Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Importance of Spelling

Much about spelling is puzzling. Our society expects that any educated person can spell, yet literate adults commonly characterize themselves as poor spellers and make spelling mistakes. Many children have trouble spelling but it is really difficult to know exactly how many because state and national assessments do not assess this.

Nevertheless, research has shown that learning to spell and learning to read rely on much of the same underlying knowledge — such as the relationships between letters and sounds — and, not surprisingly, that spelling instruction can be designed to help children better understand that key knowledge, resulting in better reading. Learning to spell requires instruction and gradual integration of information about print, speech sounds, and meaning — these, in turn, support memory for whole words, which is used in both spelling and sight (automatic) reading.

Research also bears out a strong relationship between spelling and writing: Writers who must think too hard about how to spell use up valuable cognitive resources needed for higher level aspects of composition. Even more than reading, writing is a mental juggling act that depends on automatic deployment of basic skills such as handwriting, spelling, grammar, and punctuation so that the writer can keep track of such concerns as topic, organization, word choice, and audience needs. Poor spellers may restrict what they write to words they can spell, with inevitable loss of verbal power, or they may lose track of their thoughts when they get stuck trying to spell a word.

(courtesy of Reading Rockets)

Because of the detriment that poor spelling has to student success in all aspects of English and Language Arts, Third Graders in 3A are focusing on improving spelling by paying attention to spelling patterns within words. In fact, that is the name of the stage of spelling in which the students are working.
Students in the Within Word Pattern Stage use but confuse vowel patterns. They no longer spell boat sound by sound to produce BOT, but BOTE, BOWT, BOOT, or even boat as they experiment with possible patterns for the long -o sound.  Students that are working at the Within-Word Pattern Stage are manipulating one-syllable words and focusing on various vowel sounds and patterns. 

In order to better support students and parents at home, here are some suggestions for spelling practice that can be done with your child:

  • Use Spelling City to play games, create worksheets, and give practice tests online.
  • Write your spelling words five times each 
  • Write a paragraph using the words 
  • Draw a picture of the meaning of the words 
  • Write a sentence for each word 
  • Sort words by features
  • Sorting words by features: long a spelled ai and long a spelled ay.

  • Invent a word search 
  • Use grid paper to create a spelling word word search.

  • Type words on the computer in different ways (fonts)-more than once 
  • Alphabetize the words 
  • Write the dictionary respelling of each word (pronunciation key)
  • Write the word using the dictionary spelling key.
  • Write the meaning of each word 
  • Divide each word into syllables (use a dictionary to help you)
  • Write the word and circle the vowels 
  • Write the word and circle the consonants 
  • Hunk and chunk; star the magic e; underline blends
  • Find words inside words, chunks, blends, magic e.
  • Cross our the silent letters 
  • Make flash cards 
  • Write a synonym for each word 
  • Write an antonym for each word 
  • Parent given practice test 
  • Write a story with the words 
  • Write two words in a compound sentence.
  • Write words in a SUPER sentence-5 or more spelling words in one sentence 
  • Write a song with your words 
  • Use calligraphy or a colorful way to write the words (Rainbow write)
  • Rainbow Writing words is using a different color for each letter of the word.
    • Spell your words with magnetic letters 
    • Write words neatly in pen or marker

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