Writing is not just about putting words on paper; it’s a crucial skill that aids communication, critical thinking and creativity.

Developing writing skills in elementary students is a fundamental part of education. By understanding how writing skills for students develop, you can tailor your teaching and assignments so they are beneficial and fun for everyone.

A great way to encourage writing skills development is by having your students author their own classbook. With your FREE classbook publishing kit from Studentreasures, you can teach your students about the writing process and instill confidence that will last a lifetime!

As educators, it’s essential to foster writing skills early on. You’ll want to provide your students with the tools they need to succeed in the classroom and throughout their lives. Let’s explore how writing skills develop in elementary students and how specific activities can enhance this development.

The Importance of Writing Skills for Students

Writing skills for students are a necessity. They help students express ideas, structure thoughts and enhance vocabulary. Strong writing skills also correlate with better reading comprehension and overall academic performance. Writing is an integral part of the Common Core Standards, emphasizing the need for students to develop these skills from an early age.

Activities such as argumentative writing, research projects and explanatory writing are essential parts of the curriculum to meet Common Core Standards. By integrating these standards into classroom activities, teachers ensure that students develop the necessary skills to meet academic benchmarks.

Stages of Writing Development

Let’s look at the stages of writing development. By understanding each stage, educators can better plan curriculums and activities and meet students where they are at.

Pre-Writing Stage

This is the stage where students learn the basics. They start with scribbles and drawings. However, make no mistake, early marks like these are the foundation of writing, as they learn that symbols represent meanings.

Early Writing Stage

During the early writing stage, students start to form letters and understand that they correspond to sounds. This is where the fun begins because they start to write simple words and sentences.

Developing Writing Stage

Now let’s take it to the next level of learning - the developing writing stage. At this stage, students write more complex sentences and begin to use proper punctuation and grammar. They can express their thoughts more clearly and with far greater feeling. When you reach this point, your students can start to tap into their feelings and imagination.

Fluent Writing Stage

When your students enter the fluent writing stage they can write essays, stories and reports with a clear structure. Their schoolwork becomes a pleasure to read. They can even edit and revise their work. With practice, their writing continues to improve and the sky becomes the limit.

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Five Activities for Writing Skills in the Classroom


To develop your students’ writing skills, you’ll want to look at incorporating engaging writing activities in the classroom.

Below are a few effective activities to develop writing skills for elementary students.

1. Journal Writing

Journals are not only fun but a great way to learn. Encourage students to keep a daily journal.

Keeping a journal helps your students express their thoughts and ideas freely. It further enhances their ability to write coherently. Journaling can be personal or themed based on classroom topics.

Let each student decide how they want to write in their journal. Remember, no two journals should be exactly alike. It’s best to encourage individuality!

2. Story Starters

As a teacher, you know that the hardest part of writing is the beginning. You need a hook to grab the reader’s attention. Your students might struggle with story starters and could end up wasting time they could have spent writing.

There is nothing wrong with giving your students a nudge to get their creativity flowing so they can start the story with a bang. Provide students with prompts or story starters as these can spark their imagination and help them develop narrative skills. For example, “Imagine you found a secret door in your school. What happens next?”

3. Peer Review Sessions

Many students find it challenging to open up and share in a classroom setting, but it can be highly beneficial. Have students share their work with classmates and provide constructive feedback.

Peer review sessions will improve their writing and teach them how to critique each other’s work positively.

4. Writing Workshops

Organize classroom workshops where students can focus on different aspects of writing, such as poetry, fiction or non-fiction.

These workshops can include brainstorming sessions, writing drafts and sharing their work with the class.

A writing workshop can be complex or something simple depending on abilities and grade level.

5. Classbook Projects

Creating a classbook is an exciting and special project. Each student contributes a unique piece of writing and illustrations that are then compiled into a published book that they can have for years to come. This not only improves student writing skills but also instills excitement by giving them the experience of becoming published authors.

Classbook kits are FREE, making it easy for teachers to start this project!


Creative Ways to Improve Writing Skills 

Now let’s look at activities to improve writing skills. If your students are already writing, you’ll want to focus on a curriculum to improve their skills and take them to the next level.

Writing Games

Who doesn’t love games? Elementary schoolers especially adore games and they can learn a lot from even a simple challenge.

Incorporate fun writing games like “word scrambles” or “story cubes.” These games can make learning to write enjoyable and less intimidating for students.

Letter Writing

Does it feel like letter writing has become an obsolete activity? It’s true, not many people write old-school, classic letters anymore. However, this doesn’t mean that letter writing is dead. In fact, it can actually be beneficial to students.

Teach your students the art of letter writing. Whether it’s writing to a pen pal, a thank you note or a letter to a historical figure, this activity helps them understand different writing formats and purposes.

Writing Challenges

Students excel when given a challenge. Why not focus on a writing challenge for the entire class?

Set up challenges like writing a story in 100 words or creating a piece that includes specific words. These challenges push students to think creatively and work within constraints.

Creative Writing Prompts

Give your students a prompt to fuel their creativity.

Use creative prompts to stimulate students’ imagination. Prompts like, “Write about a day in the life of your favorite toy,” can encourage students to think creatively and write engaging stories.

How to Develop Writing Skills

Below are a few activities to develop writing skills:

Graphic Organizers

With the right tools, the sky’s the limit when helping your students develop their writing skills.

Use graphic organizers like story maps and Venn diagrams to help students plan their writing. These tools can help them structure their thoughts and create cohesive pieces.

Click here to see our library of writing graphic organizers for all elementary grade levels.

Sentence Building

Simple exercises can help improve a student’s writing substantially. Start with a simple sentence and gradually add adjectives, adverbs and clauses to make it more complex. This helps students understand sentence structure and grammar.

Read and Write

Reading and writing go hand-in-hand. You can use reading activities to inspire writing.

After reading a story, ask students to write an alternative ending or a sequel. This not only improves comprehension but also stimulates creative thinking.

Publishing Opportunities

Why not go public with your students’ writing skills? Yes, there are publishing opportunities out there for the entire classroom and your students will have a blast participating.

Encourage students to participate in writing contests or submit their work to school newspapers. This provides real-world motivation and a sense of achievement.


The Role of Technology in Writing

In today’s digital age, technology plays a significant role in developing writing skills. Tools like word processors, writing apps and educational software can enhance the writing process.

For instance:

  • Word Processors: Programs like Microsoft Word or Google Docs help students with editing and formatting their work.
  • Writing Apps: Apps like Grammarly or Hemingway can help students improve their grammar and writing style.
  • Educational Software: Programs like Storybird or BoomWriter can make writing more interactive and fun.

Encouraging a Love for Writing

Creating a positive and supportive environment is key to encouraging a love for writing.

Here are some tips for teachers:

  • Display students’ work on bulletin boards or create a classbook. Recognizing their efforts boosts confidence.
  • Allow students to choose their writing topics whenever possible. This increases engagement and ownership of their work.
  • Share your writing process with students. Demonstrating how to brainstorm, draft and revise can clarify the process for them.
  • Give constructive feedback that focuses on strengths as well as areas for improvement. Positive reinforcement is crucial for developing confidence.

Classbook Ideas for Your Classroom

Creating a classbook can be a fantastic project that combines creativity, collaboration and writing skills. It will also bring students together in a positive way. They are creating something that they can take pride in.

A classbook offers a wealth of benefits for students and educators alike. As students work together to contribute their unique pieces, they learn the importance of teamwork and creativity.  They can give each other the encouragement and support needed to truly build something positive and wonderful.

Seeing their work published boosts their confidence and motivation, turning them into budding authors.

Another perk is that classbooks provide a tangible keepsake that students and their families can cherish for years to come. The book captures a genuine snapshot of the classroom’s academic growth.

Building a classbook with students lets educators seamlessly integrate writing activities into their curriculum, meeting educational standards while inspiring a love for writing. It’s a win-win for students, educators and parents.

Here are some classbook ideas:

  • Each student writes a short story and the collection is compiled into a classbook.
  • Gather poems written by students throughout the year into a beautiful poetry book.
  • Compile students’ science experiments, observations and reports into a classbook.
  • Have students write diary entries from the perspective of historical figures or during significant events.
  • Create a classbook that serves as a travel guide to your local area or imaginary destinations created by the students.

The experience of becoming a published author can be incredibly motivating for students. When they see their work in a professionally bound classbook, it instills a sense of pride and accomplishment. This can encourage them to take their writing more seriously and strive to improve their skills.

Developing writing skills in elementary students is a multifaceted process that requires creativity, patience and a variety of engaging activities. By incorporating journal writing, story starters, peer reviews and classbook projects into the classroom, educators can nurture a love for writing and help students become confident, competent writers.

With the right support and encouragement, students can become writers and published authors, ready to share their stories with the world.

Help Your Students Become Published Authors!

A fantastic and engaging way to build writing skills in your classroom is by publishing a book with your class through one of our free classbook publishing kits! 

Use the activities mentioned in this article as a starting point for brainstorming your classbook project. Each student will contribute their writing and illustrations, creating a collective work that is more than the sum of its parts.

For more writing activities, lesson plans and teaching strategies, visit our blog and online Teacher’s Lounge. With these resources and the activities you’ve gathered, you’ll be well-equipped to help your students achieve their educational milestones and become published authors!