Embedding more writing into the kindergarten curriculum
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Students in kindergarten require a solid foundation in letter formation skills to build upon this knowledge when writing their name, writing sentences or completing a standardized assessment. Embedding more of the proper and necessary kinds of writing within the curriculum was systematically planned to provide the skills the students need to move forward and make progress in writing and literacy. Once children have learned basic letter formation, they must continue to develop their writing skills to the point that they can produce letters automatically. Failing to gain automaticity in the early years may limit students’ subsequent ability to express ideas through writing, which may potentially affect their academic success, motivation, and self-esteem (Graham S., Berninger, V. W., Abbott, R. D., Abbott, S. P., and Whitaker, D. 1997). The intent of this program is to provide consultation and intervention proactively to all the kindergarten teachers so that all students in their classrooms will improve their overall writing skills. This proactive approach will benefit all students while also reducing occupational therapy referrals to focus only on students who truly require specialized intervention. Teachers participating in this program will be providing improved letter formation instruction along with consistent time for practice and reinforcement. Building a letter automaticity pathway in the brain benefits kindergarten students for their writing performance in grade 3 and beyond. The long-term outcomes of the program will produce kindergarten students that are able to write upper and lower-case letters without a model and can write (at least) their first name independently. The STAR early literacy testing should also demonstrate an improvement in standard scores along with success in the print concept goals. Parents will also become more invested at home writing and see how a little collaboration with the school can improve their child’s educational performance.