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How well "should" a third grader be spelling?


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#1 Jenny in GA

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 02:48 PM

My husband told me he saw some things in the playroom that our daughter wrote this weekend. He was disappointed and concerned about her spelling. He said she was "too old" to be spelling that poorly. (She will be nine in a month.)

I have been doing All About Spelling with her regularly for almost a full year. She is in the last few lessons of Book Two.

I definitely was a better speller at her age than she is. Other than that, I have nothing to compare her with.

Are "typical" third graders spelling better than she is?
If so, does this mean she has a "problem" (ie, a learning disability)?
Does it mean All About Spelling isn't working?
Is there something I "should" be doing with her? Anything I can tell my husband, other than, "Well, sorry ... we do use a spelling program"?

Here's a sample of her spelling:

On the playroom door was a sign that said
Rocit Esemly Bilding ("Rocket Assembly Building")


On her list of things to do that day were
practis dance class
len my songs (I assume "learn my songs")
make mom's presint
gimnasticks
make roby's binder (
meaning "Ruby's")
practis chistmas play


#2 SquirrellyMama

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 02:54 PM

I don't know how normal it is for that age but I can tell you that my 3rd grade dd makes the same mistakes.

Looking at the mistakes again I would say you need to cover c and ck spellings and the different sounds of c. My dd makes a lot of the c/ck and c/s mistakes. She also leaves out letters as if she was writing faster than she was thinking or thinking faster than she was writing.

Edited by kwiech, 01 March 2010 - 03:02 PM.


#3 ElizabethB

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 03:00 PM

Spelling grade level test:

(Norms higher than current norms, but where they "should" be, IMO--I would use the Ayres test.)

http://www.thephonic...llingtests.html

#4 Denisemomof4

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 03:39 PM

I love the AAS program but think they really don't cover enough words. I combined it with Megawords this year and my daughter is showing huge progress. Since she loves workbooks so much (I only use them for spelling) I also bought the complete series of Apples and Pears. I'm going to have younger dd use the easier sets to supplement.

My dd was reading when she started PS 1st grade. When I brought her home a year and a half later, her spelling (phonics) was HORRIFIC. She's progressed so much in the past year. In her daily writing, if she misspells a word, I have her write it 10 times. If she should know the spelling, I have her write it 15 times. She's learning so much just from doing this.

I think AAS is good for drill work but not good for cementing the facts in. They just use so few words. I called the company and had nothing to say about my concern, so I don't think I'll be getting any other levels.

I have a bonus in that I'm teaching youngest dd phonics and I have oldest dd read the charts/special sounds with her, and have her do some practice work on the board. She thinks she's helping me out ( and she LOVES to do this, my girls like to play school) and I know she's getting more reinforcement. ;) I will watch to make sure older dd isn't making spelling mistakes. They have fun and don't even know my motives behind this.

#5 coralloyd

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 06:54 PM

Well here is how my dd7 (almost 8) spelled some of the words your dd spelled.

rocket
ussembly
building
practis
learn
pressent
crismiss

I don't know if this is any help. I thought I would just give you something to compare to. Plus I was curious ;). I use copywork and dictation.

ETA: I didn't have her spell gymnastics because I figured she would spell it very similar to the way your dd did. I also didn't have her spell Ruby because someone very close to her is named Ruby, so I know she can spell it.

Edited by coralloyd, 01 March 2010 - 07:00 PM.


#6 abbeyej

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 07:04 PM

How well would she spell those words if you gave her a little "pop quiz" during your spelling lesson time? In my experience, many kids have a lag between their spelling skills during lessons (when they're really concentrating on spelling correctly, and only on spelling) and when they're either working on a "whole work" for school (thinking about what to say, how to say it, capitalization, punctuation, etc) or doing something creative on their own time. So I'd be very curious to know what difference you see if you were to ask her just to spell those words -- vs something she was doing on her own for fun, thinking up what to write next, etc.

If she were to make those same mistakes during spelling time, or have no idea if you asked her to find her mistakes in something she had written for school (I don't generally point out spelling errors in things my kids have written entirely for their own amusement unless they ask me), then I would say that's a little below where she would be ideally.

How long as she been reading fluently? I find that's another factor. At least my kids needed two years of reading fluently in order to make the leap from largely invented, phonetic spellings to mostly correct spelling. It's not universal. Some kids don't make a big leap there, and learn to spell much more slowly. But if she was a somewhat later reader, I'd be more patient (while providing consistent, solid, phonics-based spelling lessons) with some difficulty there.

I don't know enough about AAS to comment on that.

#7 gandpsmommy

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 07:13 PM

Spelling grade level test:

(Norms higher than current norms, but where they "should" be, IMO--I would use the Ayres test.)

http://www.thephonic...llingtests.html


Thanks for sharing the link to this! How interesting and helpful. I, too, am using AAS. My dd is 8 (almost 9), but she is currently completing Level 4. Still, I have doubts about whether we should continue with AAS because I don't think it's challenging enough for her. I think I'll give her this test this week and see how she does.

#8 Slartibartfast

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 07:54 PM

My third grader is also a bad speller.

We are using Spelling Workout and we just started to let her do Spelling City a bit.

My dd's problem is that she rushes and doesn't do things in steps. It is a PITB to try and get her to sound things out.

After several BAD BAD BAD spelling tests we took a whole day where dd and I just worked on spelling. I had her write each word she was spelling incorrectly five times each and it did help.

#9 LauraGB

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 08:17 PM

Does she read a lot? I have noticed that my dd, who reads a ton, spells very well. My ds, whose reading habit has diminished to assigned reading only over the past year, is an atrocious speller. He used to be great; now, not so much.

I'm not familiar with the spelling program you are using, but possibly just continuing with your spelling program, and implementing a lot of reading will help her identify a lot of those words for which she already has the rules memorized.

#10 Tree House Academy

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 08:20 PM

I will post later how my 5th grader spells these words. I hate to say it, but my son is definitely a poor speller. We noticed it when he was in 3rd grade too. Nothing we have used has really worked and short of having him look up every word he writes in a dictionary, I am not sure what else to do. :( We tried AAS, Natural Speller, Spelling Power, Calvert Spelling and are now using R&S spelling a grade behind. He can memorize and regurgitate, but he can't spell based on phonics at all. He sort of makes up spellings. At least your dd has phonics coming into play.

Here are my kids' spellings:

6.5 year old

Rocket
lrne (learn)
prezet (present)
praktis (practice)
biding (building)
usimble (assembly)
jimnasticks (gymnastics)
Crsmis (Christmas)

Honestly, phonetically speaking, my younger did better on some of these than my older. :( My older had no phonics training when learning to read. The ps taught all kids to read by sight. It has really messed up his spelling and we are STRUGGLING to fix it now.

10.7 year old

roket
emsimble
building
Prakies (practice)
learn
present
Cristmas
gymnastets (gymnastics)
Ruby

#11 Halcyon

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 08:52 PM

My thoughts are that you should try a different program. We are using MegaWords and so far I really like it. I like that it really explains why and when certain rules are to be applied, and my son likes it too. I also want to ask how much your daughter reads--I think that reading a lot makes a big difference.

Here's how my 7 yo spelled those words. Keep in mind he's a good speller for his age, but I really think MegaWords has helped him actually understand how to approach unfamiliar words.

rocket
learn
present
practice
building
asembly
gymnastics

#12 helena

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 08:54 PM

How about making her spelling lists yourself? You could spend the rest of the school year (or summer?), working on a collection of words she's misspelling.

#13 Lovedtodeath

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 09:16 PM

And here I feel like I have egg on my face for raving about AAS now. :confused: It has really improved DDs spelling all around and we are just now starting level 2.

I will see if I can "test" her for you on those words later.

#14 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 09:29 PM

dd8 (who has trouble with language arts, so I consider her more of a 2nd grader in those subjects) wrote:

roket - rocket
leren - learn
preset - present
practes - practice
bilding - building
oseble - assembly
gymnastiks - gymnastics

#15 Denisemomof4

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 09:45 PM

Does she read a lot? I have noticed that my dd, who reads a ton, spells very well. My ds, whose reading habit has diminished to assigned reading only over the past year, is an atrocious speller. He used to be great; now, not so much.


I don't find this to be true of my dd. She's a voracious reader, speed reader, retaining it all. In our HS reading group, the teacher has said that my dd practically remembers the book detail by detail, word for word.

BUT, she's not a natural speller or a gifted speller. She's improved much, but has far go to compared to my boys at this age.

I'm still stumped.

#16 Jenny in GA

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 09:55 PM

Thanks for all the responses. I'm not ready to give up AAS yet. I like the way it explains things, and my daughter loves the tiles. (Plus it was very expensive!)

To answer some questions -- she only started reading fluently and regularly about a year ago. She does read for at least 15 minutes every day, and she likes to read. Lately she has been reading even more than that because she has been reading to her younger sister at bedtime as well.

Since my OP, she came up to me for help (proofing) writing a letter to American Girl magazine. She wrote "wen" for when, and "sumthing" for something, and "alwase" for always. And some others I can't remember right now.

I do like the idea of making a list of words she misspells and having her copy them several times. I think that will help. I don't think just continuing the AAS spelling lessons is going to be enough. There are too many basic words that we haven't hit in a lesson yet.

Thanks again
Jenny
(OP)

#17 Denisemomof4

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 09:55 PM

My thoughts are that you should try a different program. We are using MegaWords and so far I really like it. I like that it really explains why and when certain rules are to be applied, and my son likes it too. I also want to ask how much your daughter reads--I think that reading a lot makes a big difference.

Here's how my 7 yo spelled those words. Keep in mind he's a good speller for his age, but I really think MegaWords has helped him actually understand how to approach unfamiliar words.

rocket
learn
present
practice
building
asembly
gymnastics


I'm curious, have you ever gone back a lesson or two and tested your 7 yo on previous lessons in Megawords? My dd was doing excellent on the work, but wasn't retaining as much as I would have liked after the fact. BUT, this program still has worked better for her than AAS. Not only does she LIKE Megawords, but I do see a noticeable improvement nonetheless.

#18 Denisemomof4

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 09:58 PM

And here I feel like I have egg on my face for raving about AAS now. :confused: It has really improved DDs spelling all around and we are just now starting level 2.

I will see if I can "test" her for you on those words later.


well you're certainly not the only one to rave about AAS!!! I loved AAS but the weak point was not enough words to make the program work. Now I could have gone through and added words and activities to make it work, but there's just too many distractions in my life to allow this. I need an open and go program.

AAS lays a GREAT foundation but my dd never really liked it. It's very popular, though, and you have many like-minded people who feel about it as you do.

So stop it. :tongue_smilie:

#19 Denisemomof4

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 10:03 PM

I do like the idea of making a list of words she misspells and having her copy them several times. I think that will help. I don't think just continuing the AAS spelling lessons is going to be enough. There are too many basic words that we haven't hit in a lesson yet.

Thanks again
Jenny
(OP)


I do believe that this has helped my dd more than anything, and having AAS you can pull out the review card to go over the phonetic rule she's forgotten. Also, copywork is HUGE and we're starting to do more dictation. Sometimes I will sotp her when she's misspelling and will question her, other times if the word is too hard for her I'll spell it out, and yet other times I will make her copy the word several times because it's something she should know.

My younger ds has inattentive ADD and I can most definitely see this in her, so I try to remember this, too.

I also recommend Spelling City. My dd loves this just for fun. We use this solely as a "game" and she's never looked at it as anything but.

#20 Heidi

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 10:18 PM

I haven't used AAS yet, but I have the level 2 book, and just looking at the word list in the back I would not assume that she would be able to spell those words yet anyway. The words she misspelled seem a lot more difficult than the words covered in level 2. ??

#21 MerryAtHope

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 12:10 AM

Hi Jenny--I posted this on your other thread, but thought I'd put it here too.

Honestly I don't think you have a big problem. Yes, there are things to work on, but I would consider the following:

First, most of those words that she wrote are not even covered by the end of AAS 2. I don't hold my kids accountable for words (and patterns) they haven't learned how to spell yet. The ones that AAS HAS covered, she got right--and also a couple that AAS has not yet covered.

Second, when a child is writing outside of spelling class, they often need to edit to correct spelling. (Though I'm not sure she could edit that list yet anyway). Here's an article I wrote on helping kids apply what they learn in spelling to their writing.

As for her being too old to make mistakes like these--you really can't put an age on spelling, you have to keep going and take it at her pace. But I don't think you can say AAS has failed you or her when you aren't to this level of word in the books yet.

I know it's easy to focus on the mistakes, but I see lots of good signs in her list too--Dance requires some visual discrimination (phonetically it could be dans too), so I think it shows that she's paying attention and learning.

I've used through level 4, and looking at level 5 I can see that things really start to come together then. And after using AAS for almost 2 years, the improvements I've seen have been wonderful. The Writing Station in level 3 was when I really started to see my kids pay more attention to the spelling in their writing.

I really think that you will get where you want to get to if you continue with AAS. AAS lays a thorough foundation, and it seems simple at first--because it presents the easiest concepts and words to start. In the next two levels your dd will learn all kinds of word analysis skills as well as how to incorporate those skills more into writing (the dictations get longer and the Writing Station is introduced). Then in Level 5 they learn the final 7 phonograms, and that's when you really see things coming together.

The things I would encourage you to focus on (note, I wouldn't tell her you are pulling all of these from what she wrote the other day, I would just gradually include them):

Segmenting: This is a skill that is needed throughout her spelling, and will help her get all of the sounds in a word like learn or assembly or Christmas. I might put Christmas on a blank word card for her to learn (and I would talk about how the word Christ is in Christmas).

Phonograms: Writing "Roby" for "Ruby" suggests to me that she might need a bit more ongoing review of the sounds for the phonograms. In addition, I would probably put her sister's name on a blank word card for her to review & learn.

Rules--remembering when C says S might have helped her not write "rocit." This is a word you could probably put on a word card if you wanted to.

Some of these words are more sight words--building, practice (there's no rule for C vs. S, this is visually discerned), present (this one she could learn by pronouncing for spelling), gymnastics (she made a great attempt at this one and got all of the sounds in! To me that's a good sign.).

Any words that you decide to add to your AAS lessons, I would only introduce one at a time--let her master one as she continues her other work, before you add in another.

HTH some! Merry :-)

#22 Kate in Arabia

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 12:55 AM

My third grader is in the last lessons of AAS book 1. I haven't had him try your words, but I think the previous posters who have mentioned different writing in different settings is true for my ds as well. When he focuses on what he's doing in spelling he does better than when he's writing something just off the cuff. I can see him when he's doing his writing in AAS actually pausing and thinking, "ok, is this c or ck?". He doesn't generally make that effort when writing outside of schoolwork.

However, the areas we have covered in AAS early on are much stronger; I think AAS has been good in establishing incremental learning, so review of earlier lessons is built in.

He was a later reader (later than his brother), but he reads well on his own now. I think reading and writing are really different, just as listening and speaking are. At least, in my experience learning foreign languages, I have found it much easier to read/listen than to write/speak.

#23 Sandy in Indy

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:09 AM

I agree with what Merry has said...you can't hold a child accountable for material that hasn't been covered yet.

If you stick with AAS, you will eventually cover everything. We're in the middle of book 3 and I'm seeing huge improvements in reading as well as spelling. Honestly, I think this is the same argument that's made against Teaching Textbooks--the program doesn't cover the material in the same way or progression as other programs, so it's discounted as "slow" or not as good--when in reality (or at least our experience), if you stick with it, you come out at the end with all the skills and great understanding of the concepts.

I'm not saying AAS is the be-all and end-all for everyone. Not every program is for everyone. But if you feel that your dd is retaining the material that she's been taught, then I wouldn't be concerned at all about her "level" of spelling.

#24 Halcyon

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:21 AM

I'm curious, have you ever gone back a lesson or two and tested your 7 yo on previous lessons in Megawords? My dd was doing excellent on the work, but wasn't retaining as much as I would have liked after the fact. BUT, this program still has worked better for her than AAS. Not only does she LIKE Megawords, but I do see a noticeable improvement nonetheless.


We only started Megawords recently (we were using k12 before) but we absolutely go back and test on earlier words, particularly the ones that he didn't "get" right away. For example, today we reviewed 'address' and 'talcum', both of which he initially got wrong a couple of weeks ago. He got them right this time, so that's good. The fact that he could spell the OP's words correctly (except for one) is a good sign to me that he's on the right track, as I don't believe we've ever formally gone over those words. IMO, Megawords is teaching him rules more than simply 'memorize these words' (although that is part of it) so he can make a pretty good effort at spelling words he's never spelled formally before, and often get them correct.

#25 Lovedtodeath

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:27 AM

Megawords is teaching him rules more than simply 'memorize these words' (although that is part of it) so he can make a pretty good effort at spelling words he's never spelled formally before, and often get them correct.

That is exactly how AAS is working for us. I am pretty proactive about applying those rules to everything she writes though. Maybe that is part of it.


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