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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:44 pm 
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Son is a poor speller - finding question types F and J very hard. He is generally doing well with VR and very well with NVR. A keen and v.good reader (achieving level 5 in the YR5 reading sats, maths, YR6 science and 3A writing ) with a wide vocabulary. Spelling tests are v.good every week but frustrating as the words he writes are poorly spelt out of this context. He missed out on any spelling approach or strategy whilst in year 1 and 2 ... and although we have tried to help him by making sure he knows his year 1/2/3/4 high frequency words from the national literacy strategy his spelling seems to be pretty static. He knows all his blends but really has no knowledge of spelling rules or families. HELP ... what can we do? He is very keen to improve - saying he wants to do 15 mins a day from now on!
Can anyone think of books to help - Schonell's Essential Spelling books? Are there any assessments that I could do to pinpoint weaknesses? School have regularly said how poor his spelling is but have not provided him with anything 'different' and "Just keep reading..." has not helped !


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:11 pm 
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I would refer you to the Reading Reflex book that YoYo referred me to some time ago. The authors are Carmen and Geoffrey McGuinness. Whilst it sounds like your child doesn't have any trouble with his reading, this book offers strategies for both reading and spelling. If you consider that our written language is a 'code' for our spoken language, then you realise that when you spell, you are converting sounds into written symbols. This system teaches the child to spell first sound-by-sound and then syllable-by-syllable (or chunk-by-chunk as they put it). Phono-Graphix (which is the name of the system) teaches that our spelling system isn't as unpredictable as you might think, just that most sounds have more than one way to spell them, and that one spelling pattern can represent more than one sound. Even the word diarrhoea is regular (if you'll excuse the inappropriateness of that statement!):

d - a standard spelling for the sound /d/
i - a standard spelling for the sound /ie/
ar - a standard spelling for the sound /er/
rh - a standard spelling for the sound /r/
oe - a standard spelling for the sound /ee/
a - an unstressed syllable

Once your child can break down words into their sounds/syllables, he can try out the different spellings for those sounds and syllables, and look to see which one looks right. This system has been a complete revelation to a child I've been working with; though his spelling is still lousy (I haven't had the time to work with him that I would have liked), his writing is now readable, in that his spellings make sense. And he takes the greatest pleasure in spelling 'difficult' words, because he has a strategy to break them down and work out the spellings for each part.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:12 pm 
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Should have added - the book offers tests to check whether your child has the most basic skills in place - whether he can blend, segment and knows the 'code'


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:05 pm 
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Thankyou !!! Interestingly enough dyslexia runs through our family - grandfather, brother, nephew and I was given extra time in my 'A' levels as there were 'traits' (or that's how it was communicated to me). Teachers have always said son "definately has not got dyslexia"... and he certainly has none of the difficulties that I see brother and nephew have/are experiencing... Will be having a good look at the book ASAP Thankyou!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:19 pm 
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My daughter sounds very similar - gained three 5s in Y5 SATS but her spelling is dreadful and she struggles with some of the verbal reasoning questions. I suggested to the school that she may be dyslexic but they said no. I recently took her to be tested by Dyslexia Action and they said that yes, she has moderate dyslexia, but because she is bright she is not significantly behind in her reading.
I have just finished doing the 'Toe by Toe' book by Keda Cowling with her and her knowledge of phonics (and reading) has improved considerably. It takes 10 mins per day and takes the readers completely back to basics with letter sounds and blends.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:29 pm 
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Location: East Kent
I taught a child who was an excellent reader but just couldn;t spell. That method helped her a lot. Especially teh "Scratch spelling" you write out all teh possible spellings and then cross out the ones which don't look right .

Good readers find this useful (generally speaking) as they recognise the "shape" of a word .


I've sent you a pm


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 Post subject: spelling and VR
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:07 pm 
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THANKYOU Yoyo123 - really appreciate your advice. Interestingly I gave son the Schonell spelling assessment and he scored 9years 6 months - not as bad as I had anticipated (he is 10.7years)
mistakes included; peir - pair, scate - skate, yoke - yolk, goin - join, fair - fare, curcus - circus, incress - increase, slipery - slippery, loge - lodge, stile - style, bargin - bargain, copes - copies, polisy - policy, veiw - view, cution - cushion, safty - safety, pashent - patient, acount - account, erley - earliest, instution - institution, simuler - similar... I gave some words in the context to their meaning e.g yolk (the yellow of an egg)
Can you or anyone else out there see where I should begin... I have been given Alpha to Omega by Beve Hornsby which is a phonic approach to reading, writing and spelling. Possibly would have a start with vowel digraphs... any thoughts.
Will get the book you recommended from the library. Thanks


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