The other day I saw a communication book for adults where someone had put lines through the “not correct” words and written the “correct” words beside. Admittedly, the message was a bit confusing but when you reread the message it became perfectly clear. I wonder how this person felt since I suspect it was not the first time this had happened. Teachers had probably been writing on the person’s work and now this way of “correcting” the writing continued.
Children develop a love for writing in an environment where their stories will be encouraged to fly. Creative writing is about feeling safe to take risks. You take an idea, something that you see, a word, a sound, a smell, a taste, or a feeling and create something new. Something exciting and marvellous!
If you start writing on a child’s work, you may kill the joy of writing. Tell them to try their best.
Is in not important to correct spelling and grammar?
When a child first learns to write, there are many different skills she has to conquer at once. How to hold the pen, form letters and build them into words, and them make those words into sentences. A lot of mental work. Focusing at the same time on the spelling not only slows the process down it also that the focus away from the storytelling.
To focus on several things at the same time is always difficult.
Many teacher in the early grades encourages children to use inventive spelling or temporary spelling. Instead of searching or the correct spelling the child makes her best guess.
Research suggests that if a child is allowed to use inventive spelling them actually earn to write more quickly. The child’s writing also has a richer and more varied vocabulary. When a child learns to talk, we often treasure their early attempts and praises their efforts. We are often very helpful and we offer them the thing we think they want. For example, when a child say “ba ba”, we wave our hands and say “bye bye!” A child will not say “ba ba” for the rest of her life and eventually the word “bye” will be pronounced clearly. Inventive spelling could be seen in a similar way. A first step where the child is allowed to freely test and try.
Good writers revives and revise their pieces and this is something that this approach to writing teaches a child. After a child has drafted a story they can start revising and editing the text. At the final stage they make corrections to spelling and punctuation.
Look for inventive and great writing.
- Vivid vocabulary – using interesting words and maybe inventing words.
- awareness of the audience , for example, a great introduction to the story.
- Wonderful constructions, for example, using semicolons or speech marks for the first time.
If children are going to love writing let them choose their own topic. Encourage them to be inspired by words, sounds and pictures.
Children learn by writing and building up their stamina takes time. Encourage them to write for a couple of minutes each day and then they might after a couple of months be able to write for 20 minutes. Exercising those writing muscles.
Pictures are an important aspect when encouraging young children to write. Adding more details to a picture helps them to create a story in their heads. Ask them to tell you about their story and a colourful drawing with a few words may be told as an exciting story. Celebrate their picture and words!
What story do you think was told about Nellie Giraffe with magical sunglasses?
Kolodziej, N.J., & Columba, L. (2005). Invented spelling: Guidelines for parents. Reading Improvement, 42 (4), 212-223.