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Since Carol Chomsky (1971a, 1971b) and Charles Read (1971) published their pioneer reports on the development of writing behaviors in young children, examinations of the developmental or invented spellings of emergent writers have contributed to changes in emphases in early literacy instruction. Before that time educators seldom advocated writing experiences for children before they learned to read (Adams, 1990). During the past twenty-five years, there have been careful descriptions and analyses of the developmental stages and strategies of young children who experiment with and work through patterns of spelling while discovering written language. As a result of this body of work, more teachers have learned to decipher and assess the development of spellings of preschoolers and primary grade students. The increased ability to understand beginning attempts with print of the youngest writers has no doubt contributed to the encouragement of story writing, journals, and other writing activities from the earliest school years. Fortunately, the increase in opportunities to write also enhances the development of phonemic awareness and word recognition, both of which are predictors of future reading success (Gill, 1992; Juel, Griffith, and Gough, 1986; Perfetti, 1985; Tunmer and Nesdale, 1985).

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