Do your students struggle on spelling tests? For every easy word like “cat” or “dog” you have tricky ones like “perceive” or “through.” It’s as if the English language were designed to fool people. “I before E except after C?” Capricious and arbitrary, if you ask me. And why would you have silent letters? Are they spares in case other letters in the word break down?
Education.com has a few spelling tips designed for teachers and parents in their article, The Fast Track to Spelling Success. One method they advocate is the “Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check,” method:
“Ask your child to write his spelling words in the first column, one underneath the other.
- Look. Ask your child to look at the word and read it aloud. For example, “friend”
- Say. Then spell the word letter by letter while continuing to look at it. “f-r-i-e-n-d”
- Cover. Your child should now cover the word “friend” (either with her hand, another piece of paper or by folding that column underneath the others) and try to write “friend” in the second column, without looking at the first column.
- Check. Now, have your child check her work by comparing the first column with the second column. If it’s correct, move on to the second word. If it’s incorrect, ask her to repeat the steps, this time trying to write “friend” in the third column.”
The article also has other ideas for different learning styles. My favorite, designed for the kids who can’t sit still, is to have them practice spelling while doing a physical activity, such as jumping rope, shouting out a letter with each jump (also a good way to burn off some of their extra energy).
All the methods listed in this article require lots of practice. However, if you follow their advice, that practice will be more productive – and more fun. -BILL FERRIS
The Fast Track to Spelling Success via education.com