Sunday, December 5, 2010

How do I model writing in Kindergarten?

Ms. Dorothy -
I am supposed to write in front of my students every day and model what I expect to see them trying to do. However, in Kindergarten most of my students are just learning the sounds that letters make, and usually write the first letter in each word. Do you think I should be writing with beginning letters, or writing complete words? I'm not comfortable spelling words wrong just for them to see how to sound them out, but I'm not sure if that is what I am supposed to do. What do you do?
- Kindergarten Teacher

This really is an important question when it comes to kindergarten students.
They do need to see a demonstration of what they are capable of. They also need to see accurate writing so they can begin to recognize words and correct spelling.

Generally, what I do is write the way I expect to see them writing. "I w to go to the s w my f " and then I go back and fill in the missing letters. "I want to go to the store with my family." This way, what remains on my chart is something that they can read back and build their reading vocabulary.

Sometimes I have a student or two in the class who can read and write at a much more advanced level than the others. These children can get very distressed when I demonstrate inaccurate writing, but they are great at helping me fill in the missing letters.

The important thing to remember is that everyone knows you are the best writer, the best reader, and the best speller in the room. You should be, you've had more practice than anyone else!
As long as you don't try to pretend that you don't know how the words are spelled, you can always demonstrate credibly what they should do.

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