Young students are very familiar with lists–shopping lists, to-do lists, wish lists. Consequently, primary teachers should take advantage of this writing format, as it is a fabulous precursor to sentence writing.
A favorite type of list-writing is the nonfiction ABC book. It’s a great resource for learning all about a topic with specific details and information presented in alphabetical order.
After reading several examples as mentor texts, have students create their own ABC list about a recent field trip or content-area of study. Listing provides a chronicle of an event or review of information.
Your role during these list-writing activities will likely be to reignite student brainstorming, prompting students to think about a different perspective or avenue on a particular subject. Create whole-class lists or have students work in small groups to make them.
A list-making literacy station is great to assess after-reading comprehension. Simply laminate an ABC Chart and jot the text title in the center. Such lists could even spill over into a class ABC book. (See grade 1 example.)This kind of list-writing reinforces learning.
With all this list-writing, students are practicing their phonics skills (conventions) and developing their writer’s vocabulary (word choice), while also learning how to develop an idea (ideas). Consequently, when students are ready to embark on sentence-writing conventions, they will be armed with LOTS to say.