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    Steve Dunn Writing
    By Amanda K.

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    Steve Dunn is a former teacher/principal from Southern California who has devised, among other things, an absolutely phenomenal writing program for all grade levels including Kindergarten. This is my first year using it, but my neighbor teacher is on her second year, and the results that we have both seen have been incredible. Not only do my kids love writing it this year, but they can tackle a writing assignment easily with a high degree of success. I truly cannot believe the work my kids are turning out this year. We spend about 45 minutes writing 4 days per week, and it's our favorite time of the day.

    Basically, at the first grade level, you start out the year modeling one-sentence writing topics about anything that has happened to you recently. Each day, the teacher does a model write, and then the kids write. We start by thinking about the topic, choosing a topic, drawing a picture about the topic, thinking of a sentence, saying the sentence out loud as we write so the child doesn't forget the sentence, and then rereading so we didn't forget anything. Steve Dunn has a great way of getting kids to write whole sentences, not forgetting any words or punctuation. After that, you slowly move into two-sentence writing with a beginning and an end, and then into three-sentence stories with beginning, middle, and end. We finished this step in December (we started the program on the first day of school in early August). My kids now are working daily on the writing process, from Draft to Edit to Revise to Publishing. They are pumping out 4 and 5 sentence stories already, doing their own editing and revising. The program is unbelievably simple, and the results are great.

    That's the basics of the program, but it's really difficult to explain the whole thing without actually seeing a teacher model a lesson, because the whole thing is pretty intricate and difficult to learn (although once you know how, it's really simple). Plus, he's really focused on copyright. Steve Dunn will come to your district and do conferences at each grade level, which is how I learned about it. Whatever we paid for it, it was completely worth it. He models lessons, gives you handouts that you can use for posters around your room (many of which are pretty essential to the program). His website is If your school or district can afford this, I highly recommend it. I have never seen my kids so in love with writing, nor have I seen such outstanding papers from first graders. He came two summers ago, and we had to have him come back last summer because so many teachers missed the first conference and realized that they really wanted to use the program in their rooms.

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