Over the years, I have watched how parents respond when presented with beautiful artwork created by their children. The natural response is, “What is that?” The child looks crushed, almost to say, “What do you mean, what is that? Shouldn’t it be obvious?”
Thinking ahead and preparing yourself with the proper response will save your child from feeling disappointed. By responding, “Wow! Tell me about what you made.” Your child will be able to explain (i.e. building language) and you will be given information about their creation that can lead to further discussions. Children are usually happy/proud to talk about what they made and the process that occurred (i.e. sequencing of events).
I have also observed similar reactions when it comes to inventive spelling. Children work really hard on the writing process. In order to write, they have to learn letters/sounds and be able to place several sounds together to create words. Dictation, labeling, and inventive spelling is the order in which writing occurs for children. When young children bring home their “masterpieces”, please don’t correct the spelling. All of the child’s creativity will end, as they will become ultra focused on proper spelling. I also recommend trying “My Alphabet” app from the award winning VINCI Curriculum to introduce your tot to letters and sounds as well as help him/her practice alphabet writing.
Believe in the teachers that teach your children. As your child learns to read and is introduced to an environment filled with print, their written vocabulary will increase. Proper spelling will occur as their knowledge increases, usually during first and second grade. If your child asks you how to spell something, respond to them by telling them to sound it out. As they are capable, they will notice that their written language is not the “book way”. When they get to that point, give them the proper spelling. A word wall is a fun way to expose children to the correct spelling of words. By using index cards, one word per card, and a wall in your house, exposure to words can occur on a daily basis.
By thinking about how our responses affect our children, I think we would all agree that making subtle changes can help them for the better. Enjoy your children, they grow up so fast. I look at my own children and cherish all those magical moments that occurred years ago. Looking through our box that is filled with their early written pieces, makes me realize how far they have come. They are both wonderful writers and spellers. The process takes time…ENJOY!!
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