Context of writing
A five year old girl wrote this during her Kindergarten class writing workshop where students are given free choice of topics.
What is this child able to do as a writer?
- This student has an idea she wants to share with her pictures and words.
- She is matching letters and sounds, has represented a sight word (‘me’) and letters to represent salient sounds in other words (‘mi’ for ‘my’) (‘f’ and ‘r’ for ‘friends’ and ‘a’ and ‘d’ for ‘and’). Those representations suggest she is in a partial phonetic stage of writing, where small segments, such as sounds easily heard, are written down.
- She is experimenting with using a sentence rather than just labeling a picture with words (‘Me and my friends are playing’).
- She includes details in her picture by making her people all look different and by including a dog.
What does this child need to learn next?
This child has not developed a concept of word — the idea that words are separate and need to be separated in the sentence. The teacher could provide short lines for the separation of words or the student draw a line for each word as she sounds it out and writes it on the line. The teacher could also use her sentences (and those of her classmates) to write on separate cards or slips of paper to have the children touch, move and read the sentences. The physical movement of the words as separate entities would help reinforce the concept of each word being separate.
This child may be ready to add more sentences to her writing. She may want to start writing her sentences under the picture to provide room for more sentences.
Encouraging this student to talk to a peer or talk to a teacher about her story will help her think of other details she wants to share in an additional sentence. Research has shown that teacher dictations of children’s stories help develop word awareness, spelling, and the conventions of written language.