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 Post subject: Y4 and spelling skills
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:53 pm 
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Just had DD2's (Y4) parents evening in which the results of optional SATs taken before the Feb half term are discussed (amongst other things). DD2 has a nice, experienced teacher. Levels achieved were 4b in reading, 4c in maths and 3b in writing. I think the writing level is about average for her age (8)? Obviously there is a big difference between the reading and writing levels - the teacher says the lower writing level is due to spelling errors rather than content. DD2 is great at spelling tests but not in her general everyday writing - I think she probably just memorises words for a short period then offloads them out of her brain! Her teacher recommended an Andrew Brodie book to help with spellings but I wondered if anyone else had any extra advice / experiences in this area? Spelling (and not checking her work) is def DD's weakness and I would really like to find some way of helping her improve in this area.

Many thanks in advance!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:35 pm 
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Hi Jules7, try buying a book from AE Tuition. They are available from major bookstores, and are for 11+ but are suitable for your DD as well. AE also published other subjects e.g. Verbal Reasoning, and they have a very nice set of vocabulary books-they go up to 12. They are around 8 pounds each.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:38 am 
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Ok, I think it is this teacher's interpretation that the mark comes down a lot due to spelling.

Do you get to see your child's literacy work regularly? If so, you should work on spellings she gets wrong regularly.

Work on grammatical rules connected with spellings at the same time e.g. Forming plurals, forming the past tense of a verb.

Work on words with letter patterns in common together e.g. Wh in where, what, who, whine, wheel etc but w without h more common - look in dictionary to see this is the case; a after w generally makes /o/ sound e.g was, watch, want, wallaby, wasp, what, At after w generally says or e.g. Wart, warp, war, warthog,warble

Make her an alphabetical list of first 300 highest frequency words and encourage her to look up any she thinks she might have got wrong. Ther are several techniques a school could use to cultivate good spelling during school. Some schools do not. Find out what your schools are and connect with them. Try an ace spelling dictionary.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:02 am 
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Thanks for the replies. Mystery - not sure what you mean about teachers interpretation about the mark coming down? Could there be something else do you mean? At the time I did ask about content and punctuation and the teacher said that was fine. Unfortunately we only get to see literacy work books at parents evening but I always check spelling in her homework - plenty to correct...

Not had time to tackle the book I bought yet but plan to do a little every day in the Easter hols (hopefully she will be more focussed then than after school/homework/activities). I have dowloaded a free spelling app and put Y4 key words into it so she can practice on that. It was interesting recording the words onto the ipad - I sound like a strict school teacher so DD is doing it so it sounds more fun! We will move onto spelling of more complicated words after that.

I did look at an ace spelling dictionary (had never heard of it before) but tbh thought that it might confuse things. She can use an ordinary disctionary fine.

One thing I and the teacher noticed which I forgot to mention before - she still (but not always) interchanges b and d in her writing, usually at the start of a word. No idea why and only with this combo of letters. Strange.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:06 am 
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Hi Jules7, do you mind me asking which spelling app you used? Sounds fun if you can record it yourself...

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:28 pm 
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What I meant Jules was that NC grades should not come down this much because of spelling. I thought spelling scarcely affected the writing marks at all.

Could you tell me please what the iPad app is you are using, and what you are downloading as "year 4 words". Sounds interesting.

Does the teacher correct spellings and get your daughter to write out corrections? And does she teach spelling logically? If no to both, it means more work for the poor parents.

If you were to type out a few paragraphs of her "natural writing" unadorned I might be able to give you some tips where to start .... I'm good at the the theory but can't do it with my own children!

Also if you search online for a spelling document for "Bellenden Primary School" you'll find something that looks good as a year by year plan. Makes me realise how far behind mine are!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Your DD nc levels are similar to my DD..there is a big gap between her writing and everything else too. It was the same with my boys. I'm not too concerned as I noticed with them they seemingly improved overnight with their spellings....it just clicked whereas I don't think the ability to write an imaginative story would. All three of mine also could point out the wrong / right spellings in the 11plus type tests / English papers and could spell the words properly when prompted. I think, with mine at least, it's a mixture of so much to remember when writing and laziness!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:04 pm 
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Yes that's right. If you have reason to believe they do know how a lot of the words they get wrong are spelled then you are wasting time learning words at home. Better to analyse it a bit further before doing loads of spelling work. Best thing is to concentrate on a small number of words they really do not know how to spell correctly and that they use very often in their writing.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:32 pm 
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rather than testing the words in isolation ( as in traditional spelling test) try including them in a dictated sentence. Problem is the the brain is thinking of several words when you write normally, not just a word on its own. Slightly different skills


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:40 pm 
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Yes, I think that's a good test of it they know it - but even so they can get it right in dictation and wrong in "free writing" - then I'd say it will probably just all come togehter with maturity as Scarlett witnessed.

Dictation is very good practice. Another good thing (if your child will do it) is for them to "hold a sentence" - read it, and then write it out without looking back at it. It's at this point that my DD1 starts to spell as it sounds rather than as it is written. She will do the same in a written comprehension - a particular word could be written 50 times in the passage and in the question directly above her answer ... but ..... she will spell it her own way.


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