I always included a short unit on writing lists in Writer’s Workshop because children often see adults writing lists, they see that lists are useful and meaningful. Lists are a little easier to write than sentences and stories, but it is hard to add a picture, which means that the children really need to be able to read their own writing. Since lists usually stick to one topic they also help children who have a tendency to write disconnected sentences, lists give them practice concentrating on one big idea.
I like to read the book Wallace’s Lists
Another great book to read about making lists is a Max and Ruby book – Bunny Cakes.
Then we usually brainstorm different kinds of lists that the children might make – and I make a list of them to model the strategy.
Here are some ideas of lists that the children might choose to write.
We talk about how lists are different from other kinds of writing, sometimes each item is numbered, often we don’t use periods. We also talk about how the paper we use for making a list might look different from our other writing paper.
Really writing a list is kind of like a more sophisticated approach to a concept book. In a concept book (check out that blog post if you aren’t familiar with this idea) the children choose a topic, draw pictures and label them. When they make a list they are basically picking a topic and writing down words or phrases – just without the pictures. If you have children who are still really struggling with phonetic spelling they could still draw the pictures with labels instead of just writing.
A great follow up writing unit is to make All About Books next! I’ll be sharing soon!