As children learn letter sounds they begin to use this knowledge to guess at the spelling of words. Often children will guess at spellings even if they have only been taught the letter names. They use the sounds in the letter name ("dee" for "D") to guess the sound that the letter makes. This works well for many letters, but some letter names do not contain the correct letter sound ("double you" for "W").
In our class, the children are tested during the first weeks of school to find out which letter names and letter sounds they already know. They are then introduced to different learning activities (sandpaper letters, moveable alphabet) that help them improve their letter skills. By the middle of the school year most children are producing some level of writing in which they are using their knowledge of letter names and sounds. As the children start producing this writing, they are at the beginning stage of creative writing. They can sound out and write down anything that interests them. Instead of producing stilted sentences like "The cat sat on the mat", they are writing about games that they play on the playground or imaginary adventures that they want to take. As they produce more of this writing, their skill improves and more of the letters start appearing in the writing ("p" becomes "pn" becomes "plan" becomes "plane"). The writing moves closer and closer to the standard spelling as the children start reading and as they interact with other children in the class.
To help you decode what your child has written, we have prepared a chart showing the sound that your child may be trying to produce with different letters. The key to understanding this is that children base their guesses on the letter names.
To give you an even better example of what you will be seeing, here are some words translated into standard spelling. Another thing to remember is that early writers also string all of their words together with no spaces in-between words.
|Invented Spelling||Standard Spelling||Invented Spelling||Standard Spelling|
Now that you know the code, be on the lookout for some exciting writing from your child. Once the writing has started, each day will amaze you when you see the creative ability of your child!