This has been my MOST requested topic so far. Be prepared to shift some thinking as the learning of spelling has come a LONG way. As always, take the information that you need for your home education environment and leave what you don’t. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
There is a perception around the teaching and learning of spelling. It goes a little something like this;
Students take their writing to the teacher. The teacher sits up straight, selects a red pen from a pencil pot, shuffles in their seat, tucks the chair behind their desk and pops reading glasses on. They scan through the piece, circling, crossing, scribbling and then…hand the writing back to the student with a smile on their face, “great narrative!” The child returns to their table, staring at their writing piece.
Correcting spelling just feels so…teacher-ish.
The scenario above is high impact, but for teacher. They are doing the brain work! From the child’s perspective, we have them in prime learning time, watching passively as their writing is ‘red-penned.’ We delivered them the task of writing a narrative, but shifted the focus to their spelling, as they awkwardly stand by. Isn’t that the epitome of a ‘rough day’ at work? When you complete a task to an incredible level, but are then judged on a different element? Let’s shift this original scenario to a ‘Word Study’ scenario to paint a picture of Spelling in the classroom;
Children take their writing to the teacher. Teacher prompts independence, “Great focus through your writing, it’s time to pop your spelling hat on, take 10 minutes to reread; underline any words that you are *unsure of and upgrade any low level word choices.” This is now the learners turn to act ‘teacher-ish’ (especially when you arm THEM with the red pen).
We shifted the responsibility.
*Unsure = any words that ‘don’t look right,’ feel funny in your tummy or just make you question.
Now their brain is ON.
- The child reads to us actively as we listen passively.
- As they read we note down on a post-it, notebook or spelling journal the incorrect spelling, giving first priority to the words they have underlined.
- Note down the misconceptions, not every single error (quality over quantity).
This is a list of personalised words. About 3-10 words depending on age and attention of the child.
So how does this translate to home?
By this stage in the year, your child has had spelling words. If not, have a go as a parent educator creating some. If they have a current set, the same applies! Have a go at adding two or three ‘personalised’ words by using their writing. The connection the learner makes to this words is stronger and deeper as they came from their own writing.
No doubt they will be having weekly tests on them…and if not, my dear parent educator, host your own!
‘Testing’ is a learning strategy, not my favourite, but there is research to say it yields deep memorisation. Might I add, the research says it is most effective in a low stakes, consistent environment.
That means test often, make it quick and don’t get hung up on the results.