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caedmyn

not sure where to go with spelling

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My 5th grader completed Barton 8 in June of 2018.  He spend the last school year reviewing all the spelling rules with a tutor because he seemed to have forgotten them.  He just will not make any attempt to apply them outside of an actual Barton lesson.  I don't even mean in composition--I mean, if I say, this is what we're doing for spelling, and I dictate a word or sentence, he will not try to remember or apply the rules.  (Sometimes he will for the easiest rules like the level 3 ones, but otherwise, no.)  I emailed Susan Barton asking for her recommendations, and she suggested doing the same review procedures he did with a tutor all last year.  But 1. He won't cooperate and do that with me (which is why he was working with a tutor), and 2. I'm not willing to do that forever and ever in hopes that someday he'll decide to use what he's learned. 

He also doesn't remember the sight words.  We've gone through them twice and he remembers them a month or two and then forgets most of them.  I'm not sure whether to A. run through them yet again and try to review more, or B. to just give him a notebook with the sight words listed alphabetically and let him use that for reference.

Also, there seems to be such a difference of opinion about whether to proceed with spelling after Barton or not.  Some people say, eh, don't beat a dead horse, they can always use spell check.  Others say, oh I made my dyslexic kid practice spelling in some form or another until they graduated.  So I don't know what to do.

As I see it, my options for spelling are:

1. Drop spelling entirely
2. Continue reviewing the Barton flash cards and occasionally ask him why a word in his other schoolwork is spelled that way and otherwise don't worry about spelling
3. Try Spelling You See, or just have him mark things like vowel teams in some of his other schoolwork and and maybe the visual aspect will help things click.
4. Continue with Megawords, which is what he started doing at the beginning of this school year.  It's not going real well because they're working on vowel teams and once again he won't make any attempt to figure out which vowel team he's supposed to use.  I could try giving him a chart with all the vowel teams listed and see if he would use that.  I imagine his unwillingness to apply the spelling rules will be an issue throughout Megawords and they move to different rules.

I don't want to cobble together my own program or try something other than what's listed.  I already considered Apples and Pears and started the placement test with him, but halfway through the first page he was complaining that it was too hard and he hated it, so...I'm just not willing to fight him every day to get him to do a spelling program.

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You could check visual memory to see if there's a physical reason they're not sticking. I can't remember your whole dev. optom story, sorry.

For ds spelling was also connected to how his brain was processing language. I think spelling was getting put in this other folder, sorta like memorizing jibberish, rather than in the language folder as representing parts of words. 

And I agree spelling is developmental.

I would drop it and wait till he wants it or starts noticing it. I would make sure there aren't vision or developmental or language disability explanations. But beyond that, yeah of all the fish to fry, this might not be the one. When he wants it for his own purposes, he might decide to apply himself and engage.

And for the record, I worked my dd's butt off with spelling, K5-7th gr. For the right dc, someone progressing, someone using it, someone engaged, that's the right choice. But if your gut is like he's not engaging, he's not caring, he's not using it, then where is that getting you? What does he write and does he need to spell to do anything he's trying to do?

Edited by PeterPan

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I think I would take some time off and look at it again in a year.  

I might want to use it as reading review, though, if it seemed like any reading stuff was being forgotten or getting guess-y.  Or I might do some other reading review that would be less of a fight.

 

 

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Neither of my kids do spelling by phonics, but they do it more by site, pattern, and parts (prefixes, etc.). We use Sequential Spelling, and once they are adequate typers, we use it as typing practice. I still dictate. It's pattern-based, so it has the added benefit of reinforcing motor memory for typing.

It has actually translated into real world gains, but neither are stellar spellers. 

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I was a student who quit trying to learn to spell because of failure after failure throughout school.  I just quit and would not try by about the age of 11.  It became something I defined myself by. In fact, my little award in high school was "least likely to proof read a dictionary." 

If he is done and won't try, nothing you do will make him learn.  Take time off. Wait a full year and try again.

My younger boy could not spell 80% of the top 100 words at the age of 12. Basically, he misspelling every. single. word. he wrote. Now at age 16, he has made huge progress.  He misspells about 10% of words at this point, which is totally workable if he is typing. But this progress is because *he* wanted to do the work. 

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I'm thinking I will just have him review the Barton rules this year and otherwise give spelling a break.  We've spent the last 5 years working intensively on reading and spelling.  I think we can focus on other things that need to be focused on this year, like vision therapy and retained reflex work.

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Honestly, I think vision therapy and retained reflex work is likely to give you more positive results for spelling than beating a dead horse with more Barton, at this point.  

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We quit spelling in 5th grade, and DS was using a keyboard with spell check in the 6th grade.  I kinda regret that now.  If I could wave a magic wand and go back in time, I would use a morphology and roots based spelling program, and I would implement it after VT and reflex work.  The issue with stopping spelling is that it feels nice to not have that fight over it every day, so you may be sorely tempted to not pick it up again later.
 

Edited by Heathermomster
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