Writing Development in 5 Year Olds (Prep Students in Australia-1st Year of Formal Education) 5 Year Olds Can Explain their Writing Development!

5 year olds (first year of formal schooling in Australia) can write, can talk about their learning and can explain their learning growth to others. This age group continues to amaze me with their ability to understand their learning journey and talk about what they have learnt. They are quite specific about their gains and very willing to share even the smallest details. They recognise their areas of need and will work hard to develop skills, as long as they know what they are. Young children need to be in an environment that encourages them to ‘take risks’ and talk about what they are doing. Talking, explaining, writing, thinking, making, leading, participating are all actions and require interactions.

This doesn’t just happen. As a teacher, I’m always looking for ways for my students to lead the learning. To explain a taught concept to others is powerful. Sharing our knowledge with others, helps others to learn as well as ourselves. My students, and will reiterate 5 year olds, have just participated in their first ‘Three Way Conferences’(parent-teacher-student). Using their portfolio which contains work samples that display their growth works. My students happily showed their families their work and explained their progress. Some quietly spoke and shared the speaking with me and others did most of the talking. Time for teacher/parent discussion was also given and it was up to the parents to decide if the student remained for the whole time. Most students participated for the whole time.

The following photos show a student’s development in journal writing. Interactive writing, modelled writing, shared writing and independent writing are strategies that are planned into writing sessions. Spelling rules are taught through focus sessions and are a natural part of learning to write. My students know what an ‘e’ does at the end of a word, how sounds change and can explain these concepts in their own words. New strategies and concepts are taught in context, not as an isolated study.


Writing sample of  student A written in February.


Writing sample of student A written in July (this week).


Writing sample of student B written in February.


Writing sample of student B written in July (this week)

Each student’s journey is different, but the writing development among my students is inspiring. What do I think has enabled my students to take this journey? I believe that the Language Experience approach combined with Early Years writing strategies are the key to developing confident and capable young writers.

Next post: Interactive Writing – The next level.

Cheers Nina


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2 responses to “Writing Development in 5 Year Olds (Prep Students in Australia-1st Year of Formal Education) 5 Year Olds Can Explain their Writing Development!

  1. averil2

    Hi Peta,
    Most of my students know some letter names, but not sounds. Some can recognise letters, but most can’t. Many can’t identify initial sounds and final sounds, but we are at the beginning. I actually prefer this. I’ve made some modifications to how I’m introducing THRASS, but it’s a spelling strategy which has to be woven into my Language Experience Approach. It’s a reference point. Have you read my post on what my writing sessions look like? I use the Early Years strategies, however, having said that, building oral language is crucial now.
    Thanks for commenting. I’ll post something about my program soon. Enjoy your Preps – the first 6 weeks are tough – a bit of a blur really- but you’ll love it!
    Cheers Nina

  2. Peta Taylor

    Hi I have been reading some of the information on your site and I am very facinated. I have started teaching prep for the first time this year and I am wondering if you could share with me how you structure your daily timetable and activities in your classroom. Any ideas that you could share with me would be great. We also use thrass as a phonics tool with our children in our school. How much do you use this in your daily teaching? Another question do most of your students come to school already knowing their letters and sounds?



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