The semi-phonetic stage is where children begin to understand letter-sound correspondence (i.e., sounds and letters are connected). During this stage, they may begin guessing how to read words based on the first letter they see, but are not yet decoding or sounding out words. Here are a few characteristics of semi-phonetic spelling:

  • 4+ to 6+ years of age
  • Picture labeling
  • Copying environmental print
  • Sounds in words represented by letters (e.g., LV for Love)
  • Main sounds are represented with 2-4 letters
  • Starts the state of inventive spelling


What to focus on during this stage:

  • Directionality (left to right, top to bottom)
  • Alphabetic knowledge (letter names, letter sounds, letter shapes)
  • Letter-sound correspondence (letters are used to represent sounds)

How do you support semi-phonetic spelling:

  • Provide writing opportunities!

Writing a Petcare Manual

Throughout their daily interactions, teachers find ways to make connections and creating writing opportunities.