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What does it mean if your 10-yearold is an awesome reader but not spelling?


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I don't understand how she can consume thick chapter books- one after the other. She loves to read! But she asks me how to spell every other word when we're writing (like with WWE). Does this give a hint that she's not a visual learner? What could help her???

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I'm sure there are really smart people on this board that can answer this question. I cannot... I don't have the experience, but I am aware of the phenomenon. My dd5 can read really, really well, but can't spell a thing (not that I really expect her to) but I realized i needed to teach her how to spell.

 

On the phonics road website, Mrs. Beers says, "Great spellers are ALWAYS great readers, but great readers are often weak spellers! This is because most curricula emphasize some level of the whole-word method to teach reading, believing that if a child can read, spelling will take care of itself. I contend that spelling is a logical preliminary skill to reading"

 

I thought about giving her lists of words to memorize and test her on, but this quote sounded true to me... I think it's a skill to be learned. I've learned that there is a method to spelling... (like rules and stuff, that make logical sense... who would have thought!).. I sure didn't learn when I was in school!

 

Even though I've only taught my daughter phonetically, she still memorizes words naturally, which is why she reads so well, in my opinion. So I got PR in hopes of teaching her how to spell now, and I'm using it with my dd4 who is just learning to read, in hopes of teaching her to spell AS she learns to read well. I'm hopeful that I will produce both great readers and spellers. Time will tell!

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Reading is decoding whereas spelling is incoding. Two different things. I believe Wanda Senseri of SWR (Spell to Write and Read) spoke of a study done in England. Kids who were both great readers and spellers used the same part of the brain for both whereas kids that were poor spellers, used a different part of the brain. SWR is learning to read through spelling so of course she sited research to support that lol but I don't know of any other studies like it. I believe her theory is that kids who learn to read separate from phonograms and spelling, use a different part of the brain (perhaps less efficient part) for spelling later on.

 

who knows?

Capt_Uhura

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Reading is decoding whereas spelling is incoding. Two different things. I believe Wanda Senseri of SWR (Spell to Write and Read) spoke of a study done in England. Kids who were both great readers and spellers used the same part of the brain for both whereas kids that were poor spellers, used a different part of the brain. SWR is learning to read through spelling so of course she sited research to support that lol but I don't know of any other studies like it. I believe her theory is that kids who learn to read separate from phonograms and spelling, use a different part of the brain (perhaps less efficient part) for spelling later on.

 

who knows?

Capt_Uhura

 

Huh, that's interesting. Hopefully starting PR now is a good choice for us then!

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It could mean that she is a visual learner. http://www.visualspatial.org

 

It could mean that she is mildly dyslexic. http://www.mislabeledchild.com or google stealth dyslexia.

 

It could mean that she might do better with a different approach to spelling instruction.

 

And regardless of any of the above possibilities, I agree with Michelle. :001_smile:

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Sounds like my 9 yo. :) For her, it's far from normal - the gap is huge (1st to 2nd grade level in spelling, well above grade level in reading and everything else as well). We're actually taking her to be evaluated by a developmental optometrist later this month. The "screening" reads like it was written by someone observing her. Just another idea to throw out there for you. Spelling has been a long, frustrating road for her (and me!).

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Reading, writing, and spelling are all processed in very different parts of the brain, and not all parts of the brain mature at the same time or at the same rate. So, for some students, spelling does not even BEGIN to kick in until age 10, 12 or even 14 due to their unique brain development time table.

 

For a student 10 and older, there could also be other factors to consider --

- mild ("stealth") dyslexia

- brain processing issue

- vision processing issue

- visual-spatial learner (VSL)

Testing by a profession would help rule out the first three in that list.

 

Below is a checklist that may help you narrow down whether or not DD is a VSL. If so, then I suggest the following:

- spelling vowel pattern instruction: All About Spelling; Stevenson Blue Spelling Manual

- syllabication instruction/practice (breaks larger words into smaller more manageable units): Megawords; Sequential Spelling

- spelling practice:

* out loud oral practice (Phonetic Zoo)

* white board and colored markers to see vowel patterns; to add endings & prefixes; draw stories for homophones; practice by syllables; etc.

* dictation of short sentences with 2-3 spelling words in each to practice/strengthen simultaneously using multiple parts of the brain (listening, thinking, writing, spelling) (Stevenson Blue Spelling Manual)

* see vowel patterns as "word families" (Spel-Lang Tree: Trunks program; Andrew Pudewa "Spelling & the Brain" homeschool conference session; Paula's Archives Spelling Power tips)

 

 

BEST of luck in your spelling journey! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

 

AUDITORY-SEQUENTIAL LEARNER (ASL)

Thinks primarily in words

Has auditory strengths

Relates well to time

Is a step-by-step learner

Learns by trial and error

Progresses sequentially from easy to difficult material

Is an analytical thinker

Attends well to details

Follows oral directions well

Does well at arithmetic

Learns phonics easily

Can sound out spelling words

Can write quickly and neatly

Is well-organized

Can show steps of work easily

Excels at rote memorization

Has good auditory short-term memory

May need some repetition to reinforce learning

Learns well from instruction

Learns in spite of emotional reactions

Is comfortable with one right answer

Develops fairly evenly

Usually maintains high grades

Enjoys algebra and chemistry

Learns languages in class

Is academically talented

Is an early bloomer

 

VISUAL SPATIAL LEARNER (VSL)

Thinks primarily in pictures

Has visual strengths

Relates well to space

Is a whole-part learner

Learns concepts all at once

Learns complex concepts easily; struggles with easy skills

Is a good synthesizer

Sees the big picture; may miss details

Reads maps well

Is better at math reasoning than computation

Learns whole words easily

Must visualize words to spell them

Prefers keyboarding to writing

Creates unique methods of organization

Arrives at correct solutions intuitively

Learns best by seeing relationships

Has good long-term visual memory

Learns concepts permanently; is turned off by drill and repetition

Develops own methods of problem solving

Is very sensitive to teachers’ attitudes

Generates unusual solutions to problems

Develops quite asynchronously

May have very uneven grades

Enjoys geometry and physics

Masters other languages through immersion

Is creatively, mechanically, emotionally, or technologically gifted

Is a late bloomer

Edited by Lori D.
DOH! Forgot and had to come back to add the checklist!
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I just wanted to mention that I wholeheartedly agree with Lori D about out loud spelling. You don't need Phonetic Zoo to do this (I've never seen this program, so hopefully I understand the premise) and I would add the concept to any program you choose.

 

My ds spells his words out loud after I name them, as well as names the words after I spell them. It really helps him develop a sequential understanding of spelling.

 

Hopefully, this makes sense.

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You don't need Phonetic Zoo to do this...My ds spells his words out loud after I name them, as well as names the words after I spell them. It really helps him develop a sequential understanding of spelling.

 

Exactly. I just wanted to give credit to the programs which focus around the concepts I listed. :001_smile:

 

Here's how we practice out loud spelling:

I say the word clearly and correctly (sometimes additionally saying it by syllable), spell it, say the word again, then toss DS a beanie toy. Then he says/spells/says and tosses back to me. The beanie tossing helps keep him focused getting ready for his turn, the out loud spelling helps him hear the letters and get them ingrained in sequential order (which is a weak area for VSL), and pronouncing the word and making sure the child pronounces it correctly clears up any vowel sound mistakes (i.e., as in "pin" and "pen" -- short "i" and short "e" -- among others can sound the same if you pronounce sloppily, which can lead to spelling errors).

 

If he makes a spelling error it is CRITICAL to stop, and I spell it correctly multiple times right then to prevent him getting it stuck incorrectly in his head (which can happen after just ONE misspelling!!) We also start out the week with the words in big letters on a whiteboard for him to look at -- to just read the letters off on his turn if that's what it takes -- to start spelling them, and doing so correctly. As the week goes on, he doesn't need to see the words, and we can then also include the dictating of sentences practice I mentioned above.

 

Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Exactly. I just wanted to give credit to the programs which focus around the concepts I listed. :001_smile:

 

Here's how we practice out loud spelling:

I say the word clearly and correctly (sometimes additionally saying it by syllable), spell it, say the word again, then toss DS a beanie toy. Then he says/spells/says and tosses back to me. The beanie tossing helps keep him focused getting ready for his turn, the out loud spelling helps him hear the letters and get them ingrained in sequential order (which is a weak area for VSL), and pronouncing the word and making sure the child pronounces it correctly clears up any vowel sound mistakes (i.e., as in "pin" and "pen" -- short "i" and short "e" -- among others can sound the same if you pronounce sloppily, which can lead to spelling errors).

 

If he makes a spelling error it is CRITICAL to stop, and I spell it correctly multiple times right then to prevent him getting it stuck incorrectly in his head (which can happen after just ONE misspelling!!) We also start out the week with the words in big letters on a whiteboard for him to look at -- to just read the letters off on his turn if that's what it takes -- to start spelling them, and doing so correctly. As the week goes on, he doesn't need to see the words, and we can then also include the dictating of sentences practice I mentioned above.

 

Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

I'm glad you mentioned getting a wrong spelling stuck in his head.

 

If ds spells a word wrong in his copywork, dictation or general writing, I circle it, then erase it, without him seeing. Then, I tell him to write it correctly. Many times he knows the spelling (especially if he's copied it); he just need to attend to his work more carefully. Any thoughts on how I'm doing this?

 

Now, if only I can get him to remember were and where!! Thankfully, Andrew Pudewa, pronounces "where" with an h, so ds says it that way now, jokingly. That's the only way he can remember the correct spelling, when he actually tries. :lol:

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Reading is decoding whereas spelling is incoding.

 

:iagree:

 

These are two opposite skills. Lots of folks are good at decoding and not at encoding.

 

In English, there are many ways to spell the same sound. Unless a student is an expert in word etymology, there are going to be some groups of spellings they just have to memorize -- which words with the sound /er/ might be spelled with er, ir, ur, and so forth.

 

If a student gives me a spelling that is a legitimate way to spell the desired sound, then I commend them for making a logical choice for that sound. If it's the most common way to spell that sound, then I tell them they have made the very best guess. Then I remind them that there are other ways to spell that sound. If they don't come up with any, then I bring up words that use similar spellings ("boat" or "paint" or etc). In this way, I model a technique they can use until they find a spelling that "looks right" because their brain faintly remembers what they've seen in their reading.

 

Julie

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I have a daughter who is a speed reader, and while her reading ability is way up there, her spelling doesn't match it. I really think that it is because she reads and processes so quickly that she doesn't actually see and visualize each word in its entirety, therefore it doesn't translate to spelling. She has to actually study words more slowly to get the way they are spelled. Reading aloud, because it forces them to slow down, would probably help too.

 

Just my thought. :)

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Now, if only I can get him to remember were and where!! Thankfully, Andrew Pudewa, pronounces "where" with an h, so ds says it that way now, jokingly. That's the only way he can remember the correct spelling, when he actually tries. :lol:

 

 

Yep. It's those little visuals, stories, pronounciations, or quirky "word within a word" things that finally help some words stick in DS's head. :001_smile:

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I don't understand how she can consume thick chapter books- one after the other. She loves to read! But she asks me how to spell every other word when we're writing (like with WWE). Does this give a hint that she's not a visual learner? What could help her???

 

 

It might mean she's a lot like my 11 yo. But my 11 yo is a strongly visual-spatial learner, and vs learners often have trouble with spelling. In her case, though, she figured out her own mnemonics (or is it mnenomics?) and is a much better speller than I thought she would ever be for a while.

 

Prior to that, she could memorize her spelling words the way the experts now say doesn't work; she copied them out of context by themselves a certain number of times each day until she learned them. fwiw, it was while doing that that she finally figured out her system to help her remember. (eg she remembers synthetic by thinking of the sounds "sin the tick"--she didn't know, though that the parasite tick has a k. but she does remember that sin is different than syn.)

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My 10 yo is also an avid reader. She has an amazing vocabulary for her age -- something I get feedback on (from various sources that are not connected) all of the time. She loves to write and is a very good story teller too. BUT -- she is not a good speller.

 

I personally think it is normal at this age, and that is why we teach our dc spelling.

 

Blessings,

Lucinda

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Just remember these are two different skills (reading and spelling). We are using AAS and what I LOVE about this curriculum is that it explains to my kids WHY things are spelled the way they are. Instead of memorizing lists of words, my kids are learning skills that actually help them with their spelling in general. I feel like it's one of the few programs that actually teach the **skill** (yes it's a learned skill) of spelling!

 

For instance, my 9 yo had just finished a lesson on doubling the consonant before adding a vowel suffix. In his writing lesson that day he had to write the word stopping (this is not during spelling).... he wrote "stoping", then hesitated, erased the ending, doubled the p and added ing. I know this is because he is starting to internalize the rules, not just memorizing isolated words. He did not actually work with the word "stopping", but he learned the skill of knowing when to double the consonant.

 

I've seen some people say they don't like how "slow" AAS moves, but for us it has really produced some great spellers. It only appears to move slow if you're wanting to tackle a weekly list of 25 words... it does not move slow if you're focusing on actually teaching your child the skills it takes to be a good lifetime speller.

 

I say all that not to sell you AAS, but to just make the point that we need to be teaching our kids spelling as a skill, not just assume because they can read well they should be able to spell. My 67 yo MIL can read anything you put in front of her (and she will!) but she can't spell worth beans!

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My son is in 9th grade. When he finished public school at the end of 7th grade, he tested somewhere around the 8th percentile (!) in spelling, although he reads fine. I got him a program called Tricks of the Trade, which emphasizes analyzing your own spelling errors and categorizing them according to spelling patterns. It seems pretty good, although, to be honest, we have not been using it as consistently as we should.

 

To my surprise, what has actually helped him is the computer's spell check! I told him he has to type his own papers and stories, but I turned off the automatic spell-checker. When he runs the spell check, he has to spend time with each misspelled word, comparing and choosing the correct alternative. After correcting many of the same words and patterns over and over, the correct spellings have begun to sink in. Of course the spell-check has its weaknesses - today he had "except" where he meant "accept." Still, he's made definite improvement (although we still have a long way to go). Not exactly orthodox, but it's cheap!

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They both were good readers at a fairly young age. Ds#2 was reading Hardy Boys books in first grade. Dc#1 & 2 have been voracious readers since first grade. They would read everything I got from the library and put on our designated library book bookshelf, in addition to many of the books we owned. However, they were awful spellers. We went through three spelling programs before I found one that worked -- Spell to Write and Read/Wise Guide for Spelling. After going through that program (took less than a school year for my 7th grader and about two school years for his younger brother, they both did a complete turnaround in spelling. I was very, very pleased with SWR/WG. However, it was not user friendly, and when I read about All About Spelling and borrowed it from a friend, I knew I would love it and would find it much easier to use than SWR/WG. So, I purchased AAS and am using it with dc#3 & 4.

 

So, perhaps it means that your child needs a good spelling program like All About Spelling.

 

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I don't understand how she can consume thick chapter books- one after the other. She loves to read! But she asks me how to spell every other word when we're writing (like with WWE). Does this give a hint that she's not a visual learner? What could help her???

 

Reading is a visual skill, as you suggested. Spelling is auditory, and good spellers usually have visual memory of words. My oldest not only has the "It doesn't look right." skill, but she can at times bring a word to mind and spell it from the picture in her memory.

 

I am VSL (and dyslexic). I think in pictures, and can't think in word. I can recognize words for reading, but have no recall for spelling. My 3rd dd also lacks the ability to hear the difference in some sounds. Specifically short e and short i give her fits. If you give her a word like went, she will generally spell it wit (she also struggles to hear both sounds in blends). Then she will read wit and realize she didn't spell it correctly, but she won't know how to go about correcting it. I am having her work through two programs to help her. LiPS works on hearing the difference in sounds, and Seeing Stars (you only would need the manual-and it is cheaper used) to develop the ability to see words in her mind, to build a visual memory of words for spelling. Knowing the rules has also helped, because I at least have guidelines to begin with.

 

I would also recommend AAS. The focus is on learning the rules, not spelling lists (though it does also have lists).

 

Heather

 

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