SpeechBlocks is a medium that allows children (4-5 years old) to engage in open-ended play with writing. They can build arbitrary compositions out of words and associated images, which can become cards, signs, stories, and "books." We hypothesize that such creative, self-expressive play can foster development of basic literacy skills, like phonological awareness. However, because users of SpeechBlocks are not yet in command of writing, it is necessary for the system to scaffold and guide them. We study a variety of ways to accomplish this.