Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Practising Spelling

Little-N has been practising his spelling words. He is finding sight words quite challenging. So I came up with a practice activity.
In my classroom I have 6 sets of sight words that cover all the 100 most common words. At first the boxes are only used for recognition of the words and I teach new words using the 3-period-lesson. Little-N successfully recognised all words by the end of the last school year. Once a child has completed a few boxes we begin to learning the spellings for these words. The practice activity goes as follows.
The child takes the moveable alphabet and a box of sight words to a mat. The child takes out one sight word. Reads it and then places it upside down on the mat. The child then builds the word from memory using the moveable. Once the child has built the word, they turn over the word card to check if they have used the right spelling. If the spelling is correct the child takes another word and begins to spell that. If the spelling is incorrect the child changes the letters on the mat to the correct spelling. Then the child can move onto the next word.

This activity really really helps with spelling and can be done with any words that the child is finding difficult. Having the word cards on the mat gives the child a sense of security and reduces the chances of failure. The child is gradually beginning to hold words in his memory. Eventually when the child's memory has increased, he can place the words on a mat across the classroom and build it with the moveable alphabet on another mat further away. This way the child will have to keep the spelling in his memory for a longer period.Does anyone else have any activities that help with learning irregular spellings?


Annicles said...

we make a point of saying the words as they look and using them in context. The result can be funny enough that the child learns both the spelling and the actual word really quickly.

For instance - the word "what". For a whole day I asked a child who was finding this difficult lots of questions beginning with
w-hat. By the end of the day she was recognising and spelling it correctly!

Sometimes silly is best!

My other trick is to make lots of cards with the same word written on it lots of times and blu-tack the cards all over the classroom and garden but in slightly unlikely places but where i know a particular child will be - for instance under a piece of a map if we are working on geography that week. The child will know there are 10 cards hidden around but s/he isn't allowed to look for them. If they turn up they bring me the card and read it and then stick it on the wall in the found word box (yes, really! its just a taped rectangle!) By the time they have found the word 10 times and spelt it to me they have it. I also use the THRASS method sometimes. So we break a word into graphemes (the word rabbit's graphemes are r, a, b, i, t.) Then run your finger under the word from let to right while saying the word. Finally spell it aloud R, A, B, B, I, T.

My final top tip is to spell the word out loud and reach up for letters with ascenders, ahead for letters with no ascenders or descenders and down for letters with descenders. I do this because I have a lot of kinesthetic learners in my class and they remember through movement, the bigger the better. The reaching up , ahead and down plants a memory of double letters or strange graphems like igh because they repeat and the child learns the pattern.

jojoebi said...

great tips! we are just starting spelling, so I will be using some of these.

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