Modeling writing in Kindergarten

The Question:
How do you model writing for kindies? Do you correctly spell all words, or do you use kid writing (inventive spelling) as your daily model? I am also curious about what “programs” or philosophy schools/districts use.
The Answers:
Matt Halpern 
I use Lucy Calkins. I actually do a mixture of real and inventive spelling… if it’s a sight word or word wall word I always say, “Oh, I KNOW this word” and then spell it correctly. Otherwise, I use inventive spelling. I also use Megan Milani’s Three Habits of Highly Successful Reading Teachers as a way to teach letter sounds and sight words.
Jennifer Smallwood
 I always modeled kid inventive spelling at first. Once sight words are introduced and other skills, then I tell them those words have to be spelled correctly but the other words can be inventive.
Jennifer Thompson
 I also use Lucy Calkins. I do a little of both.. Sometimes I have the kids help me spell some words.. If its a sight word I have one of the kids come up and write it.
Mary Beth Gaudion Thomas
 I want my students to get over that “it has to be spelled right” thing, so I encourage them to spell the way they hear it. We say that it doesn’t have to be spelled correctly because we’re in kindergarten and we’re just learning. I also tell them I like their spellings a lot better than the “real” way (so many of our words are weird!). When we edit writings, I may say,”This is how it looks in a book” and then we marvel over how close they came to that spelling. For me, it’s much more about the process in kindergarten than the product.
Kristie Mang Leiner
 I do the same as above, but when it is a sight word, I ask the student if it is a sight word then have them find the word and copy it themselves in their writing.
Cristel Camp
For writing I used D’Nelian handwriting. My kids loved it, plus they thought they were writing in cursive. It does help when they get to that stage. If Schoolbox is in your city, go buy a book and in the back it tells you how to teach the students how to write each letter.
Traci Carter
 We use Lucy Calkins. If it’s a sight word, I correct it. Otherwise, inventive spelling is okay with me!
Kathy Whitehall
 Mary Beth, my kids love it when I say something similar to what you say, “This is Kindergarten — it’s not high school!” 🙂
Kristen Fuller
 Depends on the purpose. If we are making an anchor chart so we can write about a topic, I’ll spell correctly & also explain that it’s ok for them to write the sounds they hear when they write. If I am modeling a writing lesson we’ll spell phonetically together and I’ll write the sounds they give me. I use 6 Traits in my classroom.
Sarah Fisher
 I use a combination of both. I model inventive spelling from the beginning. Sight words are always spelled correctly even if I haven’t introduced it as a sight word yet. Once I introduce a phonics rule, I always use it correctly as well.
Julie Houlton Stiltner
 I always model correctly and discuss silent letters etc. They write phonetically and I get such great stories! After other sight words are introduced (after, I, like, can, see) I say “ok…no more I like and I can see…”  Tell me more and paint a picture in the mind of the reader. The kids who are ready will question the spelling of some words because they know they do not look correct! Writing is my favorite with the kids!!!
Lana Weeks Gilliam
 If they ask me how to spell a word , I say “tell me all the sounds you hear ” then they write the letters that make those sounds. I call this Guess and Go for their rough draft or sloppy copy. Then, when they have their teacher time with me, we talk about how well they did spelling the word.
Lori Alpino Holloway
 I teach grade 8. Almost none have solid spelling skills!!! Whatever they are doing in our feeder schools (some of the better ones in our valley) is not working. UGH
Julie Speck 
We don’t have a writing program :(,  so i use my favorite parts from a couple of programs…. I tell my kindergarteners if the word is posted in the room (on the word wall or on our 12 themed words per month) it needs to be spelled correctly since we can see how it’s spelled, otherwise it’s all about sounding the words out phonetically! Write all the sounds you hear!!
Anna Happy Michel
 ‎6 trait writing is our school district curriculum and I also encourage them to sound out as we learn more of the letters.
Carolyn Agee Boles
 I write correctly and often they copy, but they may use more inventive spelling on their own. The word wall also helps them.
Amanda Weaver
 I teach them how to use invented spelling, and I use it for Writers Workshop, but for shared or interactive writing I always spell correctly. I was once told anything that is to be displayed should be spelled correctly. We use Lucy Calkins writing.
Barbara Rouse
I  taught kindergarten for 26 years. I ALWAYS spelled everything correctly as they helped me sound out the words.
Amy Yokley 
Lucy Calkins and 6 Traits in a workshop setting. I always spell everything correctly.
Lynn Green Robinson
 I sound out words not in our common vocabulary on the word wall. I model so they will do it when writing.
Mary Hewitt 
When they write independently they write what they hear.  When we write together I teach rules and we always discuss if it sounds that way!  My kids have learned in writing rules are broken. Some advanced kids begin to understand rules, but if they are writing independently and ask “Is this right?” I say “Is that you heard?”  Sight words I make them fix!

One thought on “Modeling writing in Kindergarten

  1. Go to She had some great ideas for introducing Writer’s Workshop. I used a combination of her ideas, Lucy Calkins and what I know works best for kindergarten writers. I had a lot of success with the Science Notebook last year as well.

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