Your kindergartner and writing
By practicing their ABCs and sounding out words, kindergartners master the basics of writing.
By GreatSchools Staff
Many children first learn about writing in kindergarten. That’s why teachers often start the year by introducing the letters of the alphabet — the building blocks of writing. Kindergartners learn how to form the shapes of letters, what sounds they’re associated with, and how to combine letters to create words.
Throughout the year, kindergartners participate in activities that should help them begin to understand the purpose of writing, activities like:
- Listening to a book teachers read aloud
- Shared writing, in which teachers write down a story students can contribute to orally
- Interactive writing, in which teachers and students work together to compose a text
- Journal writing
Nicola Salvatico, our consulting teacher and the 2005 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year, explains: "Kindergarten begins to expand the journey of writing from 'magic writing' (such as scribbles and pictures), where the child can only read it, to emergent writing, where their message is readable by most adults."
By the end of kindergarten, children should have had opportunities to create stories with words and pictures, revise their writing with a teacher’s help, and share with their work with the class.
What will my kindergartner learn about spelling?
Kindergartners begin to learn about spelling by connecting the sounds they hear in words to the letters they represent. Teachers introduce the letters of the alphabet early on, presenting one letter at a time.
Kindergartners can explore letter sounds by starting with the letters in their own name. Many teachers use hands-on activities to teach these sounds and might ask students to make a collage of cut-out magazine pictures that begin with a particular letter.
At many schools, students in kindergarten are encouraged to spell words the way they sound using something known as “invented” or “inventive” spelling. For example, with inventive spelling, a student could spell the word cat by writing “ct.” When they’re first learning to write, children are often more comfortable using consonants and sounds at the beginning of words because they’re more distinct than vowels or sounds at the ends of words.
When children use invented spelling, they’re actually demonstrating their knowledge. Research shows that letting children use invented spelling allows them to focus on the purpose of writing: communication. Eventually, as they learn the rules of spelling, they begin to apply them and make the transition to conventional spelling.
By the end of kindergarten, students should be able to spell:
- Consonant-vowel-consonant words such as bat and fan
- Their own name