PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Learning to Write

There are many components in learning to be a proficient writer. Today we are going to look at three that we have begun in first grade: Handwriting, Word Study and Writing Workshop.    


We have begun handwriting and word study in first grade.  We are continuing to use the same program that BSI kindergartners used for handwriting.  It is called “Fundations.”  We are beginning the year with a review of how to make each lowercase letter. We use special handwriting paper.  Each line is labeled with an icon and a name.  Starting at the top there is the Sky Line, the Plane Line, the Grass Line and the Worm Line.  Follow the link below for a guide that shows how each lowercase letter should be formed and some paper with icons.  You can use this to help reinforce what we are learning in class.  A great way to start is with your child’s name.  Find each letter in your child’s name and review with your child how to from the letter.  Have your child practice by writing his/her whole name.

Handwriting Instructions

Handwriting Practice Sheet

Word Study

As we are learning each letter we are using them to start spelling words in word study.  We are beginning the year spelling words with short vowel sounds.  We are building our phonemic awareness by “tapping” out each sound we hear in a word on our fingers.  For example the word “bag” would have three sounds and three taps.  The word “brush” has 4 sounds, even though there is 5 letters.  The “sh” makes just one sound.  The word “bone” has three sounds.  We don’t tap out the silent “e.”  

Ask your child to “tap out” the following words like he/she does in word study at school: hop, flat, it, man, big, sand, fish, on, hug, ten.  Try giving your child words that you think of.  Three and four letter words are the best ones to start with.  

Writing Workshop  

This week we are beginning to write personal narratives.  These are little 3-5 page stories students write about themselves.  Each page has one or two sentences and a picture.  A big goal of this unit is writing with a focus.  Instead of writing about everything that happened during a day we want students to focus their writing on one or two important events and then elaborate these events by including details.   Throughout the next few weeks students will also learn to plan their writing before they start, to tell a story in sequence, to include feelings and dialogue and to work with a partner to make their writing more readable to others.