Spelling in Kindergarten

We don’t teach spelling in Kindergarten; rather we encourage children to write down all of the sounds that they hear in words while writing.  They are not perfect in this process; however, they are also not fearful of making mistakes.  Many children arrive in Kindergarten from homes where parents wanted to give their children a jump start on Kindergarten writing and have taught their children to spell words at home.  These children know a limited amount of words that they can spell and write perfectly and use these same words over and over again in their writing.  This does not make for very creative writing as the children only write with the few words that they know from the spelling words database in their head.  These children do not wish to make mistakes and have absolutely no risk taking with their work.  Kindergarten teachers would much rather that your child arrive in Kindergarten knowing some letters and sounds and leave the actual teaching of the writing process to us.  We are trained in encouraging the children to do their best throughout all of the stages of the writing process.  Very quickly, the stages of the writing process are:

  • Scribbling
  • Writing letters and shapes mixed together
  • Writing random letters in any order (that makes no sense)
  • Writing using only beginning sounds with the rest of each word containing several random letters
  • Writing using beginning and ending sounds
  • Writing using beginning, middle and ending sounds
  • Writing the words as they should be spelled

If you do not allow your child to progress developmentally through all of these stages, the end result will not be as you wish.  Children who come to me at the scribbling, or random letters stages of development turn out to be much better writers than children who come to me knowing some spelling words.  Please do not teach spelling words to your child in Kindergarten.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Spelling in Kindergarten

  1. mary louise obrien

    KIndergarten Teacher , Claire, YOur suggestions on the steps to writing leads children in the right direction. There is nothing like seeing children enjoy writing their great ideas on paper. They love having someone read it back to them , the smile on their face is worth seeing. Come on authors. m. o.
    Great suggestions from the pro’s on t.v/video/computer time. Even as an adult , that same time can take away from so many other activities.

  2. Karen Bender

    Last year, Mrs. Turck taught my son how to write. But her technique did more than “just” teach him this skill; her technique taught him that it’s okay to take risks and make mistakes. I saw the effect of Mrs. Turck’s teaching philosophy in many areas of his life. How amazing to learn that it’s ok to make mistakes in Kindergarten!

  3. L Q

    Hello Teacher Claire,

    I have a 4-year old not entering Kindergarten for another year and a half, but a friend forwarded your blog and I am so grateful. I am learning so much about how to prepare her and her sister for Kindergarten. Thank you for what you do!

  4. kindergartenteacherclaire

    Thanks for the kind words. Many people are enjoying this blog and hopefully are able to take out one or two tips that will help at your house. Please pass the sight along to anyone that you think would benefit from reading it..
    Claire

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