inventive spelling


The above graphic is from Your 1st grader’s writing under Common Core Standards.   The article explains that ‘invented spelling’ is acceptable because the purpose of writing is communication.  It’s the process of writing, not really the mechanics of learning correct grammar.  Here’s the example of ‘invented spelling’ referenced above from achievethecore:

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Read more about first grade writing, Common Core standards, and the expectations of 6 year old children in public school.  The first grader is to move from prewriting to first draft (above) and

the teacher and other students might ask your child questions about the work — to elicit details or facts that could be added, to prompt your child to find more information (maybe from another book on the same subject), to make sure your child’s word choices convey what she means, to make sure there’s an introduction and a conclusion, or to help organize the order of events in a story.

Then your child may be asked to do a revision. After one or more revisions of the draft, the teacher might help your child with the final edit — focusing on spelling, capitalizing proper nouns and the first word of a sentence, and adding a period at the end. These steps — prewriting, doing a first draft, revising their work, and editing the final piece — helps first graders learn all the important parts of writing: gathering and recalling information, organizing their thoughts, strengthening and clarifying their ideas, and improving grammar and presentation.


Is too much expected of first graders under Common Core?  Excerpted reader comments on CCSS 1st grade expectations:


I was a teacher at several grade levels, and I find all this a great deal to expect of 6 year olds, much less the teacher. Where is she/he to get the time to give all this attention to each individual for every story when she has a classroom full of children with many demands and short attention spans. I would think some children would find all this perfectionism a turn off. I used to work with kids’ writing in the way they prescribe, but the kids were older. I have heard that there was not a lot of input from teachers when these standards were decided upon. Sometimes standards are written by “outstanding teachers” who often teach in schools with highly educated parents whose kids have had every educational advantage. Maybe I’m underestimating what children are capable of, but teaching grammar formally seems age inappropriate. If parents use good grammar around their kids, and provide good literature children will pick up good grammar and sentence structure naturally, and bad grammar will sound “wrong” to them. Granted many kids won’t have that advantage and the teacher should be the model. And how about writing presented as something exciting to do – because it is!


You can’t expect 1st graders to invent grammar and spelling. You have to teach it to them step-by-step, and you can’t try to do all of this in first grade. And if Common Core is so concerned about self-expression that it is willing to reinforce bad spelling with “invented spelling,” then why isn’t there any creative fiction writing? This is the year to teach nouns and verbs.


I couldn’t agree more! My kids are less than a year apart. The older one had whole language with the inventive spelling, the younger one didn’t. Both were great writers but the younger one had an easy path due to the phonic approach.


For more reading on inventive spelling:

Would the sign below be an example of inventive spelling in Common Core?  Is this a good practice or not?  Parents of young children who have used inventive spelling, what are your thoughts and experience?

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