Eric Hu's 1st Grade Writing Evaluation

A.G. Bell Elementary, Nov 1999 Kirkland WA, Lake Washington School District

See image

Eric's report card also includes a "writing evaluation", which grades his progress with "invented spelling".

3 choices: doing well, beginning to do it, still working on it

Represents ideas in pictures : doing well (top 3 out of 3)
Labels pictures with invented spelling : doing well
Uses invented spelling to communicate ideas in writing: doing well
Attitude toward writing Eager (Willing) Hesitant


Comments :

Eric actively participates in all writing assignments. He is often slowed down by the fear he will spell a word incorrectly. I encourage Eric to use invented spelling (phonemic awareness) when he wants to write a challenging word

What Do I Think?

At the parents open house in Kirkland's Holy Family catholic school, they also use a reading series that uses "authentic literature" rather than basal readers with restricted vocabulary, and "phonetic" spelling is acceptable unless they are working on spelling or have specifically reviewed certain words. The catholic teacher also talked a lot about "developmentally appropriate" goals. At first thought I was horrified at the notion of "invented spelling", now I'm not sure that the idea of early writing as a way of teaching reading is neccesarily such a terrible thing. Still, I saw a 4th grade report on display in the hall about Saturn that had horrendous spelling problems. This this was in a catholic school, on a word processor.

I wouldn't mind invented spelling so much if they just told kids to flag questionable words with ? to be flagged down by parents or teachers so that kids can learn the correct spelling. I do wonder about putting such a great emphasis on writing in the first grade that it has a separate sheet congratulating your child for using bad spelling. I wonder if the problem is that I've never seen Eric bring back any papers with incorrect spelling. Remember, this is a school where my son was asked to write 9 complete sentences around 9 words as his 2nd week homework assignment, on top of writing 9 words in alphabetical order

Eric was also given a reading test in Kindergarten (he scored 99th percentile) as a feasibility test. I heard that they decided that tests at this age weren't very reliable, although the it's impossible to get a 99th percentile at random. He was barely able to get through Green Eggs and Ham independently. Now they're giving my Kindergartener son explict phonics flash cards, and homework writing sentences (but being given words to re-arrange). I've posted his 99th percentile Stanford reading test at

. To see my notes on why some people think invented spelling is "essential" to develop early reading skills:

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