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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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Donitta M's picture
Donitta M
teacher

I was just introduced to 'kid writing' this school year. I teach pre-kindergarten and I will start the later part of the year after I have introduce the letters and sounds to my class.

Jessica Upchurch's picture

I have been in a classroom that promoted 'kid writing' and I think that it was very beneficial to the students. It's important for our students to write and to feel confident about their writing. So many students fear writing because they are afraid of misspelling something. By allowing them to use 'kid writing' we get them to write confidently and use their imagination. The correct grammar usage will come later on.

Monica's picture
Monica
Teacher

I'm a second grade teacher and I'm sure it wouldn't be something that we would use in second grade, but what exactly is "kid writing"? Is it just them writing using phonics without assistance?

Ashley Zimmerman's picture

I taught in a Kindergarten classroom for 12 weeks while the regular teacher took maternity leave. Each morning the students took a journal page, drew and picture and tried to write a sentence or two telling about their picture. There was no prompt for them. When finished, they would come to the desk and I would check their work. I would help them to correct errors in their invented spelling but it was never marked wrong. If they are always marked wrong for spelling errors, they will be turned off to writing. If they are able to get ideas down on paper then revising and editing can always be taught during a writing workshop of some sort. I loved the it and so did the students. Eventually we created a rubric for them to follow towards the end of the year when they understood basic writing conventions. They earned stars and worked really hard for stars.

Jennifer Cameron's picture

I teach 5th grade in Virginia - my 5th graders have to take a writing test in March. At the beginning of every year we see how weak our writers are. They are really use to just writing what they want and turning it in. They haven't been taught how to edit their work or even check their spelling. Often they don't apply spelling skills they have learned during word study. I think that writing in Kindergarten is great and all students should be incourage to write everyday. But I think that teachers should sit down with students and talk to them about their wrting, showing them how to look for spelling mistakes and sentences that don't make sense. I don't think Kindergarteners need to edit their work I just think that teachers in every grade should take time to model good writing for there students a often as possible. Some times writing in higher grades is placed to the sign because of the time it takes to teach it properly and because we are all so focused on multiple choices standardized testing. Does this kidwriting have progressive stages for multiple grade levels.

Teresa Ketting's picture

I teach first grade and I encourage my first graders to use "inventive spelling" when they are writing a first draft. I think this is good because some kids get so hung up on how to spell a word, that it inhibits their writing. They are learning the writing process and I encouage them to get their thoughts on paper. They know that I will be checking their papers with them for capitalization and punctuation. I am happy if they are close, and they know what the word is that they mean on their paper. The big issues that I want my first graders to master is sentence writing, and using the capitalization and punctuation after each thought. I think the inventive spelling, and kidwriting is something that students hopefully will outgrow as they learn more phonic skills and learn to apply them. I do model sounding out words for students when I know they know all the sounds. Sometimes I feel kids do not annunciate properly and as a result they can't apply phonics correctly. I think that this modeling will eventually build their confidence in their writing skills. Another strategy that many teachers have used is to have students circle words that they think are misspelled in their writing. That way they won't get so hung up about spelling, and the teacher knows that the student knows the word is incorrect.

cbkinder's picture

I think kid writing is wonderful. I work with my students in a small group and give them writing prompts. They then kid write and draw a picture of their response. After they explain it I then go over the words with them and correct it. I talk to them about the spelling of different words and help them to phonetically sound out each word. I then have them circle the word if they believe it is wrong. I have seen such improvement in their writing and spelling since we began kid writing. My students are now excited to write and be able to express themselves.

Amy Bell's picture

Research supports the fact that spelling is a developmental process - most children acquire spelling skills in a pretty consistent way. Our job as teachers is to allow children to spell developmentally while at the same time teach them strategies and skills to help their spelling continue to progress. Encouraging children to write and giving them ample opportunities to express themselves is so important - I teach first grade and my children would never bother to write, let alone develop a love for it, if I corrected their spelling all the time!

Heather Holguin's picture

I co-teach in a fifth grade classroom. At the end of the year the children will be given a state writing assessment. Getting these students to write at the beginning of the year was like pulling teeth. Some of the children get so caught up on spelling and conventions that they are afraid to let their imaginations flow and just get their ideas down on paper. They want everything to be correct so they just don't write. I think "kid writing" is a wonderful idea. It focuses more on the children's creativity rather than the grammar in their papers. By encouraging these young authors to just write at a young age will help their writing in the future years.

Joyce Samson's picture

I teach 2nd grade and I encourage sounding out words in writer's notebooks or on a sloppy copy, because it's important that they are getting their thoughts written without worrying about mechanics. Finger spacing is still an issue with some children at this age so I do stress that they need to be able to read their own writing. As they go through the writing process and revise and edit a story, that's when their spellings and punctuation need to be considered. When I conference with a child, I choose a few things for them to concentrate on rather than make corrections throughout their whole writing. If they've been taught a skill or a spelling, then I'm expecting that skill in their writing. The invented spelling used in earlier grades helps the children be uninhibited with writing and they come to me ready to move forward in their skills because they already think of themselves as writers. At all levels I think children should be aware of dictionary spelling vs. invented spelling and grow into knowing when to use both.

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