How to Transition Young Students from Invented Spelling to Literacy

Words are major building blocks leading toward literacy and accurate spelling is an integral part of literate written expression. Children who practice repetition do well in spelling tests but the retention factor is questionable for many. Parents who get involved with their children’s homework can help by having the child write sentences using the spelling words correctly.

Composition and report writing are part of the scholastic learning process from about the fifth grade on. Average children often struggle to apply the principles learned in traditional English class to the written report at first. My grandson’s history teacher supplies the students with a rubric and gives points for each section of the writing. The children know exactly what is required for the report and they understand the grading system based on the points they receive. This method is a good tool for organizing written reports and grammar and clear communication are part of the total grade.

Clear communication in written expression is something many people, young and old, continue to develop. The best method for the young person, I believe, is to write as much as possible. Journaling is a popular method of writing about our experiences and struggles. Children who adopt this practice are honing their writing skills as they journal.

My grandson, who is twelve, has a strong interest in a certain period of history. He watches movies, play videos and reads books on the subject. In the past six months he has taken to developing plots and characters for a book that he is writing. He writes on an old laptop that I no longer use. In writing, he is learning to put thoughts and ideas down on paper using spelling, grammar and clear communication. His comprehension is growing in the process. The combination of interest and craft are elements that will lead him to a higher state of literacy.

Literacy is a requirement of virtually any field of study or vocation in today’s society. When we give a child a head start in these areas we are doing them a great service toward meeting goals without the added struggle learning to be literate.