Giving you the tools and skills to help you develop into a stronger teacher of literacy!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Letters pudding = Letter Writing

A fun way to practice writing letters is to make some pudding.  Put the cooled pudding in a ziplock bag and then put it in a second ziplock bag to prevent leakage.  Show your children how they can use the bag to practice writing letters.  

This is great for kids who have tough control with a pencil.  They use their finger to write the letters.  It's helpful to show the child how to write the letter first, then let the child try.  

Stay with your child so you can keep modeling to encourage correct letter formation.  Remember it is best to start from the top of the letter to the bottom of the letter.

Children often want to start at the bottom to write the letter, but this actually takes more energy than writing from the top to bottom on the paper.  

Also encourage writing from left to write when the child makes letters that go across the paper like the letter "E". 

This activity can also be done with children's paint in a ziplock bag or you can use shaving cream on a cookie sheet.  These are all tactile ways to practice making letters.  

Don't worry about writing correctly on lines until until Kindergarten/First Grade . It takes a lot of fine motor control to be able to write on lines with control and correct letter formation.

What Does Invented Spelling Look Like?

What is invented spelling?  

Invented spelling is an attempted spelling of words using the   sounds the child hears in a word.

How do I teach my child to write using invented spelling?

Ask your child to say the word slowly, like the word is being put through a stretching machine.  You may need to stretch the word out for your child at first.  Eventually they will learn to do this through practice. As you stretch the word, saying the sounds slowly...Ask your child to write what letter he or she hears.  Then the next letter or letters.  Keep doing this until the end of the word.  It's okay if they don't hear all the sounds.  This is developmental and will progress with time and practice. 

When children begin to use invented spelling, they will often start with just the first letter focusing on the beginning sound.  For the word cat...the child may write "c".

Then they will often hear the last letter.  In the example above, look at the word bear..."br". 

As a child's understanding of sounds and letter patterns you will begin to see vowels and consonants in the middle.  Sometimes the child will write the correct letters and sometimes other letters that sound similar to the child.  

Above, look at the word brother...the child hear "bro...v...er".  The child is confusing the "v" with "th" because the child doesn't understand how the "th" blend together.

It is important to encourage any attempts at spelling a word.  The child is demonstrating that they understand that words are made up of sounds and trying to write the word using the sounds they hear.  

As the child learns more about sounds and letter patterns, the child's spelling will gradually migrate closer to conventional spelling or correct spelling. 

Remember the goal is to encourage your child to write.  This will further their understanding of letters, sounds, words and language.  Have fun with it!