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My 5 1/2 year old is starting to use some invented spelling. He made a list of things we were doing today, for example, and wrote "DLR TRE" for "Dollar Tree." I am thrilled that he's doing this on his own!

My question, though, is should I show him the correct way to write it? He showed it to me, and said "Does this say "dollar tree"? I sounded out what he wrote, and it did sound a lot like "dollar tree." I don't know if I should tell him that it's not correct, or if that would make him reluctant to try again.

What would/did you do?
 

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My DD does this as well and is learning a lot by phonetically spelling out words. She knows most of her letters by sound instead of letter name so she is creative in how she expresses herself when she is writing. It just depends on the situation, I never really correct her but I might write it out somewhere on her paper (with her permission) and show her how I sound it out and why I'm writing it this way. And of course if she asks me to I will as well. But many times I don't and something like Dollar Tree she will eventually figure out on her own after we shop there a couple more times.... if she tries to spell it out again she will likely add more of the letters. Atleast that's how it is for my dd.
 

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I would tell him that yes, what he wrote would definitely say "Dollar Tree".

At some point in the future, when he's more comfortable with writing words, you might want to explain that there are lots of ways to write words that would all say the word, and that throughout most of history people could use whichever one they wanted for whatever they were writing... but at some point people decided that they would pick one way to be the way words are written in books and on signs and stuff. You can add that you can read what he's written just fine, but you'd be happy to tell him the "book way" if he wants to know that, too. If he ever notices that his way doesn't match the "Dollar Tree" store sign, I would explain it the same way...

dar
 

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I get a lot of questions like that. It depends partly on what they seem to want.

Younger kid "Did I do a good job?" tone the answer is simply "Yes!"

Slightly older, concerned about spelling "Did I spell this right?" if one letter is off, I might show him but don't want it fixed at all....

Often I say things like "Well, that is one way to spell that word, just not the same way that grownups do"

It seems, from what you describe, that your ds is NOT yet interested in spelling accuracy. He just wants readable words, and he is succeeding with that. So I agree with pp that you would just say that yes it does... Because you are right--it does!
 

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I very, very rarely corrected my daughter's spelling on her own lists and stories and stuff. The only thing I'd correct is what she wrote in her warm-up for school and that was just "dollar is spelled d-o-l-l-a-r and tree is spelled t-r-e-e" and nothing more. Her spelling is great now with occasional mistakes/inventions (we're almost through Spelling Workout B, so she does have regular spelling lessons). I was just happy she was sounding out the words to try to figure out the spellings. She never asked me if something spelled what she thought it would, but if she had I probably would have said I could tell that's what she was spelling, but here's how it is spelled.
 

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My daughter was really stressing over spelling, and it was not a productive thing - she'd get so caught up in spelling "correctly" that it was taking her a while to write things down. So we talk about "guess 'n' go" and that people will be able to figure out what she's writing (probably
), and more importantly, SHE can read to them if they can't. Just like sometimes she needs help with a word, right? And she's gotten faster and more confident, so the writing flow isn't broken.

I don't worry about spelling because I personally believe that good spelling comes from a lot of reading. Even now, her spelling has gotten much better with the exposure to reading. As an adult, I don't sound out words - I write them down and see if it matches the word in my brain, as I've seen it thousands of times. And I'm a purty gud spelir.
 
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