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  • Rebecca Carlisle Cothern

How to Incorporate Writing in Preschool Centers

We have seen educational research promote writing in preschool but what does this writing look like? How can we integrate writing within the learning centers we already have? How can we teach writing yet still have a developmentally appropriate classroom? In today's post I will share with you some ways that you can make writing a meaningful part of every day. If you haven't read my previous blog post about the research behind writing in preschool you can find it here. "Research on Why Preschoolers Should be Writing"

Writing instruction in preschool should be authentic. Think of when preschoolers see writing being used in their environment. It could be on billboards, in books, the waitress writing an order, mom writing a grocery list, dad typing on the computer, sister writing a note, or brother texting a friend. This is what writing instruction should look like in preschool; students writing for meaningful purposes, not direct instruction.

Block Center

When we think of the Block Center we think large motor, engineering and math; but it is also a great place to integrate writing within the day. Below are some suggestions on how you can add writing elements to make the play more authentic and develop those emergent writing skills:

* Add blueprints

* Make your own street signs

* Work orders

* Receipt book

* Magazines and non-fiction text

Dramatic Play Center

Many teachers know the dramatic play center is easy to add writing elements. There are often notepads with pencils, menus, prescriptions, and phone books but here are a few different theme ideas that lend themselves very easily for writing.

* Weather Station

* Flower shop

* Grocery store

* School

* Scientist

* Birthday party

* Business office

* Dinosaur dig

You can find all of these center themes plus a TON more in my TPT store. Click Here!

Art Center

The art center already has a lot of fine motor skills. These fine motor skills can strengthen muscles needed to be good writers so let your child play and work those fingers. Here are some ideas:

* Fingerpainting

* Play dough/ clay

* Scissor cutting

* Pom-poms

* Masking tape

* Colored paper for tearing

* Ribbon (tie bows)

* Crayons, markers, chalk, etc.

* Pipe cleaners

* Stamps

* Hole punch

Science Center

For this center think about how scientists use writing. Whatever a scientist would do to write or develop fine motor include in this center. Below are a few suggestions of ways to incorporate writing in the science center:

* Observation log

* Daily journal

* Write measurements

* Computers/ tablets

* Draw diagrams/ charts

* Label objects

* Write questions

* Make rubbings

* Dig


The name speaks for itself but try adding a variety of writing tools. Using different tools will make writing interesting for the students.

* Multi-colored clicking pens

* Golf pencils

* Twistable crayons

* Smelly markers

* Colored card stock

* Note pads/books

* Post-it notes

* Paper plates

* Feather Quills

* Typewriter

* Dry erase on glass

* Shaving cream

* Magnet letters

* Stencils

Outside Play

Include writing not only inside but also outside. This area of the classroom is easily forgotten but is often a favorite for children so it is very important that we provide opportunities for children to write in this area.

* Chalk

* Sand

* Clipboards

* Note pads

* Street signs

* Cardboard boxes

As you can see there are many ways in which writing can be added to the centers you already use in the classroom. As students play encourage them to use the writing materials to add to their play, make it more authentic, and develop those emergent writing skills. This indirect way of teaching through play is very developmentally appropriate for students and will build important skills for their lives.

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