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 Post subject: Help for a bad Speller
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:47 am
Posts: 3310
Location: Warwickshire.
name removed wrote:
My daughter is an excellent reader and writes very creatively (got level 5C in Yr 5 English) but still has constant difficulty with her spelling.
The words she gets wrong seem completely unpredictable to me : at 10 yrs she still struggles with e.g.:

"Farther" instead of "father"
"wich or witch" instead of "which"
"thier" instead of "their"
"of" instead of "off"

In the run up to the 11+ we did try to work through some of the Schonell spelling lists but this did not seem to make much difference. In her practice essays of 1-2 pages of A4 she would usually have 20-25 spelling mistakes.

Although it is now too late for the 11+, I would like her to start high school feeling confident about her spelling ability. I must admit I find what may be going on in her head hard to understand as spelling has always come quite naturally to me.

Is there a "programme" I could follow at home with her? School does not seem to think she has a problem.




I have exactly the same problem with my son. He managed to 'pass' the 11+ and pass all the entrance exams that he sat last year, but his spelling is awful!

Like you, school did not think it a problem.

Now he is at his new school there is much more emphasis on correctly spelling words. He has started 3 new languages and absolutely no consideration is given to the fact that his spelling is phonetically plausible. It is marked as wrong if it is misspelled!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:06 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 7:57 pm
Posts: 62
I've had a similar problem with DS. I've tried getting him to write lists of words eg. 20 ways of moving / 10 words instead of 'eat' / 20 words associated with.... We've then gone through them and written out the mistakes 3 times each. I've also tried going through his school books in the evening and doing 3x corrections. At school he is asked to look at (some of the) mistakes and self correct - to make him think about it.
His spelling is improving, however he can still mis-spell a word he knows when he isn't thinking specifically about spellings.
I think years of mis-spelling in a tricky habit to break. I'm more on the ball with DS2 so he doesn't get the bad spelling habit.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:07 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:31 am
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Location: Gloucester
Kit - you have just described my dd2 perfectly! She spells those same words wrong yet is bright and among top few in all subjects. Teacher said she is the best creative writer in the class, but when we look her spelling is poor. Same as you school don't think it is an issue. She usually gets 100% in a spelling test if she has learnt the words the night before, but when she is writing a piece of work, spelling goes flying out of the window!

Never had that with dd1 who remembers how to spell a word when she has seen it once or twice.

We had farther instead of father yesterday! :roll:

Am trying to be abit laid back about it as I don't want to put her off literacy by constantly correcting spellings.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:47 am
Posts: 3310
Location: Warwickshire.
name removed wrote:
Thanks for the replies, it is reassuring to know that she is not alone!

Ed's Mum has given me hope that it is possible to pass the 11+ with bad spelling. I did not dwell too much on her mistakes in the practice we did as I took the view that it was probably better to write creatively using interesting if slightly misspelt vocabulary rather than "safe" correctly spelled words.

The results are due at the end of January so time will tell.....



However, *** is still waiting for some useful advice for how to help...

I would hate that this thread became anecdotal and no help to you *** - and I know I started it off!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:04 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2008 2:09 pm
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Its the same advice that has been given above generally.

Teachers don't want children to get stuck on spellings at the expense of a good write up, so they may not have called attention to it. In marking creative writing, there are so many elements that you can confuse children if you have to point out every mistake, so the school will not see a problem with a good writer (which is usually rare) that has a few spelling errors. At the end of the day they are still young and learning.

After you are confident that the child can come up with a good write up, then you can call attention to spellings which you are rightfully doing.

1. Ensure the child knows that on a this piece of writing you are focusing on spellings before they start writing. They can then concentrate on getting their spellings right and even stop in the middle to check a spelling in a dictionary.
2. At the end, they could still use a dictionary to check words they were not so sure about.
3. When you mark, you bring out the errors, they practice writing it 3 times over, spelling it out each time.

4. The fun part is to sing with it or make mnemonics or even jokingly asking everyone else to spell the same word.They could try their friends out on 'in which words does i comes before e', what is the difference between farther and father, etc.

These are my tips and the fun bit is usually the best for most children and most remembered. All the best.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 12:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:25 am
Posts: 147
At the risk of opening a can of worms spelling is a particular bug bear of mine. It infuriates me when parents have a bright child who goes all the way through primary school with good SATs scores but the parents can see there is a problem with spelling.The examination system is designed to produce the highest grades with the least effort. Spelling takes effort and so the government have given it the least weighting in order to achieve the highest results and keep the voters happy.At GCSE no subject (including English) requires good spelling.As long as the child has the correct answer the words can be spelt incorrectly.An example would be spelling 'clod'instead of 'cold'. If this was the correct answer to the question in geography or science the mark would be awarded regardless of the spelling. There is no incentive for teachers of specific subjects to correct spelling as they know it makes no difference.
You can also get a grade C at GCSE with very poor spelling and also an A
with very mediochre spelling.
My view is ,that you wouldn't give a child a violin and say play something. You have to learn how to stand, how to hold the bow and many other tedious things before you can play a tune well.
Also if a child says 2+2 =5 they will be told it is wrong and accept it. If they spell badly they are told never mind-you are so creative it doesn't matter if the words are spelt incorrectly. And it doesn't because they can pass no end of exams without good spelling. I hope there are no spelling mistakes in this or I will never hear the last of it.I am rubbish at typing but does it matter?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:41 pm
Posts: 686
Location: South Wilts
dinah wrote:
mediochre


Is the answer mediocre? :D

Strangely, my daughter's school is very picky about spelling and grammar but does very little extended creative writing and pretty much leaves comprehension until Year 6. It's a shame that Literacy isn't being taught as a way to accurately write, speak and comprehend the English language.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:51 pm
Posts: 393
member's name removed wrote:
A belated thanks for all your replies and I just wanted to give some reassurance to other parents with similar concerns: DD passed her 11+ for Colyton Grammar, which included a creative writing and letter writing paper, so some flexibilty in spelling must be tolerated in the test.


A very interesting thread - sorry to post so belatedly...

Our daughter is also not so hot on spelling except in a spelling test. We are using a tutor (just an hour a week) and he doesn't seem to pick up on these errors in her creative writing and my wife thinks this proves that he's incompetent. I'm a little more laid back about it, but I can't believe that the top schools will ignore it.

Some of you seem to be saying that "the school" isn't worried, but I presume that means the current school, not the one marking exams.

I suppose this may be something I can ask the schools we're interested in.


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