In a qualitative study of pre-planned and organized writing activities involving five-year-olds in two Norwegian day care centers, a specific preschool teacher practice was observed: the preschool teacher would visualize letters and words for the children; she would make appropriate writing materials available, but would refrain from giving the children an explicit writing task; she would comment on writing the children themselves initiated during the activity and she would open up for an atmosphere of humour. This article explores how this teacher practice can be found to support children’s opportunities for engaging with writing in different ways, demonstrating how children’s writing is embedded in institutional practice. The approach is to analyze an episode taken from one of the organized writing activities and two texts written by two five-year old girls during this activity. The article builds on a sociocultural perspective on learning and writing that highlights the value of scaffolding children’s learning to write, and applies Tharp and Gallimore’s category system of the means of assistance as well as van Manen’s ideas about the tact of teaching.

Keywords: Norwegian day care centers, socio-cultural perspective, writing activities, teacher practice, five-year-olds’ writing