Helping Emergent Writers With Spacing

Thursday, July 14, 2016
I love teaching writing to new writers.  It's so fun to watch them move through the writing process.   I've been teaching writing FOREVER so I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve.  One of my "tricks" is Spaghetti and Meatball Spaces.

What are those you ask?  Well, I have cute posters that I hang up in my writing center and sheets that I put in their writing folders to help kids learn how to space letters both in words and between words.
It's a fun recipe for success.  (yeah, I went there)

This is a poster that I put in the writing center
 Spaghetti and Meatball Spaces- Great idea!

To begin, I use a stick of spaghetti to show how the letters in a word are right next to each other, but they don't actually touch.  These small spaces are called spaghetti spaces.  We then practice spaghetti spaces by writing our names a few times on white boards.  We squish the letters together, we spread the letters out, we use perfect "spaghetti" spacing.  It's a fun mini-lesson.


This is the sheet that I put in their writing folders.
 Great tool for Correct Spacing

For another mini-lesson, I write a sentence or two with no spaces between the words and I have kids try to read it.  We look for high frequency words, sounds that might make a word, etc.  It's really fun and really tough, but it demonstrates the need for spaces between the words.

Once that the kids understand how important spacing is, I give them their very own Meatball Stick.  They keep this in their writing folders and I have a small basket of them by my small group table.  I show the kids how to place the meatball after a word to help them leave the big (but not too big) space between the words.

 Great idea for leaving spaces when writing!

These Meatball Sticks are super easy to make.  Just take a box of large craft sticks (tongue depressors) and glue a brown pom pom on the end.  The pom pom is the meatball.

Kids love the novelty of using the Meatball Sticks and find them very helpful when they are learning to write.  I can   quickly remind them to use the Meatball Stick and then they are practicing the skill the entire time they are writing.


 Use a "Meatball Stick" to help with leaving spaces when writing


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