Setting up a writing center for a 6 year old

Why set up a writing center?

At home, a writing center provides an inviting environment so that your child can access writing tools, explore different materials and build a habit of writing. Since I am teaching Kai and Kei to read and write, I do Guided Writing lessons where I teach the skills, and let them practice. However, I feel that it is equally important to let children have fun with writing in a non-structured manner where they are free to produce writing pieces. By providing an organized space with many different types of materials in your home, your child would have a comfortable space to write.

What is a good age to start using a writing center?

You can have a writing center for children as young as 3. The materials would look very different for a 3-year-old than a 6-year-old. I wanted our writing center at home to be more purposeful and intentional, and so I waited until Kai is equipped with some writing skills and has explored all the different writing genres so that he can be more independent at his writing center.

What materials should we include in a writing center?

My writing center is catered specifically to my child’s needs. I include materials that Kai is familiar with and resources that we have used so that this space can support his independence in writing. The writing center is also right next to his reading corner so that he can access books if he needs them for inspiration or reference. I also keep everything labeled to help Kai put his materials away.

I am sharing all my labels here:

Here are some materials I have in Kai’s Writing Center:

1. Publishing paper of various styles

This follows our BEGINNING MIDDLE AND END format, with 3 pages for each section. It is printed like a booklet so that Kai can decorate the cover like a real book.

I’m sharing these with you!

Booklet versions:

Ninja paper

Full A4 versions:

2. Graphic organisers / templates

In case Kai wants to fill out any of the graphic organizers we have done together, these are readily available for him! All of them can be downloaded on this blog (here)

3. Bookmarks and cards

Both Kai and Kei love making things for their friends, and since these items involve writing, I’ve included them in our writing center.

4. Strips of coloured paper

These are papers I prepared for Kai and Kei’s #rollandwrite activities (here), and so I’ve added the colored papers here in case they have any other use for them!

5. White boards / Sketchbooks

I imagine there will also be lots of drawing happening at the writing center because Kai likes to add illustrations to his stories. I have prepared whiteboards for doodling and sketchbooks that he uses as part of his bedtime routines.

6. Word book / Bilingual Dictionary

I used this Word Book when I taught in the Grade 3 classroom. It is meant to be a resource student uses when they want to check the spelling of an unfamiliar word during writing. Just like a regular dictionary, the words are arranged alphabetically in this word book, but only frequently-used words appropriate for this age level are included. It is never too early to get a child into the habit of checking a word book instead of asking an adult for help!

I purchased this wonderful bilingual dictionary from My Story Treasure (here). I thought this is a great addition to both our book corner and writing center because of the clearly labeled pictures in pinyin, English and Chinese.

7. Writing tools

I have, of course, added the usual writing tools such as pencils, markers, pencil pencils in this rotating pencil holder which I purchased on Lazada (here). I also purchased a small set of drawers for less frequently used materials such as paper clips, stickers, stamps, envelopes, etc.

8. Desktop Reminders on acrylic L shaped stands

With many children still doing online learning in some parts of the world, it might be helpful to have reminders easily accessible so your child can build independence. I have been using these acrylic stands for a few months. Kai uses mainly the Japanese Hiragana and Katakana chart when he writes in Japanese. I have posted about this on my Instagram here

How can we store our writing center?

I store the paper resources in stackable trays which I purchased at Daiso.

I keep the smaller stationery items in stackable drawers similar to these ones (here)

I don’t have a desk for Kai, but I find that at this age, a study tray (here) works better as we can move this around the room.

How should we guide children to use the writing center?

For the first few times, I would try to create a few fun things together with your child and get them familiar with all the materials. I told both Kai and Kei that this is a special space set up just for them, and materials need to be put back when the work is done.

I also put the vowel team posters and examples of types of writing Kai has done to encourage him to be independent.

UPDATE: It’s only been a week, but these are the two stories that Kai has written at his writing center! The superhero template seems to be a hit!

Here are my other literacy-related posts:

Published by Ms Claudia L. Kimura

Apple Distinguished Educator, Class of 2015 Primary school teacher, technology coordinator Not just a regular mom, but a teacher-mom Mom of 2 boys, stepmom of 3 boys

2 thoughts on “Setting up a writing center for a 6 year old

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