Saturday, January 23, 2016

The "Write" Way to Teach Spelling to Elementary Students

Do you have 4 or more word study/spelling groups?

Do you spend precious planning time finding and printing four sets of words?

Do you spend more than 20 minutes of powerful instructional time teaching and testing these groups? 


Are differentiated word/study groups effective and the best use of your time?

As a first grade teacher, I tried differentiated word study groups and didn't find them to be effective.  My students didn't apply the spelling patterns when they were writing.

As a Reading Specialist, I helped teachers assess, organize and plan for instruction, but we still had the same problem.  Our students didn't apply the spelling patterns they were studying.  The results on the Virginia Pals State Assessment continued to drop and the quality of students' writing had not improved.

Spelling is a very small part of the language arts block, but it takes WAY too much time using differentiated word study/spelling groups. Children were sorting words by just looking at the letters that were the same.  This is not meeting the objectives of VA SOLs or CCSS.  If you search the Virginia Standards of Learning and Common Core State Standards, you will find spelling in the writing strands.  They both state that students will demonstrate/apply spelling patterns when WRITING.

Several of my teachers started searching online for something they could use that was manageable, but they couldn't find anything that was effective. 

I began to brainstorm with them and for over a year I've worked on a complete spelling program that teachers could use sequentially from the first week of school to teach spelling patterns. It can be used to teach whole group with remediation for struggling students or with groups if your school system requires groups.

Combining my knowledge as a Reading Specialist and Reading Recovery Teacher with my experience as a classroom teacher,  I created sorts, activities, and assessments where children APPLY the patterns. There is a scope and sequence to ensure that all of the grade level spelling patterns are taught, as well as, specifically selected words so previous patterns are reviewed. 

Elementary school children need to spend more time writing in order to prepare them for the rigors of the higher grades. Teachers need materials readily available so they can spend their precious time teaching.

Thanks for everything you do every day for children.



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