Writing Toolkits For Young Writers
Parents and teachers have lots of ways to help kids write. And what works for one child won’t work for every child. For educators who are working with a variety of learning styles, building a single lesson plan or method can be daunting. This is where a good writing toolkit can help.
Toolkits are a great way to organize ideas and materials. With the right tools at your fingertips, it’s easier to adapt to challenges and keep kids on task.
What Is A Writing Toolkit?
A toolkit is a set of instructions, materials, and tools to keep you prepared for the task at hand. For some, a toolkit can be a very personal set of items. An example would be my own writing toolkit which consists of:
- A notebook
- 2 pens & highlighter
- A laptop & charger
- A Bluetooth keyboard
- Post-it notes
- A stress ball
These items all live in a small bag and I can easily grab and my entire writing set up is ready to go with me. Some of the items have important, personal uses. Like my keyboard; I hate using laptop keyboards, so when I can, I sit further back and use my connected keyboard.
Or my stress ball, which is just a simple, squishy ball, is my most important way to distract myself. Every writer needs a way to stop writing without fully leaving the writing session. My way is a stress ball.
Building A Writing Toolkit
If you’re an educator or parent, a writing toolkit might be the perfect way to help guide your kid’s writing exercises. One example I found on the web, from Jennifer Findley’s teaching blog, includes a variety of cue cards. These include short prompts, grammar tips, definitions, and much more.
Do you know what else makes a great addition to a writing toolkit? Prompt worksheets. And you’re in luck because we recently created a bunch of these! A simple prompt worksheet is one page with a writing prompt at the top. Kids respond to the prompt on the page; it’s a great way to practice writing or get the creative juices flowing.
If you want even more ideas for your writing toolkit, here’s a terrific collection from Pinterest to inspire you.
Another awesome idea is to create a reusable toolkit. All you need is:
- A binder
- Clear plastic sleeves
- Dry erase markers
Create the guides, prompts, or any other elements your kids might use on the paper and insert them into the sleeves. Now they can write directly on the sleeve with their marker and you can erase it later to reuse! That’s a versatile writing toolkit!
Guides To Keep Focused
A set of guides will keep your kids from getting stuck while they write.
Let’s say you’re preparing a curriculum that focuses on grammar. You could make a card that defines the elements of a sentence (verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc.). A set of cards with samples of incomplete sentences might help kids more easily identify grammatical errors in the future.
Another important part of any writing toolkit is the tools to actually write! Some items to include that could easily fit in a pencil pouch or box:
- Pens or pencils
- Pencil grip
- Markers or colored pencils
- Dry erase pens
- Sticky notes or index cards
- Small notebook
Customizing Your Toolkit
A writing toolkit filled with guides, lists of materials, and even a reading list is a great start for any child. But the true power of your writing toolkit comes from customizing it.
The first step in customizing your writing toolkit is to think about the purpose and goals of the kit. Is it meant to help keep kids focused on writing? Or to support a curriculum?
If you’re supporting a curriculum, the guides you include in the toolkit should support the lessons you’ll be teaching. Lesson on grammar? Add a couple of cards on grammar basics. Your toolkit doesn’t need to be complicated, but it should have a clear purpose.
Support Writing Habits
I love the idea of toolkits because they help reinforce and organize almost any job or hobby. Even putting together the toolkit is an exercise in learning and understanding your task at hand.
Writing toolkits, particularly for parents and teachers, are the perfect way to organize a lesson and support good writing habits.