Friday, January 8, 2010

Some Thoughts About Spelling

I know people have different philosophies about spelling (some people don't teach it at all, some use pre-made lists, some pull misspelled words from their child's writing, some ask their child what he/she would like to learn to spell) and I won't get into that here. Suffice it to say that I am sometimes a fan of the pre-made lists and I particularly like the lists and accompanying worksheets at (Spelling for Grades One, Two, Three, and Four). Plus, they're free!

Here is what we do:

Day One. I present the spelling words by having the group gather with their language journals, a colored pencil, and a regular pencil. I tell them to listen to the sounds and spell the word as best they can, and that I'll tell them at the end how to spell each word correctly. I read each word, say it in a sentence, and repeat the word again. At the end of the list, I have the children switch to their colored pencil. They are to mark the word with a checkmark if it is correct. If it is incorrect they write the proper spelling using the colored pencil. I don't grade the papers.

Day Two. The children write each word two times.

Day Three. The children write each word in a sentence.

Day Four. The children alphabetize their word lists (there is a worksheet for this, where you cut out and paste the words in ABC order).

Day Five. We play Spelling Games. There are worksheets for this or you can do your own. Making a word find for a friend to solve is fun (use graph paper with large squares to write the words -- spelled correctly of course -- and then fill in around them with random letters of the alphabet). You can also make your own word jumbles. In both cases, it's only fair to provide your friend with a list of the hidden or jumbled words spelled correctly. You can also write the words in secret code for your friend to decode. A = 1, B = 2, etc. Kids love making and swapping and solving these games and it is good spelling practice. We never do a graded post test, the idea is just to work with the words throughout the week to practice them.

Some people make a spelling journal with all the words they know how to spell. You can use an index card file for this or a 3 ring binder. I think the card file works better because if you want to be able to continually add the words in alphabetical order to the binder, you have to have each word on its own sheet of paper which seems like a waste of paper to me. Placing the cards in the card file at the end of the week is a nice routine and helps with more alphabetizing practice. You could always do the part of speech, a definition or example sentence, and a picture of the word on the card as well.

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