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 Post subject: Spelling
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:47 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:03 pm
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I think I've written on here before about spelling but can't find it now! Just had DC's end of Yr2 report and I'm very proud of him; he's worked hard and done very well. It highlighted two slightly weak areas: story writing and spelling. He's agreed to do do some story writing with me over the summer hols, which I'm intending to make as fun as possible, but he also asked me if I'd help him with his spelling. He said that he gets very anxious about not knowing how to spell a word and it slows him down.

He's currently in the top spelling group, but this doesn't always translate to accurate spelling when doing literacy work. Does spelling just come with tonnes of practice? And knowing the spelling rules?

Can anyone advise me how to help my DS with his spelling - from where I could find out the rules (any good books?) or any other tips? I'm also conscious that it's a necessary part of verbal reasoning, so I'd like to be able to help him sooner rather than later, so we're not doing a huge catch-up nearer to the 11+.

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 Post subject: Re: Spelling
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 8:37 pm
Posts: 577
Hi,

A couple of tricks I find useful for spelling:
Get him to understand really well what a syllable is. Get him to read lots of words aloud to you and ask him how many syllables in each word. When he is rock solid on syllables (amazing how many children add or subtract them for ordinary words) then get him to guess the spelling of words syllable by syllable. Breaking them down this way can really help their confidence.

They might not know how to spell procrastination but they know how to spell pro then cras then tin then ation-as-in-station - a word they already know how to spell. They might get, say, cras wrong - add an extra s or start with a k, so then you explain they only got one syllable wrong out of five (which feels better than getting the whole word wrong,) and so you only teach the syllable they fall down on.

This method also helps with words like imitation which they can easily write as imation or imition. Breaking down syllable by syllable helps that.

Second method is again by breaking the word down and adding prefixes or suffixes. I remember teaching a little boy who had zero confidence and was bottom set how to read and spell the world photographically when he was still at cat mat sat level, way below his friends.

We started with the ph blend, then onto photo as a ph blend + phonetic sounds oto, We looked at graph as phonetic sound gra plus ph blend then put the two together, then added ic then ally on the end. He went in one session from three letter words to a 16 letter word and never looked back because his confidence rocketed.


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 Post subject: Re: Spelling
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:03 pm
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Thanks Menagerie, that makes perfect sense, splitting it into syllables. It's how he recently learned "Wednesday"! But do DC simply have to learn which words begin with a "ph" as opposed to an "f', for example, as in "photographically"? I can't remember how I learned to spell, other than that I did a lot of 'dictionary homework'!

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 Post subject: Re: Spelling
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:22 pm 
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Yes, they do just have to familiarise themselves with it. Reading helps a lot. Ask them to read a short passage really focusing on how some of the words in it are spelled. If necessary write it yourself to include words he often gets wrong. Make sure the subject of the writing is something he's interested in. Then do a spelling test immediately afterwards, of say ten words. Get him to reread, and redo the words he got wrong. And again until he's got all ten. then do it again an hour later without reading first. Then next day. Boring but he;ll get the hang of reading for spellings and that will help.

Etymology helps too, but you have to be nerdily into words to care about them in that way (e.g. learning that 'photography' comes from the Greek words 'photo' meaning light and 'graph' meaning line or drawing. So photograph means making a drawing with light. Then, when he comes across the word graphic which means very visual/pictoral, he might remember that it connects with the Greek stem and that it's spelled ph not f.

I had one pupil, not a keen reader at all, who liked etymology, so it's worth a shot. He didn't get kn words until I told him that they were medieval and in Old English, the k wasn't silent. He went around pronouncing it for about three lessons and we had very Monty Pythonish fun pretending to be k-nights fighting with k-nives. By that time the k had sunk into his memory and stopped bothering him.


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 Post subject: Re: Spelling
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:38 pm 
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:lol: Your classes sound very lively, Menagerie! I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to meanings of names and such like and I'm sure I can encourage DS to become one too! He seems to be in competition with a schoolfriend to be the master of as many apparently useless, obscure facts as possible, so if I can actually slip something useful in there, like spelling, that would be fantabulosa (a la Kenneth Williams)!

I shall do a search for "etymology" on Amazon (unless anyone can specifically recommend one?).

Thanks a lot, Menagerie.

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 Post subject: Re: Spelling
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:39 pm 
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There's a dictionary of word stems that some people love - sorry can't remember the title - it's pretty old too but I think it might be useful for the purpose you are thinking of. It's being able to take words back to the stem that seems to be one of the really good tricks for good spelling if you don't just get it by reading and reading.


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 Post subject: Re: Spelling
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:03 pm 
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Menagerie - what great advice!

What is it with spellings. One son has to just look at them once, and then remembers them. The other son has three outcomes: He gets them all right, and then gets them wrong during the actual test, he gets them wrong, and then gets them correct during the test, or in last weeks example, he didn't even know what they were (due to being ill) and gets 14/16! Sometimes I think the only justification in doing spellings is that it establishes a routine of 'homework' early on, which is good for later life.


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 Post subject: Re: Spelling
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:23 pm 
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Pheasant - my sons are the same. The younger one, who was incredibly behind in literacy until end of yr 1, has a photographic memory. he sees a word once and just knows how to spell it. My other son, I discovered didn't even know how to spell his first name (we usually use a diminutive of it) until this summer. He's about to enter yr 5 (and is very bright, but spelling just doesn't matter to him. Like Shakespeare... :wink: )

Mystery is this the book? I don't know it but it sounds good:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Websters-Explor ... 980&sr=1-1


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 Post subject: Re: Spelling
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:47 am 
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That wasn't the one, but it does look good. I'll try and find the title for another one I have seen which was all about word stems; yours looks more up to date than the one I saw so it might be better.

The other thing I was recently on A***** was something with a title like the Ace spelling dictionary. It enabled a child who can't spell well to look up a word - not always easy - it had fab reviews. I was considering buying it. Anyone know it?


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 Post subject: Re: Spelling
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:19 am 
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Location: East Kent
The Oxford spellling dictionary is good ,

Oxford Spell it Yourself, designed for children, They have them from 0.01p on Amazon!

Websters is an American Dictionary Series so I'd be a bit wary about using it


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