accomplishments · preschool · slice of life · writing

Last Day of Preschool Writing

Today was my final day volunteering in Isabelle’s preschool class’s writing center. While she still has another four weeks left of preschool, her class is studying pets. Parents are encouraged to bring their dogs, cats, birds, etc. into school. (NOTE: I have pet allergies and asthma. Not a good combo!) Therefore, I had to declare today as my last day, which disappointed my daughter. Isabelle knows how bad my allergies are so she understood as best as a five-year-old can understand that kind of thing.

I’m glad I have kept records (on this blog and in Evernote) about the times I volunteered in Isabelle’s classroom this year. Fortunately, I wrote about the first time I volunteered there in September so I’m able to see growth. Here are some things I noticed about Isabelle’s growth as a writer in the past eight months:

  • Her stamina has increased. In September, it was challenging for Isabelle to sit for more than five minutes without whining to produce a page. Today, she spent over a half-hour at the writing center working on her book.
  • Her drawings of people are more representational. In September, her people didn’t have bodies. Now, they all have bodies as well as other features!
  • Her volume has swelled. In September, she drew one page and told a simple story about it. Now, she’s “writing” six pages! (NOTE: She’s not writing strings of letters to represent her words. She’s still dictating to me and I’m writing. However, she’s drawing across pages.)
  • Her drawings contain details. Sometimes she needs help thinking about what kinds of things she should draw on a page to communicate the meaning of the scene, but she’s gotten stronger at embedding relevant details in her pictures. (For instance, in the dance studio picture, top right below, she wanted to draw tap shoes on the girls. She also felt it was important to draw their dance bags since they change out of their tap shoes into ballet shoes at the midpoint of each class.)

She has grown as a writer one Monday at a time. I’m sure she would’ve grown more had I not taken off time for my surgery, work-related commitments, and prenatal appointments. Despite me missing several Mondays, she has progressed this year. Here’s what she wrote today:

On the car ride to school, I asked Isabelle what kind of story she wanted to tell today. Nothing came to mind. (She didn’t want to write about anything that happened over the weekend.) Therefore, I suggested that she could write about her interests. I asked her, “What do you like to do when you’re not at school?” She had a LOT of responses. Therefore, I suggested she could write a book about things she does outside of school. Thankfully, she went with it!


While some of Isabelle’s drawings are a little sparse (e.g., the Hershey Story one), some include lots of detail. Truth be told, she was losing stamina, but still willing to work, by page six (Hersheypark). I encouraged her to add green dinosaurs to show her reader what kind of ride she was on since I told her writers add details to help their readers understand where their stories take place. Fortunately, she added the setting details to her picture without pushback.

Do we have more work to do at home this summer to make sure she feels more confident with writing as she approaches Kindergarten? Absolutely! For now, I’m enjoying the gains Isabelle made this year. As you’ll see (if you look at where she was in September or even where she was in January), she has grown by leaps and bounds!

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25 thoughts on “Last Day of Preschool Writing

  1. Gaining feelings of competence comes with practice, and she has grown so much. I love the drawings that young children do, and it seems she’s enjoying it too, Stacey. Tell I’m glad she included Hersey Park! That’s a must.

  2. She is all the richer for all the writing time at preschool. I love this time of year for the looking back and seeing the progress and wrote about it on my slice too (reading, not writing). Lovely that you can see and appreciate her progress first hand!

  3. This is such a positive piece about growth and noticing the differences in Isabella’s drawings. It’s the first steps in writing which I found need value explanations for parents. Kindergarten is going to be beautiful!

    1. I wish more people would realize that drawing (and talking) counts as writing for emerging writers. It’s a tough sell when so many people believe that only words are writing.

  4. I still can’t get over all the details Isabelle adds to her pictures. Her book is really incredible, and she will continue to grow as a writer by adding details to her writing by looking at the details in her drawings. It is so wonderful that you were able to volunteer and spend time in Isabelle’s classroom. Lucky teacher – I hope she was able to observe you in conferences and demonstrations!

    Even though I know you will miss the final days, you know what allergies asthma can do. A parade of pets would not be a good thing!

    You are such an incredible Mom, Stacey. I am truly in awe! You are leaving your daughter a rich documentation of her younger years that she will cherish long into her adult life. What a treasure!

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Lynne. I’m really hoping to get into her Kindergarten class (once I can leave the baby with a sitter) to work as a Kid Writing volunteer next year. Kid Writing is new to me (I only do workshop.) so I figure it will be a learning experience for me too.

  5. Wow- Isabelle is learning so much about being a writer and sharing stories. Her growth is dramatic. You must be a proud mama- of your girl and also your fantastic instruction!

    1. I’ll be honest… I am patting myself a little bit on the back. I really didn’t know much about emerging writers, which is why I wanted to go in and volunteer this year. I’ve learned a lot (from my successes and mistakes).

  6. So wonderful to see such growth! Thanks for sharing, Stacey. I wish all teachers would approach emergent writing in that manner and notice the growth made in such a short time! Isabelle is lucky to have you.

    1. I took my cues from Horn & Giacombbe and Glover. It’s my hope more early childhood teachers would read these books since they’re rich with suggestions about best practice for emerging writers.

  7. Just goes to show, you are never too young to be a writer. These pages will be a priceless memory of where she started. Isabelle is a writer and she knows it too.

  8. Wow! Isabelle’s growth is amazing! I love the comparison from September until now. What a gift to have helped Isabelle and her classmates! They were so lucky to have you.

  9. It is wonderful to see the progress students make in a year’s time. I always had my students keep their first piece of writing for the year in their folder. When we finished our last piece of the year I would have them take out the first and place it next to their last. They amazed themselves by how much they had grown as writers during the year.

  10. It’s so neat to see the progress. It’s wonderful that you are able to spend the time as a volunteer and share your expertise and guide the children. Isabelle will definitely be well prepared for Kindergarten! Kudos to you and her for your hard work. Love that artwork.

  11. Stacey, Isabelle’s story is delightful despite its sparsity in parts. I like the part about the Hershey’s kisses-chocolate is one of my favorites. I will be at ILA16 presenting but not sure what Sunday morning will bring. Since I am a Wonder Lead Ambassador for Wonderopolis I may be with that group on Sunday. I would love to meet up with everyone though.

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