Now we urge children to use the sounds they hear in words and put them on paper as "sound spelling." This gives them the freedom to write anything they can imagine.
Here is how our Pre K 4 teacher Michele describes what happens.
"We have begun 'writing workshop Wednesdays' which elicited a 'yay!' from the children this week. We provide 'books' of 4 pages stapled together, and writing implements of choice, and ask the children to write, and then share their stories with us.
Everyone participates! The stories that they write and tell are sometimes funny (a story completely of sounds), sometimes very timely (we heard a story about an earthquake and ironman pushing it back) sometimes very personal. And always very interesting.
We do not write words on the children's pages, and we have noticed many "sound spellers' already! The children will consistently tell their story, word for word, as they turn the pages of their book. This activity usually requires 30 minutes of focused attention, and time goes by very quickly! The children usually can't wait to read their stories to us. We will be celebrating these stories at the end of the year celebration."
Here is one of our K-1 students reading a book he wrote about an African animal he is researching.