This post is authored by John Funk, a university clinical instructor who teaches courses in early childhood, children’s literature, classroom management and reading methods. Besides teaching K-2 himself for almost 25 years, John currently supervises and instructs pre-service teachers. He routinely teaches workshops around the country on literacy and language arts and other early childhood topics.
Throughout my years of working with struggling readers, I have become convinced that one of the factors that contribute to a child becoming a struggling reader is inadequate support for his early writing. I have often observed inappropriate activities and instruction in preschool and kindergarten classrooms which illustrate this point. I shudder when I see a teacher have the children copy words written on the board as a ‘writing’ assignment, when — at best — it may be a fine motor handwriting practice. I become equally as concerned when I hear a teacher tell children to use ‘invented spelling’ or ‘kindergarten spelling,’ when it is evident from the blank stares that the children have not made solid connections between alphabet letters, words, and writing.
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