Teachers want to provide students with the paper choices they will need. I suggest the following to support their growth as narrative writers:
- Make booklets out of 3-5 sheets of paper stapled together. This supports the kids to write stories with a beginning, middle, and end. It also gives them a way to physically touch the pages, rehearse their story out loud, and envision their story on the pages.
- Make a space for the name and date to go on the top. You'll want to keep track of how many books your students write in a week AND if they go back to revise their stories.
- If your students currently draw and label their stories, you may want to give them paper with just one or two lines per page as this paper will support their growth as emergent writers. Once students can label pictures with initial and final consonants, encourage them to write their stories on the lines too.
- Students can use more lines as they become more fluent and write more words. As soon as you see a student filling up the two lines, encourage the 4 line paper. As soon as they fill up the 4 line paper, encourage them to use the 8 or 11 line paper.
- If your school uses Handwriting Without Tears, feel free to make the lines match the same kind of lines your students use to practice the letter formation in handwriting time.
- You will probably have a mix of these paper choices in the baskets at your writing center - perhaps a basket for each type so students can choose the paper that feels just right for them.
See pages 33-34 of The Nuts and Bolts small book inside the Units of Study for Primary Writing Workshop by Lucy Calkins to answer more questions about paper choices in the primary writing workshop.