Teaching Writing in Primary


For years, teaching writing in primary was a subject that I always struggled with.  I had a nice curriculum for reading and math and it was easy to find supplemental materials for those subjects.  But I always found myself “reinventing the wheel” when it came to teaching writing in primary…

I had the basics down… Brainstorm, Plan, Rough Draft, Revise, Publish.  My students’ writing was okay, but it lacked in certain areas.  All of their written works were similar and followed the same style.  I wanted to see variety.

So, I began to create Guided Writing Mini-Lessons on different skills to strengthen and individualize my students’ writing.  They are also quick and simple to use, and can be taught over multiple days.  We have developed two different sets based on similar topics; one for K-1 students and the other for 2-3 students.

strong openings mini-lesson set
Strong Openings Mini-Lesson Set


alliteration mini-lesson setAlliteration Mini-Lesson Set

Teaching Writing in Primary Lesson Sets

K-1                                                                       2-3

Identify Main Idea (Staying on Topic)                                                 Irrelevant Sentences (Staying on Topic)

Stretching Sentences (Adding Details)                                                Descriptive Paragraphs (Adding Details)

Story Sequencing                                                                                      Story Elements

Attention Grabbing Openings                                                                Constructing Strong Closing

Punctuation                                                                                           Discussing with Dialogue

Alliteration                                                                                                  Alliteration

Onomatopoeia                                                                                            Onomatopoeia

Parts of A Mini-Lesson

all components of each writing mini-lesson; lesson plan, book list, mentor texts, writing prompts, rubrics, task cards, and journal practice
Within each skill lesson set, you will find: Lesson plan, read aloud options, mentor texts, sample writing prompts, writing rubrics, interactive notebook practice, and task cards.

Each Guided Writing Mini-Lesson comes with many resources.  You will have everything you need to easily teach writing in your primary classroom.

  • Lesson plan
  • Anchor chart activity
  • Student practice options (individual/partner/small group)
  • Small group center ideas
  • Mentor texts (with/without target skill)
  • Interactive notebook activity
  • Task cards
  • Book recommendations
  • Possible writing prompts
  • Writing rubrics
  • Writer’s workshop cards
story sequencing independent student activity
Story Sequencing Student Practice Activity

Instructional Options

There are 3 ways that you can teach your writing block using these Guided Mini-Lessons.  Depending on the teacher, you choose the option that fits best within your schedule and teaching style.

Option 1: Teaching the Skill First Before the Writing Process

  1. Introduce the mini-lesson (read aloud/anchor chart activity/notebook practice)
  2. Review mini-lesson skill (mentor text/partner task cards/student practice activity)
  3. Begin writing process (Brainstorm/Plan)
  4. Writing process (Plan/Rough Draft)
  5. Continue writing process (Rough Draft)
  6. Review mini-lesson/Writing process (Revise/make sure students are focused on adding the mini-lesson skill into their writing)
  7. Finish writing process (Final Draft/Publish)
Teachers can read aloud the mentor text so students can listen for the presence and absence of the skill. Once the mentor text has been read, students can practice adding the skill to simple sentences in a journal, or complete task cards with a partner.

Option 2: Teaching the Skill Before Revising in the Writing Process

  1. Begin writing process (Brainstorm/Plan)
  2. Writing process (Plan/Rough Draft)
  3. Continue writing process (Rough Draft)
  4. Introduce the mini-lesson (read aloud/anchor chart activity/notebook practice)
  5. Review the mini-lesson skill (mentor text/partner task cards/students practice activity)
  6. Writing process/Review mini-lesson (Revise/make sure students are focused on adding the mini-lesson skill into their writing)
  7. Finish writing process (Final Draft/Publish)
punctuation student independent activity (work mats to sort different sentences)
Students will be able to practice each target skill in group and individual activities. These activities are hands-on and allow students to identify the skill as well as, when and how to use it in their writing.

Option 3: Teaching the Skill and Writing Process Each Day

Mini-Lesson                                                                               Writing Process

Introduce skill (suggested read aloud/anchor chart activity)                        Brainstorm/Plan

Review skill (mentor text/notebook practice)                                                   Plan/Rough Draft

Skill review (suggested read aloud/task cards)                                                 Rough Draft

Embed skill (student practice activity)                                                                Revise/Peer Review/Edit

Extend skill (student practice activity)                                                                Final Draft/Publish

As part of each lesson, students will be able to work with you to create an anchor chart that defines and describes the skill. This is an example of the anchor chart that could possibly be used with Main Idea.

These are only some ways you may set-up your writing block in order to include the skills and writing process.  In the end, the routine you choose will be what best fits with your schedule.   I teach using the third option.  It gives my students the chance to practice the skill daily while working on their writing prompt.  This way, they are thinking about the skill during each step of the writing process.

Our Skill Lessons are meant to be short, fun, engaging, practical, and easy to teach.  Whether you teach them before or during the writing process, they will help to strengthen your students written works.

Added Writing Unit Extras

included in the lessons are book lists to prompt student writing
Suggested Read Alouds for Writing Prompts

We have also included a list of books that can be read to get students thinking about a certain writing prompt.  As well as a list of prompts covering three different types of writing. (Narrative, Informative, Procedural). The read alouds have really helped me in teaching writing in primary.  My students have been able to build background and start thinking about the prompt before actually writing.

Variety of children's literature that demonstrates the different writing skills
Each skill lesson comes with a list of books that help students better identify, understand, and see the skill in writing.

In addition, each Lesson Set comes with a list of possible books that help to hi-light the target skill.  Students will be able to listen and identify when they hear or see the skill used in that story.  They are also wonderful books to add to your class library, or use in small group centers for students to read through and find the target writing skill.  And if you do not want to buy the books, we have included  YouTube links for each one. 😉

Rubrics to grade different types of writing
Writing rubrics in each mini-lesson set. There are rubrics for Narrative, Explanatory, and Informational pieces of writing. 

These rubrics can help you to assess your students’ writing.  Use the K-1 or 2-3 rubric, whichever fits your needs best.  They cover the main components of any piece of writing.

Writer's Toolbox cards for students to use when revising their writing
Put these Writer’s Toolbox cards on a ring and have students use them to check to make sure that their writing contains all of the important skills you have taught in your lesson.

During Writer’s Workshop, I have sets of these cards at the editing station.  My students will go to that station either by themselves or with a partner and slowly go through each card.  They check their writing, making sure that each skill is a part of their work.  Sometimes I will remove one or two of the cards if they should not be a part of that writing topic or genre.


Grab Your Guided Writing Mini-Lessons Bundle TODAY!

-Written by Janessa Fletcher

To learn more about this, be sure to catch our professional development where we take a deep dive into our Writing Mini-Lessons Bundle!

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Welcome! I’m Emily, Founder of Education to the Core. We are all about helping K-2 teachers by providing unlimited access to affordable printables for every subject area.