Monday, August 31, 2015

How we Practice Spelling

There are lots of spelling programs out there. I've read through many of them, and to be honest I can't even remember which programs I've pulled ideas from...I have a really hard time just taking a curriculum and then doing exactly what we're supposed to do. Mostly because I know what my kids need and what they are capable of doing.

The Bear is very CEREBRAL. That's the best way I can describe it; she loves doing mental work, she loves workbooks. For her spelling I'm using the spelling list at the back of the 2nd grade Write Source book. I give her a pre-test, to see which words she already knows how to spell (this is the most frustrating part for her because she hates not knowing things). Once I'm done giving her the words, she checks the work herself. If she spelled it incorrectly she circles the word and writes it correctly below her other words. Then throughout the day I ask her to spell the 2 or 3 words she missed (she answers orally). Then the next day the words she missed previously are the first words I have her spell for the next pre-test. If she misses the previous day's words again we'll combine day 1 and day 2 words and take an extra day to practice them. Her favorite part of this is pointing out any time someone uses her spelling words or when she finds it in a book she's reading. 

 (This process would work with any grade level spelling words, and any list you found online. But success for your child depends mostly on their learning style. If they love book work, computing things in their head and learn best from reading and writing, then this would be a great approach.) 

 Buddy has very different learning styles than the Bear. In general he is much more creative, very kinesthetic (which I think is partially because he's a boy) and likes to fidget/has a hard time sitting still for very long (which I think is partially because he's still young). The main reason I do any spelling with him at all is because I'm hoping it will help with his reading skills. (He has to work really hard to remember a few sounds, specifically the difference between W, Y and U.

At the beginning of the week we select 6 simple words. These words are easy to sound out. I wasn't sure if I should do a combination of vowel sounds or use all the same vowel sounds. This week his words were: it ,in, an, at, us, up.

Day 1: look at the words, sound them out. Repeat 3 times.
Day 2: look at the words, write them down in your notebook. Read them as you write.
Day 3: compose the words using magnetic letters.
Day 4: compose the words using bottle cap letters
Day 5: "test" on the white board. Any words he misses he will continue to study the next week.

Here are some other spelling practice ideas that we have used for my kinesthetic guy (and fun practice for sister when she wants to join in).
*Since we live close to a beach, we may have a day where he writes his words in the sand.
*Use sight word cards spread across the floor: either jump on the word when called or "rescue it" by grabbing it and moving it to another location.
*Tape spelling words all over a room. Have a race to find the called for word first. (Also a great activity for preschoolers for number and letter recognition.)
*Have your speller copy the weeks words outside using chalk. Then *play hopscotch on your words. Or *play tag and only one spelling word is "base." Or use a *squirt gun to spray down your spelling words.

I think spelling is an important part of reading and writing, because being good at spelling will only make reading and writing easier. I also enjoy it because it's one of those things where I can see obvious improvement.

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