Spelling and Writing
Writing and spelling go hand in hand. Help your student be a better writer by helping them be a better speller. Students need to learn about phonics, root words, prefixes, suffixes, and homonyms before and while becoming a confident fluent writer. If they struggle to spell words correctly, they will struggle to write.
- Spell it for them. When students ask how to spell a word when they are writing, spell it for them if you know how or help them figure out how to spell it. Students have a lot to process when they are learning how to write. Make them correct their spelling errors, but rarely make them look up their misspelled words in a dictionary.
- Get a good phonics curriculum. I used Abeka Phonics, and Sing, Spell, Read and Write with my 3 kids. Both spelling curricula were good. I have heard good things about Saxon Phonics, Bob Jones Phonics, Spelling Power, and Hooked on Phonics. Even more spelling programs are available now than back in the days of the dinosaurs when I was homeschooling. A basic phonics program helps even students with processing problems.
- Teach Latin and Greek. Some words just have to be memorized but if you teach them basic Latin and Greek your kids will understand more spelling patterns. Our language is based on Latin and Greek, so when students learn Latin and Greek prefixes, suffixes and roots their spelling improves and vocabulary increases. I recommend English from the Roots Up or Word Roots. http://www.criticalthinking.com/word-roots.html
- Study homonyms. Many spelling errors are because of homonym misuse. In one lesson per level, a game on homonyms is played as part of the lesson. The Write Foundation Additional Resources includes extensive lists of homonyms with 1 or 2 recommended ways to play a game. Play the extended version of the homonym game in the Additional Resources. You could even create more games such as a matching game where students have to match each homonym with its correct definition. Use note cards to write the words and definitions. Have your students help you create the playing cards made from note cards. Place the cards face down. Take turns finding matching pairs.
- Read, read, read. The best readers are the best writers. The more they read books the more they see words written correctly, which helps them become better spellers. Read books to them that are on their reading “instructional level” (books they can read but keep missing words) and their reading “frustration level” (books they find too difficult to attempt reading on their own). As their vocabulary increases, their reading level increases so they read more on their own. Have them read independently on their “independent level” which is books they can easily read on their own.
Repetition is the price of knowledge. Students need their teacher to teach and reteach until it soaks into their brain and sticks. Have them memorize phonics, homonyms, Latin and Greek roots, poetry and lists of different things. Exercise the brain muscle like any other muscle with memorization and repetition that develop your students’ ability to spell. Set your standards high enough that your students have to stretch but can still reach them. Help your students’ confidence grow as they learn how to write well.
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