my son's kindergarten class has a lot of worksheet assignments. one is to read a book (they have buckets at their tables to choose from, including math, science, and poetry), then draw a picture based on the book, copy the title, and write a very brief description of the picture - even if it's a word or two, and they're encouraged to look through the book for words to use. sometimes this kind of exercise is done free-form, where they're making up the story instead of reading a book.
a couple of days ago my son came home with a sheet, and the 'words' he wrote were just jibberish. he hadn't copied the title in any legible way, and the writing below the picture was equally inscrutible. we told him we knew he could do better - especially since we've seen him copy words when he's wanted to write them. he said he was told it was 'okay'. the problem stems from the wide range of abilities in the class - there are several kids who are completely new to writing, and they get told it's okay to copy down a couple of letters, but those who are more capable don't necessarily get pushed to do more. we told him we wanted to see better work from him, since we knew he could do it.
so yesterday he comes home with a free-form story picture. i think from the picture he was trying to describe going trick-or-treating with his friend, felix. the four lines of writing space were filled up, although the bottom three were jibberish again (he told us they say "blahdeblahblah"). the first line? "I WENT POOP."
a fine author.