Hey, it's not Thursday; it's Wednesday and I am posting my reflections on Chapter 5 a day early! Woo hoo!
Chapter 5 is entitled "Writing Words." I have to say that THIS is the chapter that I have been longing to read! I have taught kindergarten for 18 years and you would think that I would feel competent in all the subject areas that I teach, but teaching writing has ALWAYS stumped me. I think it is because I have never really had a formal education on how to teach writing; everything that I know I have gotten from reading books and blogs and trial and error. So, when I read Chapter 5, I was blown away with the practical suggestions it gives for teaching the craft of writing!
As with most, if not all, kindergarten teachers, I teach my kiddos to use sound spelling when they are writing and the authors in this book totally agree with that style of teaching. I love the words they use with their students to make them comfortable with spelling........"When you're learning how to write words, people may hear different things, and that's because everybody is trying their best. So you need to remember, always write the letters for sounds that YOU hear." "When you are learning to write, you can't possibly know how to spell every word correctly. But what you can do is try your best." Aren't these just the nicest words to use to encourage each child to do what THEY can do and not compare themselves to others?
The other wonderful thing about Chapter 5 is that the authors give a strategy for children to use when they are struggling to spell a word:
1. THINK OF WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY.
2. SAY THE WORD SLOWLY.
3. LISTEN TO THE SOUNDS IN THE WORD.
4. THINK ABOUT WHAT LETTERS MAKE THE SOUND.
5. WRITE THE LETTERS FOR THE SOUNDS YOU HEAR.
6. GO BACK AND TOUCH YOUR WORDS TO REMEMBER WHAT YOU WROTE.
As I was reading this chapter, I realized that even though I have always felt that teaching writing has been my weak area, I actually have been doing it correctly. The difference is that NOW I have validation in what I do and concrete strategies for teaching this extremely important skill to kids. Because despite the fact that as we grow more and more dependent on technology (and pencil and paper may eventually go the way of analog TV's), our students will always have to know how to compose sentences and put their thoughts on paper in some way. And those of us who teach beginning writers must give our students as many foundational tools as we can so that when they ARE ready to become accurate spellers, they have learned to not be afraid to try!
This is such an inspiring book and such a wonderful reference for a teacher to have!
Here is a chart I made to teach my kiddos the steps for writing words based on the steps listed in the book. Click on the image if you would like a copy! And if you click the Book Study link above, there is another freebie waiting for you!
Until next time!
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