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Learning to Write in Preschool:
Orchestrating the Meaning,
Letters and Sounds
Dr. Terri Beeler
[email protected]
Texas School Ready Summer Institute
June, 2013
“By the time they reach preschool or kindergarten, young children are already writers. They don’t have much experience, but they’re filled with stories to tell and ideas to express – they want to show the world what they know and see. All they need is a nurturing teacher like you to recognize the writer at work within them.” Ray, Katie W., Already Ready WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A WRITER? AMBER & NICOLE’S WRITING: WHAT DO THEY NEED TO KNOW TO WRITE LIKE THIS? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. STAGES OF WRITING (See Attachment) 1
INSTRUCTION TO SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF WRITERS ABC Activities Phonological/Phonemic Awareness Activities Read-­‐ Alouds Storytelling Shared Reading 2
Shared/Interactive Writing Dramatic Play Centers (see attachments) Writing Center/Opportunities for Purposeful Writing (see attachment) Bookmaking 3
BIBLIOGRAPHY Beeler, T. (1998). I Can Read, I Can Write, Creative Teaching Press (out of print but available in some sites online) Clay, M. (2010) How Very Young Children Explore Writing. Heinemann Publishing. Pinnell, G. and Fountas, I. (2011) Literacy’s Beginnings (includes PreK Literacy Continuum). Heinemann Publishing. Ray, K.W. (2008). Already Ready: Nurturing Writers in Preschool and Kindergarten. Heinemann Publishing. Strickland, D. and Schickedanz, J. (2009). Learning about Print in Preschool: Working with Letters, Words and Beginning Links with Phonemic Awareness. 2nd Edition. International Reading Association. Schickedanz, J. and Casbergue, R. (2009), Writing in Preschool: Learning to Orchestrate Meaning and Marks. 2nd Edition. International Reading Association. 4
Stages of Children’s Writing
Scribbling: Emergent writing begins with the first explorations using a
marking tool for a purpose other than drawing. Random marks or scribbles
often occur on a page with drawings. Children may say. “This says Tommy!”
(child’s name). Toddlers use the terms drawing and writing to describe their
marks; however, three- and four-year olds generally understand the difference
between the two.
Mock Handwriting or Wavy Scribble: Children produce lines of wavy
scribbles as they imitate adult cursive writing. Their writing often appears
on a page with drawings. Mock writing might occur during dramatic play
as children want to create a great deal of print in a short period of time,
such when pretending to “write” a grocery list or a doctor’s perscription.
Children often return to this stage, even after they are capable of writing
conventional letters.
Mock Letters: Children attempt to form alphabetic representations,
which also often appear in their drawings. Writing sometimes can be
more vertical than horizontal. Children make letter-like shapes that
resemble conventional letters. Research has shown that children’s
scribbles and emergent writing take on the characteristics of the printed
language in their culture. Scribble writing in Arabic and Hebrew, for
example, looks very different from scribbles in English. (Harste,
Woodward, & Burke, 1984).
Conventional Letters: Children’s first experiments with real letters are usually the letters from
their name or a family member's name. They are not always conscious
of making conventional letters. As children’s mock letters become
more and more conventional, real letters of the alphabet begin to
appear. The first letters written are typically the letters in the child’s
name. Children often create “strings” of letters across a page and “read”
them as sentences or a series of sentences. These may appear on
drawings as the child’s signature or description of the drawing.
Children create a mental image of a particular letter they wish to write.
Adults can help by providing an environment that is rich in print and by
pointing out print in the outside world, such as road signs, store signs,
or labels.
Invented Spelling: Many times words do not resemble either the
look or the sound of the actual work attempted. Once children are
fairly comfortable writing conventional letters, they begin to cluster
letters together to make word forms. These words do not look or
sound like “real” words. Children in this stage often ask, What did I
write? Adults can support children in this stage by pointing out
words in the environment, particularly those that appear frequently, such as the word “STOP.”
Approximated (Phonetic) Spelling: Children apply sounds to letters
to approximate the spellings of words. Beginning sounds are used
first, ending sounds second. Middle sounds follow and short vowel
sounds come last. Children attempt to spell words based on their
growing awareness of letter sounds and on their memory of words they have seen repeatedly.
These beginning words are usually written in capital letters or in a combination of capital and
lower case letters, whichever are easiest to draw and are most frequently seen in the
environment. Children move from spelling words by writing the beginning consonant letter, to
writing both the beginning and final letters, to writing words with a beginning, middle, and final
letter sound.
Conventional Spellings: Children’s approximated spellings
gradually become more and more conventional. The child’s own
name is usually written first, followed by words such as mom, dad,
and love. Initially children may incorrectly copy words. Eventually
words will be written correctly. Adults can support the child’s move
to conventional spelling by being patient and by continuing to serve
as a good writing model.
Adapted from Project ELIPSS, Macomb Projects, Western Illinois University, 27 Horrabin Hall, Macomb, IL 61455