I remember going to school and receiving the same list of spelling words as the kid who sat next to me… You know exactly what I’m talking about don’t you!?
It’s blatantly obvious that rehearsing a list of random words once a week through the look, cover, write, check method is probably the best way to waste time. There’s so much research to back up the importance of personalised spelling lists and teaching spelling in context.
Over the past couple of years I have been experimenting with a variety of ways to teach my students various spelling strategies and techniques. I think there’s a few things worth sharing.
We begin every Monday morning with a spelling investigation. Here’s how it looks. (Please note that the first thing we did, prior to beginning these lessons was compile a list of things we could do when we can’t spell a word. This helped the students to realise that there are a variety of ways to spell. See the link below for our list)
1. Children independently investigate their workbooks and identify any misspelled words. They need to highlight these in green. The rule of thumb is generally no more than 5 spelling words per week.
2. Once they have a list, they need to draw upon their spelling strategy list and/spelling rules and work out how to spell the word correctly. I encourage children to try a different strategy each time.
3. Each child is also give a copy of the THRASS sound chart so that they are able to identify the different sounds letters make. They can also draw upon this to help them.
4. Children add their words to their own personal spelling lists which live in a Google Drive folder. As children compile their lists, they’re required to complete each section in the table below.
5. Children are able to decide if they want to practise the 5 words they identified, or find words with the same letter-sound blends that they are struggling to spell correctly. The students who decide to do this are generally those who continue to spell the same sounds wrong. Eg: tion words.
6. Students are then required to practise these words in any way, shape or form they wish throughout the week for homework. This may be in the form of a song, word search ect. Here’s a link I share with the children. They love it!
7. Each following Monday, children test a partner on their list of words. If they spell the word correctly it gets removed, if not, the word stays on the list for another week.
The cycle continues on a weekly basis.
It’s important to ensure the tests are completed in a non-invasive environment so that children feel comfortable and at ease.
This is a system that works for all of my students. It’s personalised and targets each of their individual needs. I’ve also seen a great improvement in their spelling and they’re drawing on a number of strategies, rather than just relying on one! Give it a go.