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Deedee Wills - Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

Creating a Kindergarten Writing Center: 5 Tips and Tricks!

Kindergarten Writing Center - 5 Tips and Tricks

There is a LOT that goes into learning how to write, which can make this a challenging task for kindergarten students! You can keep your students from dreading writing practice by using an engaging kindergarten writing center. In this post, I’m going to share some tips and resources to help you get one started in your classroom!

5 Tips for Creating a Kindergarten Writing Center

When I started using a writing center back in 2011, I wanted it to set up students for success. It became a fun way to get my students hooked on writing during center time! Here are a few tips to help you create an engaging writing center in your own kindergarten classroom:

1. Start Simple

Be sure to start out pretty simply at the beginning of the year. (Yes, you can have your writing center up and running in August!) All you need is a display with some vocabulary cards along with student response pages and writing utensils. I add vocabulary cards to a ribbon, but a pocket chart is also a great option.

For the first week of the writing center, you can tell your students that their job is to stay and “write.” This will look different for every student! One student might make lines and circles on the page while another student will write their name over and over. This is all great! Students are practicing handwriting and important fine motor skills, even if they aren’t writing words and sentences yet.

Each week, you can encourage students to do a little bit more with a quick mini-lesson. It might sound something like this:

“You know what I noticed at the writing center? When Cecilia was there, she wrote words on her paper! Isn’t that amazing?”

{Cue the chorus of oohs and aahs from the class}

“If I wanted to write the word ‘backpack’, where do you think I could find that word?”

{They all chime in as you have a student use the pointer to find it.}

“Friends, if you are going to the writing center today, you might want to be like Cecilia and add words to your writing.”

At this point, your students will be jumping out of their shoes and straining their necks to see if they will get to go to the writing center next.

A few weeks later, you could plant the seed about writing a simple sentence. This can truly go on all year long!

Mini-lessons like these last about 3 minutes. You can even use mini-lessons to encourage students to do their best work at the center. If you notice that some of the work at the station falls short of their ability, you could take a minute to share the “awesome work” of one of the students who recently visited the writing center.

2. Keep It Predictable

Kindergarten students thrive on the routine of familiar activities! It’s easy to keep your writing center predictable by keeping the format of the writing activity options the same as you switch out the vocabulary cards.

At the beginning of each month, make a few of each of the writing activity options. Don’t make enough of every option so every student can do the labeling page and every student can make a card. Once a page option is gone, then the students have to select something else. This will nudge them to try different types of writing within the predictable routine of the center. You should also consider telling students that they can only use one piece of paper while they’re at the center. (Learn from me…I have had a zealous student go through 20 pages in ten minutes…ugh!)

Keeping your writing center predictable will also help your rotations run more smoothly. If you’re anything like me, you plan to use your center time to pull small groups. You don’t have time to reteach the writing center week after week! This is why it’s helpful to develop writing tasks that are engaging and appropriate without reinventing the wheel week after week.

3. Use a Variety of Writing Tools

Your kindergarten writers will appreciate having different writing tools at the small table of your writing center. Some writing tools can be available all year long while other writing utensils are rotated in.

kindergarten writing center tools and ideas

You can also keep other tools handy, like sight word lists your students might want to reference at the writing center.

Additionally, you can use illustrated “In Can” cards to provide a model for your students. This will be a helpful reminder of how to complete each writing activity at the center.

4. Accept Approximations

As I mentioned above, most of your young writers won’t know all of the letters and sounds when you start your writing center in August. Accept and celebrate approximations that your students attempt. The best part of a writing center is that it’s automatically differentiated; your kindergarten students will only write what they are ready to write.

Students will respond in different ways that match their abilities, and that’s okay! This center is intended to help your students feel success and joy when it comes to writing. The growth will come as they continue to use center time to review what you’re teaching during whole group writing practice.

5. Keep It Fresh

Whenever students get bored with a center, trouble is on the horizon! It’s important to keep your writing center fresh.

You can frequently swap out the vocabulary cards to reflect things that are happening in your classroom. This could be vocabulary related to an upcoming holiday, words from a read-aloud you shared with your class, or even vocabulary that matches up with a thematic unit.

Kindergarten Writing Center Printables

I have put together all of the printables you need to set up a writing center in your kindergarten classroom with minimal prep time! Students can practice skills like labeling a picture, writing a sentence, making a card, writing a letter, sequencing a story, and more. This resource includes all of the student response pages, vocabulary cards, and other printables you’ll need to get your kindergarten writing center up and running.

Just click below to take a closer look at everything included in this writing center bundle!

Kindergarten Writing Center Cover: Free File!

The resources for each month’s writing center includes a full page of vocabulary words. I had a wonderful teacher ask if I would make a cover for these words so they could be displayed all year on her bulletin board.

Free Kindergarten Writing Center Cover

You may also want to use this as a cover for your students’ writing folders. It’s totally up to you. I hope you like it!

Simply add your name and email to the box below and I’ll deliver it straight to your inbox.

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More Blog Posts About Centers

Looking for more inspiration for using centers in kindergarten? Check out these posts!

Kindergarten Writing Center - 5 Tips and Tricks

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Deedee Wills

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

Hi, I'm DeedeE.

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

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10 Responses

  1. I love all the space you have for a writing center! My classroom is so tiny and very limited wall space. I have a difficult time getting the kids to write. They spend so much time drawing pictures! I had one little guy spend the whole time in the writing center writing his name over and over. He is quite capable of writing a wonderful story, but he never does. I'm not sure what else I could do to encourage them to write. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi there!
      Simply add your name and email address to the box at the bottom of the post and the free file will be sent to your inbox.

  2. I’m new to kindergarten. Can you give me a summary of what to have out for the first month of school? As in which worksheets are better. I guess I’m worried about them not being able to do it.

    1. Hi there! In reference to the writing center, I would recommend the label it and the blank writing pages so students can draw a picture and write down any sounds they may know OR copy the words from the writing wall. Be sure to model these tasks before sending students to work independently.

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