Emergent Writing Checklist for PreK and Kindergarten

Use this free printable emergent writing checklist to help pre-K and kindergarten students monitor their writing. It is designed to be an age-appropriate checklist for children just learning to put their ideas on paper.

One of the concerns we often hear from early childhood educators is whether kids are ready for writing and how to get started.

The short answer to that question is: If they can talk, they’re ready to write! It might just look a little different depending on their fine motor abilities.

It’s important to remember that there is a difference between learning to write letters (handwriting) and learning to write.

Letter formation and handwriting develop as part fine motor skill development.  Learning to write has more to do with learning to share ideas in pictures and words and in learning to apply phonics skills.

But the key first step is teaching young authors that their ideas can be put into print, first through pictures and then through writing.

Initially we do this by discussing writing prompts together and inviting children to elaborate orally about their ideas.

Then we model recording those ideas with pictures.

As students are ready they can begin to share their own pictures and ideas.

Free Printable Writing Checklist for Prekindergarten and Kindergarten

What is the Emergent Writing Stage?

Pre-K and Kindergarten students are often in the emergent writing stage of development.

In this stage of writing children progress from making strings of random letters to grouping random letters. Then later in this stage writers will begin to match pictures to their ideas and start to add beginning sounds to label their pictures.

In this free printable we’re including a checklist for this stage that focuses on:

  • generating ideas,
  • using detail in pictures, and
  • labeling pictures with beginning sounds.

We’ve also included an opportunity for young authors to articulate the idea behind their writing, as often they are able to elaborate much more verbally than they can do in writing at this stage. It is important for them to learn to and have the opportunity to create detailed pictures and verbally share rich descriptions so that these details are later present in their text descriptions as they move on to the next stages of writing development.

What if kids aren’t drawing identifiable images yet?

It is still beneficial to give them the chance to put their ideas on paper at this stage, so we recommend continuing to provide writing opportunities and listening to their descriptions of their creations.

However we can also supplement these opportunities with time for modeled and shared writing activities. If children are not yet ready to draw a picture to go along with their ideas, then you can also have them discuss an idea together and then the teacher can model drawing a picture and adding their details. Children can share in the process by adding details or marks to the writing.

Then the Emergent Writers Checklist can be reviewed to show how your group writing goes along with the checklist.

Writing Checklist for Emergent Writers in PreK and Kindergarten

Get the free printable Emergent Writing Checklist

Complete the form below and click “Send me the Checklist!” to get the free download.

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