Prewriting Activities for Preschoolers

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

How are you teaching your preschoolers prewriting skills? These activities address both fictional and informational writing and can be adapted to suit a variety of thematic units that may be in use in your preschool classroom.

Writing in Preschool

Excellent writing is of paramount importance in both higher education and adult employment. Can writing instruction begin before students are actually reading? Absolutely. These preschoool prewriting activities highlight skills such as gathering and shaping ideas for a narrative, reporting on personal events, and reporting factual learning.

Activity: The First/Next/Last Story

Objective: Tell a story with three parts - first, next, and last.

Materials: Easel (with a whiteboard or chart paper), paper, pencils, crayons

Part One: Oral Storytelling

  • Gather students in a circle.
  • Talk about how a simple story can have three basic parts: what happens first, next, and last.
  • Give students a simple beginning, such as ''First, the panda bear noticed that his backpack was missing.''
  • Write your beginning sentence on the easel.
  • Ask students what happens next, and write it on the easel.
  • Ask students to think of what happens last, and write it on the easel.
  • Reread your three-part story.
  • A sample story would be something like this: First, the panda bear noticed that his backpack was missing. Next, he looked all around the house. In the end, he found his backpack on the porch swing.

Part Two: Writing and Drawing

  • Seat students at the table.
  • Ask each student to think of a character for a story. Give an example, such as Mary, the mail carrier, the tiger, or the truck driver.
  • Go around the table and have each student name a character.
  • Show students how to tri-fold a piece of paper. If you have younger preschoolers, you can prefold the paper.
  • Students draw three pictures of their character, representing what happens to their character first, next, and last.
  • Students dictate a sentence for each picture.
  • Older students might also use inventive spelling and initial letters to write their version of a sentence for each picture.

Activity: Daily Report

Objective: Relate an experience.

Materials: Paper, pencils, crayons, easel or whiteboard

  • Near the end of the school day, seat students at the table.
  • Ask for volunteers to tell you things they did during the day.
  • On a whiteboard or easel, model writing a simple sentence about your day and draw a simple picture. You might also model writing initial sounds or representational dashes. For example:
    • I played tag.
    • I p---- t----.
    • _____ _____ _____.
  • Give each student a piece of paper.
  • Students write and draw something about their day.
  • Go to each student and allow them to dictate their sentence. Write their sentence at the bottom of the page.

Activity: Group Story

Objective: Tell and write a story with a setting, characters, and events.

Materials: Collection of objects and photographs, easel

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