Writing Practice for Kindergarteners
Writing is a very important part of kindergarten. Being able to sound out words and write using inventive spelling (the sounds they hear) is an important skill. The more the children practice sounding out words and writing what they hear, the more automatic writing and reading become.
The first step in writing is being able to recognize letter sounds and know the sounds the letters make. Practicing sounds is critical for kindergarten students. Being able to apply the sounds to writing is the next developmental step in becoming a writer.
Children typically hear the beginning sound in a word first. It is normal for a beginning writer to only hear the initial sound and to only write that sound. Next, kids typically hear the last sound in a word. For example, a child on this step may write ‘dg’ or dog. The middle sounds and vowel sounds are the final sounds children hear and are the most difficult to master. This takes time and practice!
In class, we use ‘turtle talk’ or we ‘stretch our words like bubble gum’ to help the kids say words slowly and to listen for the sounds they hear that make up words when writing. Next, the kids write the letters that go with the sounds they hear. I always remind the kids that their ‘kid spelling’ is fantastic and not to worry about spelling perfectly, just write what they hear.
Practice at home can help your child with writing. The more the children practice, the easier and more comfortable the new skill of writing becomes. With that in mind, I have a few practice ideas to share!
· Keep a journal at home. In class, we draw a picture first and talk about their pictures. This talking first approach helps the kids think of things to write! Next, we write a sentence (or more if your child is ready or willing) to go with the picture. I encourage the kids to spell their ‘popcorn words’ correctly as they are hanging in our room. We use finger spaces in between the words (itis okay if your child initially skips this step as it is developmental and comes with time). After writing, I remind the kids to put an ‘end mark’ which is a period, question mark, or an exclamation. After the sentence is written, I write the ‘adult’ spelling under the kids ‘kid’ spelling so they can compare and see how close they are with their writing.
o It is okay if your child writes only a few words instead of a sentence at first. It is also fine to help your child sound out their words but please don’t tell your child how to spell the words. Just encourage your child to write what theyhear! J
· Another fun way to practice writing is writing in everyday situations. Making a grocery list, writing to a pen pal or a family member, and leaving notes for family members at home are fun ways to practice writing.
· Using dry erase or chalk boards to practice writing can be fun and are a change from typical paper/pencil writing. The kids love them at school and tend to be extra ‘risk takers’ when using them because of the ability to easily erase.One of the most important parts of kindergarten is writing. Together, we can help your child love to read and write.Happy Writing!