Kindergarten: Writing Milestones
Your kindergartener is beginning to realize that he is a writer. Many kindergarteners love to write, and they naturally weave writing activities into their play. They pretend to be a waiter writing down customers' orders on a notepad and create signs for a "post office." While not all kindergarteners write lengthy stories, most can draw a picture and write a one-word label for their picture. When your kindergartener sees himself as a writer, he is more likely to practice.
Kindergarteners use invented spelling. Kindergarteners use what they know about letters and sounds to write messages using "invented spelling," or spelling words by the way they sound. By learning to "stretch out" the words to help them hear individual sounds, kindergarteners can label a picture. Your child may write "BR" for "bear" or "I MAD MI BD" for "I made my bed." Kindergarteners generally use mostly consonants in their writing, as vowel sounds are harder for them to discriminate from one another. Using invented spelling actually helps your child practice the letter-sound relationships she needs for reading.
Kindergarteners can write some words the "right" way. In addition to writing words according to the sounds they hear, kindergarteners are developing a bank of words that they write frequently and can spell the "right" way. These words might include their own names and names of friends and family members. Writing these words over and over the correct way will help your child be able to read them too.
Kindergarteners can read what they have written. Although you may have difficulty deciphering the writing of your kindergartener, he can most likely read the message he has written. In school, many kindergarteners take pride in sharing their writing in front of the class. Many classrooms have special writing celebrations or "author's chair" times set aside for children to share their work. Not all children like to share their writing, so it is perfectly acceptable for a child to "pass" on sharing.
Reprinted with the permission of PBS. © PBS 2003 - 2008, all rights reserved.
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