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Delaying Formal Spelling- am I ruining my child for life?


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:laugh:   Just kidding, mostly... 

 

I've been going with the idea of delaying formal spelling until 3rd, then starting up with studied dictation CM style.  For the time being, we are just doing copywork and freewrites in English, and I correct spelling on the freewrites and have him make a final draft maybe 1x per 2 freewrites. 

 

DS has just begun reading for pleasure, and he has a 5th grade reading level approximately.  I want to give him a year (2nd grade) to soak in spelling through reading, to see if that makes things easier and if his spelling just naturally improves.

 

In French, we do dictation every day, and it is a sound based program, so he is actually getting French spelling.  After this book (we'll finish mid-2nd grade I think) it switches to 1 studied dictation per week.  When he only has to do one French dictation each week, then I feel like I'll have the time and patience to add English spelling as well.  

 

Has anyone else delayed spelling for a child who is not necessarily a natural speller?  Is this a truly horrible idea?   

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Fwiw, we started spelling this year, in third grade. Not even really a plan, just how things happened. But my first grader is doing the program too alongside the third grader. So I have no crystal ball to predict what I may have ruined, but we'll see! My oldest is def not a natural speller and he reads at a higher grade level. Hope you get more responses!

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I think if you have a natural speller, studied dictation can be plenty. I've got a terrible speller and a much better one. I have the natural speller do the same program, but in a fraction of the time, just because I have it for his brother, but if I didn't need to get it for him, I don't think I'd bother.

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It just seems like everywhere I read, teaching spelling seems to have a long delay before it's applied in original writing.  And so I'm wondering... maybe learning to spell doesn't somehow "sink in" 2-3 years after learning it, maybe a kid just needs 2-3 years of visual memory from reading built up before he starts to spell correctly all by himself. 

 

Or maybe I'm just trying to get out of a hideously tedious subject...  :tongue_smilie:

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I'm a fan of teaching spelling early and getting that foundation out of the way earlier rather than later, BUT from your post it sounds as though you are doing enough to facilitate his spelling.

 

My oldest has been able to drop spelling for the most part, mainly because he's a bit of a natural speller, and because we worked on it so much in the early grades, now it's just review and a few corrections while editing papers or working on dictation passages etc.

 

I think it depends on what end you want to do the more informal spelling. In the beginning or later when they are older.

 

 

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We are going to start spelling this year because DD5 (almost 6) refuses to do any writing unless given the correct spelling.  I have a little flip book for her with common words, but she has been known to search through books she has recently read to look for the spelling of a word (which takes forever) instead of just guessing and getting it wrong, and then me helping her correct it.  So, for me, the need for spelling work is to make other things move along a bit faster. :-)  We are going to use SpellWell, which is created by the same woman as ETC (and is supposed to be be stylistically similar, though I have yet to actually "see" it in hand).  We are also going to start some copywork and modified/simple dictation for next year to see if that helps.

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Now that we are in our 4th year of spelling, I am glad that I started early with dd9.  Next year will be our last full year of spelling, and after that will only be review.  Next year, we need to start some formal grammar, and we need to ramp up the independent reading and writing.  She is a decent speller, but natural by any means.  I am glad that I gave her the tools early when we had the time to focus on them. 

 

I am doing the same with ds6 just because we can.  But I am not so certain that he needs the early intervention that my dd9 did at that age.  

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My oldest wouldn't write until he learned to spell. If I had waited to teach him spelling, we wouldn't be as far as we are today in writing (and that's the one subject he's not ahead in - so it would have been bad).

 

If your child is spelling everything correctly, then you don't need to teach it. But if they are spelling everything wrong, why allow them to continue writing with wrong spelling, getting THAT image in their head?

 

My youngest is about to turn 5 and is a good reader and may be a natural speller (he can write original sentences and do very well with spelling). Since he's reading so well, I'm planning to run him through a spelling program for K instead of a reading program. That way he'll have the tools for writing before he even needs them, and teaching writing later on will hopefully not be as painful as it's been with my perfectionist, non-natural speller (who was an early and advanced reader and reads ALL.THE.TIME... plenty of exposure to correctly spelled words).

 

Middle son is not an advanced reader, but we're about to start spelling also. Hopefully it will help him progress more in reading. He definitely needs to be taught spelling. He'll write a "story" and have words with no vowels.

 

Basically, there has been benefit for each of my kids to learn spelling. I would only drop it if the kid was spelling every single word correctly and clearly just didn't need it. I do think that practicing basics over time helps them become more automatic. A kid learning to spell for the first time in 5th grade is not going to be as automatic as the 5th grader who started spelling in K or 1st grade.

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OP here again.  :-)  My son is a "natural writer", but not yet showing himself to be a natural speller, lol.  He will write pages of a story with beautiful "voice" for his age, IMHO, and the more complicated words are actually close to correct, while he misspells the basic ones.  lol. 

 

Basically, I just don't want to teach spelling because:  yuck.  spelling.  :nopity: :thumbdown: :scared: :banghead: :ack2:   (Look!  There is an emoticon to express every single one of my feelings about spelling!!!) 

 

I just don't know if I am deceiving myself purposely that he will learn to spell through osmosis.  He is working well ahead of grade in every area but spelling.  Sigh. 

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If he is not currently spelling everything correctly, I would be concerned about the student having to unlearn bad spelling later.  Teaching is challenging enough as it is without having to re-teach something that was learned wrong to begin with.  

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To teach spelling or not…?  A good question, and child-dependent most likely.  I am really not experienced in this area.  I think you've gotten good advice.  I have been mostly concerned about teaching spelling the right way (of which I have not determined yet).  I will tell you what we've done.  My daughters have been reading well for some time now, and are not yet in 3rd grade, and my oldest seems to be a natural speller (or maybe it's just her amazing visual memory - once she sees something, it's there) yet we are using Rod & Staff spelling.  I have treated this as optional for her (I am not convinced she needs spelling) but it's a nice safety net.  And I don't really teach anything - it's pretty independent.  And she loves it, so that's a bonus.  DD2 doesn't seem to be a natural speller…hard to know at her age, and she doesn't produce much original work, but she begged for her own spelling and is also doing Rod & Staff Spelling and it does seem to help her.

 

I think that teaching spelling along with phonics at an early age would be ideal.  That is what I'm doing with my son.  I do think that dictation would be plenty for ODD…but I don't want the others to write (and then see) the words incorrectly from the beginning.  So that's my plan.

 

ETA: I just read Beechick's The 3 R's.  I think her ideas on individualized spelling are really great, and would make spelling instruction efficient for your son, and yourself.  I would do this if my DD was not spelling words correctly.  But this would require effort on your part.  (Although less effort than many -especially O-G - spelling programs.)  Just an idea.

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First define to yourself doing spelling vs not doing spelling. "Spelling" can mean different things to different people.

 

Second, just about every study ever done shows that spelling curricula do not improve student spelling in everyday writing.

 

Third, traditionally, what was meant by "spelling" was not started until 3rd or 4th grade. It Can and DID fall under "classical" to wait to start a formal spelling curriculum.

 

I too am enjoying the spelling section of the Beechick's 3R's and intend to try this method out after the student completes Alpha-Phonics. I believe that Alpha-Phonics and other copywork is enough "spelling" for K-3.

 

Some "spelling" curricula are actually reading curricula. So when some people are happy they got the spelling out of the way, they may not be talking about what you are talking about. And they may have done that with gifted children.

 

Some spelling curricula require memorizing rules that the student cannot apply yet, even if they memorize them. I don't expect a student to apply rules until at least the logic stage. Rushing these skills might be why the statistics are so negative towards formal spelling instruction. Maybe if we just WAITED they WOULD work.

 

There are only so many hours in the day. Prioritize what you think is important, and find some rest about what does not get done. It's never ALL going to get done.

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There are only so many hours in the day. Prioritize what you think is important, and find some rest about what does not get done. It's never ALL going to get done.

Everything you said was great, but I've just got a great 'AMEN' to this last part. :D

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