It is time well spent to allow students to play with titles. Without the pressure of complete sentences, capital letters, and punctuation marks, students can just focus on specific word choice and voice. First teach students about the types of titles. Have them look at their favorite picture books/big books. It seems rather insignificant, but there is great power in teaching young writers about titles. For a kindergartner, the title is the first beginning they write. Eventually, as writers develop, a title becomes the attention-grabbing words before the first sentence.
Discuss the different kinds:
- Character Title–Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge; Fancy Nancy; The Recess Queen
- Repeat a specific line from the story–If You Give a Mouse a Cookie; Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type; Hey, Little Ant; Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild!
- One Word Title–Chrysanthemum; Scranimals; Fireflies!
- Identify a key object or thing–The Magic Hat; Piggie Pie; Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse
There are so many other types of titles. Just spend a couple weeks noticing titles and discussing favorites. Maybe make a list of title types and keep it in the room.
Then have students play with titles in their own pieces. They can look through previous writings and create 2-3 different titles for a single piece. Have them circle their favorites.
Or you may like Jenny Vidimos’ idea. She gives her first graders at Bailly Elementary (Chesterton, IN) different pictures and has them write different titles for each one. No draft, no story, just a title to go with the picture. What a great idea for targeting the isolated skill!