Publishing our first book!

Dear parents,

This is a blog post to show you some of the resources we use at school to help us with our writing process.

On Friday this week the class will be taking home their first rough copy of their books and they will get a chance to “publish” it at home! The class all had a chance to self-assess their work against the narrative writing criteria. I also have gone through and graded their rough copy using the narrative writing checklist. Please return the rough copy together with the teacher and student rubrics on Tuesday 10th October.

The students have the weekend and Monday to copy their story down onto the new paper while also getting to work on their best handwriting. Our rough copies can be messy because we have added a lot of information. Re-writing will give them a chance to make sure everything is in the right place. We also want to give them enough time to work on their pictures to make sure they are the best they can be! They may also finish their title page and even add a short blurb on the back of their books! Please also practice reading the story aloud as we will be sharing them with Montessori next week Thursday!

This is a great opportunity for you to sit with your child and ask them questions about the writing process and see how they collect their ideas and put it on to paper.

We kindly ask that you not do the following (below) and recommend ways to help them instead. This is their first published piece in first grade and there will be mistakes in their writing. We are not expecting perfectly spelled books or complete sentences.

-Don’t tell them how to spell every word correctly…
…. If a word is not spelled correctly, help them sound out parts that may be missing/different and ask which letters they could use to make that sound.

-Don’t tell them what to write…
… Ask them “who, what, when, where, why, how” questions to help clarify their ideas.

How to write a story

Ways to bring stories to life


Tips for reading at home

For the first few weeks of school our goal is to help the students gain a love for reading. We will be learning how to pick a “just right book” throughout the year, although sometimes they may still come home with books that are too hard for them (especially towards the beginning when any book is ok at the moment).

How can you assist your child with reading at home

Always try to fit in reading!

Once is not enough

Encourage your child to re-read favorite books and poems. Re-reading helps kids read more quickly and accurately.

Dig deeper into the story

Ask your child questions about the story you’ve just read. Say something like, “Why do you think Clifford did that?”

Connect prior knowledge – Ask them what they already know about the subject before they open the book.

Make a prediction – Ask them what they think will happen next.

Connections – Ask them questions such as do you have any connections (Have you been to a park like that?)

Retelling – Have them retell important parts of the story

Characters – Have them describe or tell about the traits of characters in the story.

Be patient

When your child is trying to sound out an unfamiliar word, give him or her time to do so. Remind them to look closely at the first letter or letters of the word.

If they don’t know most the words
Read the pictures – have them describe in detail what is happening in the pictures and see if you can see any words that match (if there is a pizza in the picture look for that word)

We will start something called a picture walk soon which is where we go through the pictures and tell our own story.

Have them pick out words they do know such as simple sight words: a, the, at, home, etc.

Feel free to read the book along with them pointing to the words and maybe helping them sound out easy to read words.

If they know some words

Have the read the words they can and use strategies such as sounding it out, looking for word patterns, using the picture, etc. Whatever tools they are most comfortable with when coming upon a hard to read word. We will be going over new strategies throughout the year that will help them with this as well.

If they know all the words 

Encourage them to read the book once, and again to see if they notice anything different.

Pick books that are at the right level

Help your child pick books that are not too difficult. The aim is to give your child lots of successful reading experiences.

Play word games

Have your child sound out the word as you change it from mat to fat to sat; from sat to sag to sap; and from sap to sip.

I read to you, you read to me

Take turns reading aloud. Kids enjoy this special time with their parents.