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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Kid Writing (Inventive Spelling)

Kid Writing (Inventive Spelling)

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I am a kindergarten teacher and I attended a workshop over the summer called "Connecting Literacy Content, Teaching, and Learning. During the two day workshop, kid writing was brought up. My feeling on "kid writing" was that it helps the students with their phonics skills. I have my class do "kid writing" weekly and we make their writings into books, send them home to be viewed by their parents, and returned for their portfolios. According to the speech therapist that was also in attendance, she felt it was not good for students to use "kid writing". Anyone have an opinion that they would like to share?


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Linda's picture

I teach in a pre-K program and, though I have never called it kid writing, we have the children "write" on their art projects and at the writing table. At my age level I don't know if you would actually call that "kid writing" because some of the students are not even forming letters yet, they just scribble. When we sit as a group and review our day the children will often bring their art projects/writings to table. At that time, when they "read" to me what they have written I then write the actual words on the paper. Is that a good idea or am I off on the kid writing end of it?

Shasta Sharp's picture
Shasta Sharp
Kindergarten Teacher and Pre-Kindergarten Teacher from Adrian, Texas

Okay, I teach a combined class of Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten. I am really interested in learning more about "kid writing" so that I can implement it in my classroom. I would really appreciate more information so that I cam use it in conjunction with my journal writing time that I have in a learning center.

Shasta Sharp's picture
Shasta Sharp
Kindergarten Teacher and Pre-Kindergarten Teacher from Adrian, Texas

I teach a combined class of Kindergarten and Prekindergarten in Adrian, Texas. I am anxious to gain more information about kid writing. I already use journal writing in my classroom and I am wondering if kid writing is along the same lines. I would love to gain more information so that I can implement it in my classroom.

Linda's picture

Shasta could you share what your journals are like? Are your students actually writing in the journals? Are your pre-K students writing words or just letters and scribbles? Then, do you re-write what they tell you it says? I find this very interesting and might want to incorporate it into my own pre-k classroom.

Hannah's picture

I teach kindergarten and we write in our journals daily in my classroom. One of my favorite things to do it look back over their writing after several weeks of school. There is always great improvements in their writing.

Debbie's picture

I have been a kindergarten teacher for many years and I incorporate many writing activities that encourage "kid writing" aka "inventive spelling". Because kindergarteners are at the age where they are learning letter sounds and are beginner writers, I believe that giving the children the opportunity to sound out words and write them as they hear them is a great way to encourage children to record their thoughts, stories and ideas on paper the way that is comfortable for them. I personally do not correct their work. Typically I am able to translate the sentence by sounding it out, just like they would, or I would ask the child to read their sentence to me. I also think that this is a great way to track children's progress over time as they become aware of the correct spelling of words.

Patty King's picture

I teach Kindergarten and I think kid writing is great as well. Every day I have my students sit on the carpet and we talk about what makes a sentence (capitalization, punctuation, a complete thought). I will talk about different sentences that I could write. I finally choose a sentence and they help me write it on the board using kid writing. I stress the importance of using capitalization and punctuation and putting space between the words. Then I have them close their eyes and think of a sentence that would like to write in their journal. When I call their name they come up, get their journal and tell me their sentence. They then go to their seat and try to write their sentence. Then they can draw a picture of their sentence. I walk around the room commenting and observing what they are writing. I date each page and write their sentence correctly so they can see how much they have progressed throughout the year. My students love this. Sometimes there will be something extra going on and we will not get to journal time and they are so disappointed. I think it helps them listen to the individual sounds in the words. I also love that they enjoy it and do not feel pressured.

Jennifer's picture

I am a Kindergarten teacher also and have to say I do love it for the students. At first I was leary of it - I taught first grade previously. I have seen such growth in my students from the beginning of the year, it is amazing. Kidwrite makes them slow down, listen for the sounds. They are leaving spaces between words and many of them are already writing as good as most first graders at the beginning of the year. Each of my students keep an alphabet linking chart in their journals. If they know the sound they look on the chart if they need to identify a letter. I showed the journals during conferences and parents and I alike were amazed at the progress. I do have students who absolutely do not want to spell a word unless it is correct. I am still working with them. They continuously erase and rewrite or sit not writing at all. Any suggestions? I put stars above all the correct letters and tell them - wow look how you spelled that so well!

Jennifer Mendoz Ybanez's picture

I have taught kindergarten and I used "kid writing" every chance I got. I think it is a good way to get students excited about writing. I also have a word wall up and they would use a lot of those words as well.

Linda's picture

Patty - your Kid Writing sounds like a great activity that your students love to participate in! I like the fact that you let them illustrate their sentences as well as write them. I'm glad you say that you write their sentence correctly because I tend to do that too and did not know if that was acceptable or not.

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