Why is inventive spelling so important?


Young writers who are just learning to put sounds together often use "inventive spelling." This spelling utilizes the sounds a student hears in a word, ie: "tem" in place of "team." Although this spelling may concern some parents at first, inventive spelling is a HUGE step in the right direction (phonetic spelling). Kindergartners will replace inventive spelling as they learn and familiarize themselves with spelling patterns (often in grades 1 & 2). Until then, our young writers will develop confidence, stamina, and a love for writing when they are praised and celebrated for their hard work!


  • Support your writer in finger tapping unknown words (Game: g-a-m, Team: t-e-m)

  • Utilize sight words your writer is familiar with (like, play, my, etc.)

  • Encourage writing for fun! Create lists or "good news reports", write letters to a family member, write about your favorite animal, jot down your favorite recipe! Writing is meant to be FUN and low-stress! :)

  • Praise your student for trying their very best & not giving up (a growth mindset!)


  • Don't correct your student's spelling mistakes -- Children should feel like successful, independent writers. If children feel like they can’t write without perfect spelling, they will not think of themselves as writers. Instead of focusing on correct spelling, encourage your child to write phonetically. If students are representing all the sounds they hear in words, they will be able to read their own writing. That’s what we want from young writers-- standard spelling will come later.

  • Don't spell words for your student -- Children may develop a tendency to rely on grown-ups to tell them if their spelling is “right.”

  • Don’t worry if you can’t read your child’s writing-- Try to point out why it is important for your child to be able to read her writing. Talk with her about including all sounds in the words she’s writing and remind her to put spaces between her words. Often kids will not be able to hear all the sounds in words-- that’s okay. Usually kids start by representing beginning sounds, then beginning and ending sounds. The final stage of invented spelling comes when kids are able to include middle sounds. For example, if a child is asked to spell the word “cat” she might start by writing “c” then “ct” and finally “cat”.