When we consider our newest writers, it is essential that we provide them with the tools they need.
One of the easiest–and yet most important–tools we can provide them with is an alphabet on their desk or table. As our young writers are learning the letters of the alphabet, they need a visual as a reference. Even if they recognize the sounds, when writing, they are now attaching print. Yes, the letter h says /h/, but what does an h look like again? For many, looking up to the alphabet on the wall is one step too many. Whether on a name plate or simply an alphabet on its own, this tool is vital.
With the popularity of sound walls, in some classrooms, word walls have disappeared. And yet, the presence of a word wall–built together with students throughout the year–is another way of empowering our young writers. High-frequency words in particular can be included on the word wall for quick reference. Then, students can spell the other words they need phonetically.
Without these tools, students may seem reluctant to write. With these tools in place, students have an effective starting point, giving them confidence to take risks. The writing follows!