Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spelling Curriculum Recommendations

(Please excuse any grammar errors on this post, it was just a friend to friend e-mail.)

I have a student who seems to have a terrible problem with spelling. He may be right-brained, I am not sure. He has been labeled by the school system O.D.D. oppositional defiance disorder...however i don't think he is O.D.D. ...he may be A.D.D. ......either way, he is one of the worst spellers i have ever seen...he is 14 years old, and most 6-year-olds have a better grasp on spelling...
can you help?? any suggestions? curriculums you like??

I strongly recommend "How to Teach Any Child to Spell" by Gayle Graham for this situation. ($8ish) She has also put out a student notebook to go with her tiny book. The student notebook is called "Tricks of the Trade." ($17) The notebook has all the sounds and their spellings broken down onto different pages and can be used as a spelling dictionary for words the student routinely uses. (We didn't have this notebook when Marchelle was learning, we just used notebook paper and put it into her 3-ring-binder.)
That was around the age that Marchelle decided she wanted to know how to spell. It took about 6 months using Gayle Grahams method and she was flying! Of course, Marchelle is a fast learner. I also noted that once Andrew decided he wanted to know how to spell he got better quickly. (Sometimes, they just have to "want to.")
That said, Gayle Graham's method uses words from their writing, so if the child is not writing - you won't have any words to pull from.
This year I'm using Spelling Power ($69)...I like the organized method she has, but it has some drawbacks that you will need to overcome. The first one is: covering too many spelling rules in one sitting. I've had to break the Spelling Power down into Gayle Graham's "How to Teach Any Child to Spell" method. The Second one is: On the Delayed Recall Tests, for each word that they misspell you need to go back over that group to practice that rule again. However, my kids didn't always misspell the word due to the group rule. Eg. excite. The rule was for the long "i" sound. My son forgot the "c." Obviously, I didn't make him go over the whole group for the long "i" sound.

So, for my struggling spellers, I'm really using two programs. Spelling Power, because it only takes 10 to 15 minutes a day and provides consistency...but I break it down even further into Gayle Graham's method of teaching the sound and the spelling together. (Eg. The "ai" sound - in rain)
Also, you'll need "The ABC's and All Their Tricks" ($23ish) to go with the "Tricks of the Trade"/"How to Teach Any Child".... This book was the crux for Marchelle. If she didn't spell "bread" right because of the "ea", I would go to The ABC's and find the "ea" with the bread sound and tell her how many words in the English language utilize that spelling for that sound and show her some of the words.

This comes in extremely handy for things like "er," "ir," and "ur." I can tell my kids...if you hear the "ER" sound...
using the letters *ER* - 329 words have it in the stressed syllable, 1737 have it in the unstressed syllable
• Only, 114 words use the spelling *ir* for that sound,
• and only 247 words use the spelling *ur* for that sound.

So, do your best to remember which spelling is in the word you want, but if all else fails...use the *ER* spelling because there are many more words spelled that way than the other ways. See? (Of course, if they are near a dictionary, they can look it up. I did keep a spelling dictionary handy for my struggling spellers.)
Does this help?

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