Teaching Writing: Grades K-3

Teaching Writing: Grades K-3

Learn how to nurture student writers in the early elementary classroom and teach them skills that will be useful for a lifetime. This course examines the developmental stages of writing and show you how to foster your students' skills and growth as young authors.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
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From the time that a young child picks up a crayon and makes marks on a paper to when an older child puts the finishing sentence on an autobiography or a poem, a young author is developing the skills that will be used for a lifetime. In this course, you will examine the developmental stages of writing, from the "scribbling" stage to the "standard spelling" stage, so that you can foster your students' skills and gently nudge them to grow as authors. This course is full of practical ideas that you can use to motivate students in your classroom.

You will look at tools such as the writer's workshop, the six traits of writing, and genre studies for ways to teach students about writing. You will see how each of these tools can be used by teachers to encourage early elementary writers. As your students become better writers, they will become better readers, and you will see how well reading and writing instruction work together to support each other.

The course also covers ways to support the writers who struggle, whether due to a lack of motivation, fine motor skills, or ideas. You will also explore techniques for getting parents involved so that they can help with writing at home. By the end of the course, you will have a new enthusiasm for teaching that will ignite your students' love of writing.


What makes teaching writing so important for K-3 students? Your first lesson introduces the relevance of writing instruction in early elementary school. You will learn some practical ways to grow writers in your classroom and learn about providing role models and celebration and meeting students at their developmental and skill levels.

This lesson delves into the connections between oral language and writing. You will learn how varying literacy experiences at home affects young children's work when they first enter elementary school. You will also examine strategies for helping students move from oral language to writing.

This lesson explores the developmental stages of writing, starting with the "scribbling" stage and moving on to the "letter-like symbols" stage. Then you will visit a kindergarten classroom and a resource room to get some great tips for working with these young writers.

This lesson focuses on the "strings of letter" stage and the "beginning sounds" stage. Just like you did in the last lesson, you will visit a kindergarten class and resource room to see how teachers work with students in these two stages.

When it comes to writing, young risk-takers are ready to make bold choices when they put their pens to the paper. This lesson introduces two developmental stages: "consonants represent words" and "initial, middle, and final sounds". You will also learn some new strategies to help your students achieve success.

This lesson explores the final two stages of developmental writing: "transitional" and "standard spelling". The standard spelling stage is the goal for all students, although they'll always be works in progress as they move toward this goal.

There are many ways to hold a successful writer's workshop. That's what this lesson will focus on: examining the writer's workshop as a tool to meet your students' diverse needs. You will also learn the three components of a successful writer's workshop: the mini-lesson, writing time, and sharing time.

What does great writing look like? There's no easy answer to this question, of course. And that's just what this lesson focuses on—defining and teaching great writing traits. You will learn the six traits of writing: ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions.

This lesson focuses on writing conferences. You will be introduced to the different conferences types and how to effectively conduct your own conferences with students at varying developmental levels. You will also learn about rubrics and how to use them to assess student writing.

How do you help students who struggle with some of the physical aspects of writing? In this lesson, you will learn how to navigate roadblocks such as trouble with fine motor skills, posture, and stamina. You will also explore specific tactics for reversing letter reversals.

This lesson is all about genres: narrative, expository, procedural, persuasive, and transactional. You will learn how genre study motivates students and increases writing and reading comprehension skills. You will also examine the components of each genre and incorporate them into their classroom instruction.

The final lesson focuses on working with parents to support their young writers at home. You will learn how to have productive conferences with parents about their children's writing. You will also examine answers to some common (and often tough.) parent questions.



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Sara Hardin

Sara Hardin is an educator with a focus on special education and language studies. She has taught special education at the elementary level for over a decade. Sara holds a BA in French, and lived in France to study at the university level. In 2000, she earned her master's degree in special education.


This course was helpful and beneficial in understanding how to teaching writing to the primary grades. The instructor was knowledgable in the content and gave practical and useful strategies that can be used in the classroom to help our young learners develop into authors.

Thank you for this course! I found the information interesting and very helpful. I was thrilled to learn so many ways that I can help my daughter, who is struggling with fine motor skills. I also got a kick out of the games that we could play in the lessons to make sure we understood the material.

I really enjoyed this course. I learned more about writing than I knew as a teacher. I also felt like I could become an author too. I liked the practical ways she demonstrated the lesson with glimpses into the classrooms. Very good class!

Thank you! I appreciated the organization and practicality of this course. I feel like I have a good grasp of the basics of teaching writing along with the resources to go further. The flow was helpful for me and it covered the relevant areas- theory, stages, writing workshops, genres, writing tools, assessments and how to conference with parents. I appreciated the examples of the classroom activities. It is always helpful for me to see how something is put into practice.

I really enjoyed this course! It was exactly what I was looking for in an online course. The instructor provided a great balance of presenting new information about teaching writing and showing us great ways to implement this new information in our classrooms. I have taken a few online courses in order to renew my teaching license and this course was definitely my favorite.

This was a very interesting and helpful course! The content was relevant to teaching writing in the classroom. Each lesson was organized, easy to read, and filled with great ideas for writing activities to do with students. I like how the instructor included the "Teachers in Action" section of each lesson because it provided real-world examples of how to incorporate what we learned into a classroom setting. The matching games were a fun way to review the new information before taking the quiz. The instructor always responded to discussion posts and gave useful advice. I will be referring back to these lessons in the future when I need ideas for teaching writing.

This course was a great exercise for me in reviewing some areas in which I already feel comfortable teaching, while it also provided new information and infused my database of lesson plans with fresh ideas. I am currently out of the classroom and this course made me want to go back to teaching soon. It helped me grow the confidence necessary to apply.

I really enjoyed this course and thought the author's ideas and suggestions were all relevant and useful, and her willingness to respond and give further thoughtful and practical suggestions within the discussion area was extremely helpful to me. I've learned a lot and appreciate having a few more tools in my teaching tool box. My students have already benefitted and will hopefully continue to do so.

This was an absolutely wonderful course! I learned so many new writing strategies; and the writing strategies I already had in place were reinforced and improved upon. I looked forward to every lesson. I was sad to see this course end. Sara Hardin is a fantastic instructor. She made all concepts taught extremely interesting and easy to understand. Thank you, Sara!

This was the best class I have ever take online. It motivated and energized me to be a better educator. The lessons were informative, creative and applicable the day competed I them. Assignments were practical and easily applied. I looked forward to the lessons and will definitely be taking more from this instructor.

Self-Guided Course Code: T9298
Instructor-Moderated Course Code: twk