I use it for children that can sing the song but not visualize the letters as they are singing. I demonstrate a sample sentence for my kids before I send them to write when we do guided writing. (See my blog entry on using sentence structures in the classroom.) I tell the kids what we are going to write, and then ask for a volunteer to find the word on the word wall for me as the rest of the class sings the spelling song. That child finds it and points to it, and then we all say the spelling aloud and watch as that child points to each letter. I write that word down on my big white board easel while the kids watch. Then we do the same thing with the next word in the sentence. I am also constantly going back and re-reading with the children what we have written so far. I like having the kids sing while I demonstrate the sentence of the day, because it helps keep them focused. Most of them are usually doing the motions as much as they can while they are seated on the floor watching me.
My neediest little ones seem to really benefit from watching me model exactly how to find the word that I need to write. For some of them, I later have to prompt them to physically get up from the writing table and touch the word on the wall; then they go back to their seat and write it. A few of them have to do that for every word in their sentence. It's just my very lowest ones that need it, though. Many of these children have not had the benefit of preschool, and are usually speaking English as their second language. Sometimes, their skills in their native languages are poor as well. But for children who are learning English as their second language, I find that modeling my instructions as I verbalize them is always the better way of teaching. And it’s really good for the other children, as well! I do find, though, that later it becomes necessary to push the children to write some words that are NOT on the word wall. This forces them to get used to using inventive spelling when necessary. So as the school year ends and we get closer to our Open House date, I usually remove the word wall for the last four weeks of Kindergarten.