21 January 2009

10 Things They Never Taught Us About Teaching Spelling

Anyone can teach spelling, or so it seems. Spelling is often only briefly discussed in language arts method course and is the first subject for which most student teachers are given responsibility.

Although separate and distinct in the curriculum, spelling is something of "non-subject." You don't really teach it so much as you test it, and the weekly cycle is so deep ingrained in educational practice that even preservice teachers can describe the weekly "pretest-study-posttest" approach.

There is no shortage of research concerning effective spelling instruction, and many of the traditional approaches have consistently shown themselves to be of questionable effectiveness for helping students become proficient spellers. There are at least 10 simple truths about teaching and learning of spelling that new teachers rarely learn and university instructors rarely teach:

1. Children should not practive spelling words orally.

2. Oral spelling games are fine for motivation but are of little use in learning to spell effectively.

3. When good spellers are uncertain about a correct spelling, they will usually check it visually.

4. There is a correlation between proficient reading and effective spelling.

5. Spelling evaluation should not be merely a count of correct and incorrect spellings.

6. Children should not study words they already know how to spell.

7. The words on a spelling list should have some apparent relationship to one another.

8. Children should not be drilled or tested on words for which they have no immediate use.

9. By far the most effective means of learning to spell is self-editing of one's writing.

10. Spelling instruction should be individualized.

(by Karl A. Matz)

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1 comments:

Hapi January 21, 2009 at 6:25 PM  

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