Spelling has always been, and continues to be, one of those curriculum components that struggles to find its place. The effects of teaching spelling has been exhaustingly researched, and the following are notable findings:
Note: Invented spelling refers to young children’s attempts to use their best judgments about spelling.
- Young children using invented spelling employ a considerably greater variety of words in their writing than those encouraged to use only the words they can spell correctly (Gunderson & Shapiro, 1987, 1988; Clarke, 1988; Stice & Bertrand, 1990).
- By the end of first grade, children encouraged to use invented spellings typically score as well or better on standardized tests of spelling than children allowed to use only correct spellings in first drafts (Clarke, 1988; Stice & Bertrand, 1990).
- Young children encouraged to use invented spellings seem to develop word recognition and phonics skills sooner than those not encouraged to spell the sounds they hear in words (Clarke, 1988).
- At least in grades 3-6, it is not clear that spelling instruction has much of an effect beyond what is learned through reading alone, if children are reading extensively (Krashen, 1991).
Taking into consideration what the research says, I like the list of “No Excuse” words from the Rebecca Sitton Spelling Program. I don’t look at this as a program per se, but rather words that show up frequently in reading and writing. Therefore, making these words important to recognize. Click on the link below to access these word lists for students in grades 1 to 5.
To add a fun twist, have your child log on to www.spellingcity.com. Here, your child can input the words that are difficult for her to spell. The program is fun and engaging!
I’d love to hear your thoughts!