click.)

Here’s a quick overview of what most of the daily 1st-grade writing lessons look like. (There are a few variations based on what students have learned.)

1. share learning targets with students. have students state the “i will” statement with you..

We have chosen to use “I will” statements as we believe students will take more ownership in their learning . This idea came from a presenter in a professional development course we were in, and we loved it.  Why? The shift students mentally make using “I will” statements versus “I can” statements is tremendous.

We can do lots of things (eat healthier, workout every day, quit drinking coffee ). When we change the can to will . …the statement takes on a whole new meaning.

Common Core writing standards for first grade are written on the bottom of each slide.

First Grade Writing Chat with Standard

2. Engage students in a Writing Chat activity.

Some lessons begin with a Writing Chat. The purpose of a Writing Chat is to introduce a new writing concept, develop vocabulary, and build background knowledge for students.

First Grade Writing Chat example

3. Engage Students in the “Watch Me” activity. 

This is where the explicit teaching happens . Students will watch as you model the new teaching target. By modeling your expectations, students have a clear understanding of what it is you expect of them.

First Grade Writing Slide for Teacher Model Lesson

4. Engage students in the “Our Turn” portion of the lesson.

The “Our Turn” portion of the lesson is where you and your students will practice the new skill/concept together . This is the time students will be applying, with your help, the skills and strategies that were modeled. Students are being set up for success for the next phase of the lesson.

First Grade Writing Slide "Our Turn"

5. The final stage of the lesson is “Your Turn”.

Finally, students will independently practice the skill/concept taught. Because they have been explicitly taught the learning target for the day, students will have great success with this writing activity.

First Grade Writing "Your Turn" slide

And there you have it! Writing made EASY! Seriously easy. A snap. A breeze. A cinch. You could alllllmost do it with your eyes closed. #okaymaybenot

In all seriousness, we have truly had great success with teaching our first graders to write and oftentimes are complimented on our abilities to teach writing. We give all the accolades to the students. They did the writing. All we did was break it down to itty bitty steps that made it manageable for them to digest.

Are you ready to get your year off to a GREAT with 8 weeks of explicit lessons that will set your students up for success the rest of the year?

If so, CLICK HERE or on the image below to learn more.

First Grade Writing Curriculum for the Beginning of the year

Wishing you joyful days and restful nights. Teaching is tough…take care of yourself and give yourself a whole lotta grace. After all, your superpower is shaping young lives and making our world a better place. Here’s to YOU!

Cindy and Becky

Want to make Beginning of Year Writing in First Grade a SNAP to teach? CLICK HERE to check out that, and our other  Grab-and-Go, NO PREP Writing Resources !

Update, we now have second-grade writing resources available too. CLICK HERE to have a peek.

You may also be interested in these blogs:

5 Easy Steps to Teaching Number Talks in First Grade 

18 Phonological Awareness Activities to Try Today!

5 Number Talks to Try This Week

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April 25, 2023 at 9:26 am

I plan on using this in my first grade classroom next year. I have researched the slides in this program and I like how it builds the foundation for second language learners. I feel this is a great program and can not wait to implement it with my children in the new school year.

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March 27, 2022 at 1:14 pm

Hello, I have and use your first grade writing curriculum. I absolutely love it!!! And the growth I’ve seen in my students is amazing! Next year I will be teaching kindergarten. Any chance you are writing a bundle for that?? I HATE writer’s workshop in Kinder! Thank you!

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April 21, 2022 at 6:55 pm

Hi Jenny! Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, we are working on a kindergarten curriculum currently. We hope to have it finished by the end of summer before school starts.

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January 25, 2022 at 2:09 pm

Hey, I just bought your 1st grade writing yearlong bundle on tpt. Are these units created to be taught in a specific order? Of course, I know to begin with the foundations unit but what order do you recommend teaching the narrative, informative, and opinion units? Thanks so much!

March 19, 2022 at 8:03 am

Hi Jessica! After you teach the Building the Foundation unit, you can teach the remaining units in any order. They are all scaffolded to ensure success for all.

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