Emergent Writing Is a Tool To Better Understand Student Communication Skills

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Children often showcase a natural talent or inclination for communication via writing. Monitoring attempts at drawing, mark-making, mock writing, and proper writing can provide evidence of a student’s early grasp of literacy. 

Emergent writing involves the phase that children go through where they start to share their thoughts on paper. It takes place alongside their early grasp of reading, and we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at the usefulness of emergent writing in this article. Read on to learn more. 

Early Writing & Its Developmental Stages

Children usually move through stages of early writing and mark-making. Here are a few of them:

Scribbling – this phase usually happens at about 1½ to 2½ years, and in it, children make big circles and lines and usually grip their writing tool in a fist. Scribbling is about motor activity and experimentation rather than a meaningful depiction of thoughts and ideas. 

Pre-writing, meaningful mark-making – at 2½ to 3½ years, children will begin this phase with shapes and scribbles that are more intentional, and they will often say what their markings represent out loud. There is no distinction between drawing and writing.

Pre-writing, strings of letters and letter-like forms – at 3½ to 5 years, children may begin to ‘write’ curves, dots, and lines that resemble letters, or they may write proper letters in random orders. They’ll often ‘read’ what has been ‘written,’ and these efforts represent their early understanding that writing is used to convey meaning. 

Invented spelling – in this phase, which occurs at 5 to 7 years old, children will try to write words by creating letters for the sounds they hear. 

Conventional spelling – from age six and beyond, children grow more accurate in their written representation of verbal sounds, learn how to spell high-frequency words and other words correctly, and accumulate knowledge of common spelling patterns. It becomes easier to read their writing as a result. 

The Benefits Of Invented Spelling

Many argue that encouraging ‘incorrect’ invented spelling will slow a child’s literacy growth or encourage bad habits. Invented spelling is proven to supplement learning to read, and while teaching proper spelling is important, encouraging invented spelling in early stages can have many benefits. 

By saying words and carefully listening to their sounds, children can improve their phonemic awareness. By associating letters to the sounds that they are hearing, children practice useful phonics skills for reading. 

Spelling Stages

The spelling attempts that children make and their error patterns in the conventional and invented spelling stages are useful for understanding the phonics knowledge and phonological awareness they possess. Their spelling in these stages will predictably progress. 

Concluding Thoughts

Emergent writing can be a fantastic tool to understand your child’s phonic, literary, and writing development, and it should be encouraged in all its stages.

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