Pre-K Literacy Portfolios

Things to include in student portfolios for literacy

Click the thumbnails to view a slideshow with larger images. Read an explanation of each portfolio sample below.

Writing Samples

These are child-initiated writing samples the children have made at center time, usually in the writing center. I save at least four per year.

Name Writing

Have the child write their name on a piece of paper to the best of their ability. Even if they don’t know how, ask them to do scribble writing, so that you have something down on paper. You can make notes on a label to attach to the back: what hand did the child write with, how did the child pick up the pencil, how did the child hold the pencil, was the child able to identify the letters in their name? I save a name writing sample four times a year to show progress.

Copying Words

Many children copy words from picture-word cards in our writing center.

Write-the-Room Samples

This is another example of a child-initiated writing sample. During the second half of the year, I have these Write-the-Room sheets available as a choice in the writing center. The kids love to use these to survey their friends, and it’s great writing practice. Here’s the printable Write-the-Room sheet.

Writing on Dramatic Play Forms

When we have stores, restaurants, or doctor’s offices, we have different kinds of forms the children can write on. They may scribble on them or write letters or even words.

Painting Letters

Many children paint letters at the art easel with tempera paint.

Letter Identification and Formation

Children used clipboards and searched the classroom finding letters that were in their names and not in their names. When they found a letter, they wrote it in one section of the paper. This shows their handwriting development and some letter recognition.

Story Retelling

Children illustrate and dictate a retelling of a story. I save at least one story retelling from each grading period.
The retellings in the photos are:
“The Paperboy”, by Dav Pilkey
“Owl Babies”, by Martin Waddell
“Lunch with Aunt Augusta”, by Emma Chichester Clark


Blank books are provided for children to draw and “write” their own books.


The children draw pictures and dictate words for a biography book.

Answering Questions about Stories

I used to type the children’s answers to the questions, print them out, and save them in a portfolio. To save time, I now just record the child answering the questions on a digital voice recorder, then connect the recorder to the computer to save them. Recordings can be saved on a CD-R for each child and placed in their portfolio.


We used pictures of daily routine activities (from The children sequenced them in the order of their day.

Observational Assessments/ Anecdotal Records

Shows interest in books and stories

Observe the child in the Reading Center. Does the child hold the book right-side up? Does the child follow print with finger? Does the child “pretend read”? Does the child recite predictable books? Does the child listen to books on tape? Observe the child at Circle Time. Does the child listen attentively to the stories? Does the child interrupt stories? Is the child able to answer questions about the story?

Shows interest in writing

Observe the child in the Writing Center. Does the child choose the writing center and writing utensils? Does the child draw pictures or attempt to write letters? Does the child write classmates’ names? Does the child ask for words to be spelled?