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“Writing” into Reading – Building Words, Invented Spelling

As children learn letter names and sounds, see them in print and experience seeing their words and stories in print on their drawings and journals, children will naturally want to begin writing themselves. See the Writing Center Guide and the Journaling Guide for progressions of children’s writing. Handwriting practice via making lines, shapes, and eventually the actual letters helps children to successfully replicate the letter symbols for the sounds they hear.

Copying is a valuable experience but in order to be successful fluid writers, children must eventually learn to sound out words as they write.

Child copying the word "Mitten" into a journal
child's drawing of a bicycle labeled with the word "bicycle."

Invented Spelling or Phonemic Spelling

  • The teacher will point to a part of the picture and ask something such as, “what is that?”
  • When the child responds, the teacher can encourage the child to begin to think about the sounds in the word.
  • The teacher can exaggerate and stretch the word out slowly so that the child can hear all the sounds.
  • Then, the teacher encourages the child to write down each letter that corresponds with the sound they hear.
  • Encouraging inventive spelling allows children to take risks.

More Early Writing Experiences

blank paper for children to create their own letter books

Focus letter books: Children use the Alphachant cards to make their own books using paper and book covers from the writing center.  They draw the picture, then write the initial sound or the whole word.

Moveable Alphabet box
alphabet letter tiles next to a picture of a box with the word "box" for a child to copy

Magnetic letters and objects, and Moveable Alphabets give children experiences with sounding out words without the burden of actual writing with pencil and paper.

A child sounding out the letters of his favorite plastic animals, finding them in the Moveable Alphabet box and laying them out on the mat.

This child used his favorite plastic animals and sounded out the letters, finding them in the Moveable Alphabet box and laying them out on the mat.

Year-Long Trajectory

The Year-Long Trajectory is your scope and sequence for learning experiences across the year.