01 Jan My approach to teaching spelling
This is something I wrote to some colleagues, that I thought might be worth sharing here … it’s a key piece of my philosophy about understanding English spelling:
I think what took me a while to figure out is that I don’t need to teach my students how to spell all the words they will ever encounter … I need to teach them how to explore the words that are in front of them so we can make sense of their spelling. Once a spelling makes sense, once the word has been explored, then they’ll know how to spell it next time and we can move onto a new word to explore. Slowly but surely, they build a significant repertoire of words they can successfully explain and spell. And like oral language, we will add on single word by single word until BOOM – there comes a point where it explodes … and they realize there are a whole host of words they can now understand and spell.
ALSO, I have come to realize that when we tell students that spelling is CRAZY, they don’t take time to notice things about words. But when you reveal the awesomeness of the words in front of them, then they start noticing the awesomeness of other words as they read, and the spelling of those words starts to stick to them like happy glue.
[A parent of a client] tonight came into my class with a list of five words that she had wondered about as she was reading an article. She actually took notes on words as she read so she could ask me about them! I LOVE this! And you know what? We, as a group, could explain all her wonderings. How beautiful is that?
If you are interested in learning how to understand English spelling – either for you or your child (or WITH your child!), contact me!