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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:56 am 
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My DDs Primary does not do spelling tests from any age. Its been a bone of contention with me since Reception, but the Head is adamant she will not introduce them. Ive bought it up at every parent / teacher night as its been my one big concern with my DD.

In Yr3 they did get 10 spellings a week, but they werent tested on them, they just had to write them in their homework books - no weekly tests.

I didnt realise just HOW BAD my DDs spelling was until I started doing some comprehension with her using the Bond books -8-9 yrs. She is 8 and Yr4.

One of the questions was "What does Contagious" mean in sentence 4?" her answer "caching" -of course meaning catching - an example of a simple word spelt wrong. Last night she wrote a factual piece about her school -she spelt her school name wrong 3 times (each with different spellings) and words like "every" "Planning" etc. Usually she misses out a letter like the second e in every and one of the n's in planning.

I cant get to the bottom of whether she is simply careless or whether there is a more deep seated problem. She is top of the class for literacy and her teacher seems totally unconcerned with her dire spelling. She often writes 5 or 6 page stories and if I corrected every mistake in red, you would barely be able to read the text LOL!

Ive gone from annoyed, to concerned to now deeply troubled by it and Im not sure the best way to tackle it. Ive tried doing spelling tests at home but that isnt working. She reads an awful lot and has a reading age of about 11, so can tackle "harder" books. She reads aloud to me and doesnt stumble on many words so she can definately read the words she cant spell OK!

Is it simply a matter of practise and it will come eventually? My 6 year old son seems much more a "natural" speller and although has trouble with his handwriting, what he DOES get down on paper is all spelt beautifully LOL!

I think this has come to a head as even my DD was shocked she spelt the school name wrong and got very tearful saying she was "rubbish" and wasnt going to write anything anymore! Managed to comfort her and promised to work together to help her (this is obviously a totally seperate issue from 11+ work).

Has anyone any advice on things we can do to help her? I think she needs to learn to "proof read" her work and slow down a bit, but Id be interested if anyone else has had the same issue and what you did to help?

Interestingly, one of the mums in Yr6 whose son is taking the 11+ next month, says her lad is EXACTLY the same and school have never tackled it, saying "he will improve in time"!!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:22 am 
I do think you can have a natural speller, but generally advanced readers are good spellers because they have come across lots of words. I would encourage her to read more if she enjoys it. Does the school correct her errors because if not she will never learn from her mistakes and do the school teach spelling eg i before e except after c and other methods?

I personally would be concerned as you have a bright daughter and it seems strange that her spelling is so poor. Of course so many primary teachers have appalling spelling that I'm not surprised that your daughter may be having problems.

The only thing I can suggest is to teach her spelling methods and maybe Kumon english which is repetitive but maybe what she needs to cement the correct spelling into her mind.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:32 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: East Kent
play lots of games like scrabble WITH a dictionary, encourage her to redraft any work she does, checking for mistakes. There are lots of good spelling games on the net too. Start by looking at BBC

I have taught children like her who although excellent readers with a good vocabulary had a difficulty with spelling. Oxford University Press do a good spelling dictionary. Spell it yourself , which sets out root words and derivatives. It's by GT Hawker.

You might consider a spell checker (or spill chucker) but they aren;t without problems, you need to know what word you are aiming for!

Spelling does tend to be taught in Literacy lessons (word work) but not as spelling lists any more.

You could always set a few each week, practice them and give her a reward for getting them right, make it light hearted as pressure is probably the last thing she needs.

I've sent you a PM


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:06 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:27 pm
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Location: Yorks
Hi Jessmum

My daughter is in year 6 and doing the 11+ in Dec. She is a high flier in every respect apart from spelling which is atrocious. She is also in top literacy group (top table of 6 in year group of 60). Although it is showing signs of improving slightly now I have been and still am extremely concerned about it. I did once make an appointment with the head to discuss the possibility of dyslexia (she is not). Successive teachers have reassured us that it is only a 'small part' of literacy overall and that it will come in time. She does constantly make the same mistakes that you describe particularly missing out the second of double consonants mid-word. Her literacy level at the start of year 6 is 5b so she must make up for it in other ways. I also don't really know what to do for the best but if she does gain a grammar school place I think we will be doing some intensive spelling practice before next September. Good Luck!

Nervy


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:13 pm
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You can get a high literacy level in the SATS and be a fairly poor speller because spelling is not taken into consideration in either of the writing tasks. It is only scored in the spelling test, which requires the pupils to fill in 20 missing words, but carries a maximum score of only 7 points.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:44 pm 
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My year 8 dd is a dreadful speller too - always has been. I'm hoping that Latin might help - but I'm old fashioned like that! As a point of interest it has been proved that spelling tests don't actually work - and my dd is a perfect case study of this. Her primary had weekly spelling tests - and she always got 20/20 in them without fail. Problem was, get her to use any of the words she had learnt for the test in a sentence and she couldn't! Many od the words eh now spells wrongly she learnt for spelling tests in Primary School.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:13 pm 
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This is interesting as my son is an excellent speller and I was quite surprised when we got a letter from his school yesteday that they will no longer have spelling tests as part of their homework and that instead they will get one piece of letters and sounds homework :shock: . Anyone experienced this change from their dc's school?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:21 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:16 am
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Location: Lincs
I agree with Katel. My daughter is a very good reader way above her age but a terrible speller( age 8, yr4). She has had spelling tests since age FOUR!
She always knows her spellings for her tests but will get them wrong in a body of work.
I would be happy if she didn't get them anymore as I don't think they have made the slightest difference...in fact I think it has made her think she can spell ok as she gets good marks in her spellings!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:51 am 
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You are exactly right there Fillup. Unless the spelling tests are specifically designed to tackle each individual child's spelling mistakes they are a waste of time. Learning a set of words by rote that you may or may not use frequently in written work is not the way forward.

One of the things that doing this 11+ work has made me realise is that my son does not know basic spelling rules and patterns and it is these I will be tackling once the test is over. My only regret is that I started tutoring him too late to tackle it before the test.

My son is a level 5 reader and loves books, however to work out a word a child only needs to see couple of letters in it and use the context. Reading does not therefore automatically link to spelling.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:54 am 
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I too am worried about my children's spelling. It is not just literacy work that this affects. Last night for example for maths homework my son wrote 'equasions', 'equassions', 'equattions' :shock: Three different (wrong) spellings of a word in one small piece. All were ignored by the maths teacher. (The maths was right). When I look through both of my children's work it really riles me the amount of uncorrected spelling mistakes.

Even more worryingly his recent literacy screening assessment places him in the 90th percentile for spelling :? .


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