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Spelling in 8th grade


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Based on what I've seen on the boards here, I am going to guess folks will probably recommend Apples & Pears, as this is often suggested for kids who have difficulty with spelling. I have not used it, but it might give you something to look at until somebody who knows more than me chimes in.

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48 minutes ago, knitgrl said:

Based on what I've seen on the boards here, I am going to guess folks will probably recommend Apples & Pears, as this is often suggested for kids who have difficulty with spelling. I have not used it, but it might give you something to look at until somebody who knows more than me chimes in.

Haha, I'm here to suggest Apples and Pears. It has worked wonders for my DS who is a strong reader, but has a very difficult time spelling.  I'll be honest, I don't really get the method that Apples and Pears uses, because my mind doesn't work that way. However, that probably explains why my DS didn't learn spelling from reading or any of the other spelling programs we tried.

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The one example of spelling "any" as "eny" suggests not hearing or pronouncing words correctly, which will lead to misspelling of words. So that could indicate a possible hearing issue (not hearing words pronounced correctly to begin with), or that the student is hearing words being pronounced differently, which is throwing off the spelling. For example, I see by your user name that your family may be Spanish-speakers and are bilingual? If so, then vowels are pronounced differently in those two languages, which can lead to misspellings in English, if the student is thinking about Spanish.

All that to say, if all of the student's misspellings are like that, then there is a logic to the misspelling -- it is not random or "mindless". That would suggest using a program that focuses on the sounds that letters make in English, and the different ways those sounds can be spelled.

But, that is just guess work based on the one example provided. It would also be important to know if the student has any learning issues / disabilities. Or if the student strongly needs a particular style of presentation to "click" with spelling (for example, if the student is strongly visual, a program that practices spelling by repeatedly writing the words is not going to help much.

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I'd start by ruling out a learning disability too. ✌️

 

Otherwise, I did use Writing Road to Reading on a fast track with an 8th grader (older... 4th edition maybe). It's very phonics based. There are flashcards to memorize and then we worked down the spelling lists, marking each word as we went. I jotted down any words he didn't do well on and we started every day with that list before starting down the big list again. I let his ability set the speed and ignored the suggested schedule. After a few months his spelling was light-years better and he cared more about getting them right. It was parent intensive the entire time but so worthwhile for that kid. 

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3 hours ago, Lori D. said:

The one example of spelling "any" as "eny" suggests not hearing or pronouncing words correctly, which will lead to misspelling of words. So that could indicate a possible hearing issue (not hearing words pronounced correctly to begin with), or that the student is hearing words being pronounced differently, which is throwing off the spelling. For example, I see by your user name that your family may be Spanish-speakers and are bilingual? If so, then vowels are pronounced differently in those two languages, which can lead to misspellings in English, if the student is thinking about Spanish.

All that to say, if all of the student's misspellings are like that, then there is a logic to the misspelling -- it is not random or "mindless". That would suggest using a program that focuses on the sounds that letters make in English, and the different ways those sounds can be spelled.

But, that is just guess work based on the one example provided. It would also be important to know if the student has any learning issues / disabilities. Or if the student strongly needs a particular style of presentation to "click" with spelling (for example, if the student is strongly visual, a program that practices spelling by repeatedly writing the words is not going to help much.

No, we are not bi-lingual, sadly. What is interesting about his writing is that it really is written exactly how most words sound. So almost the opposite of what you are saying. It’s like he has completely thrown out ANY rules of phonics and just writes. He is actually a very talented writer. So this has started to be a hang up because we have to go back and correct almost everything. I don’t want this to turn into a discouragement for him. 

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3 hours ago, SilverMoon said:

I'd start by ruling out a learning disability too. ✌️

 

Otherwise, I did use Writing Road to Reading on a fast track with an 8th grader (older... 4th edition maybe). It's very phonics based. There are flashcards to memorize and then we worked down the spelling lists, marking each word as we went. I jotted down any words he didn't do well on and we started every day with that list before starting down the big list again. I let his ability set the speed and ignored the suggested schedule. After a few months his spelling was light-years better and he cared more about getting them right. It was parent intensive the entire time but so worthwhile for that kid. 

What types of learning disability could that possibly be? He has never been to school. So we have never had input from anyone else.

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1 hour ago, rebecca.gonzalez said:

No, we are not bi-lingual, sadly. What is interesting about his writing is that it really is written exactly how most words sound. So almost the opposite of what you are saying. It’s like he has completely thrown out ANY rules of phonics and just writes. He is actually a very talented writer. So this has started to be a hang up because we have to go back and correct almost everything. I don’t want this to turn into a discouragement for him. 

I won't quibble with you, but I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying that from the 1 example you provided, it looks like he may be spelling by how it sounds to him. 😉 

At any rate, if his spelling instruction has been neglected (from your first post above), then this is the time to use a formal program to get him up to speed. I'd strongly recommend getting a formal evaluation, which could help you narrow down what spelling program would best help him "learn the rules" and "see the spelling patterns".

You might take a look at this short article: "Effective Spelling Strategies" which explains the four main strategies for spelling (phonetic, rule-based, visual, morphemic), and see if it is clear to you right away which strategy/strategies your student is weak in, to then know what approach to take for remediating his weak spelling.

In this list below, I see the following spelling programs frequently mentioned for struggling spellers -- BUT, each works on a different aspect of spelling that may be problematic for the student, so it helps to know WHAT specifically the student struggles with to know what to use to remediate. Examples:

- Apples and Pears = morpheme-based; presents morphemes as units of meaning within words, then drills those root units
- All About Spelling = phonics-based/Orton-Gillingham approach, using multiple learning styles (visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic)
- Sequential Spelling = visual-based; syllables and "chunking" to see smaller words within longer words for spelling attack
- Phonetic Zoo = phonetic-based; helps to strengthen weak auditory-sequential processing
- Megawords = rule-based; focus on syllabication (breaking long words into smaller syllables + spelling patterns), plus vowel patterns
- Apples Daily Spelling Drill = rule-based review
- Spelling Through Morphographs = morpheme-based + rule-based; words are morphographs (base + prefixes/suffixes), and rules for spelling these combinations
- Stevenson Blue Spelling Manual = visual-based; mnemonics (visual images) linked to spelling patterns
- Dianne Craft - "blocked learning gate" of spelling = visual-based, plus suggested techniques to increase brain hemisphere connections

In the meanwhile, if your 8th grader has not learned to touch type (type without looking at the keyboard), I'd suggest working on that, in order to get him typing all of his writing. Then tools such as SpellCheck will start flagging his misspellings, which, the more he types, the more it can help him to start seeing patterns of spelling / misspelling.

BEST of luck in finding what helps improve the spelling.

Edited by Lori D.
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Did he previously spell better, and now just has given up? Or has this been ongoing since he was first learning to spell?

Either way, an eye check (at the eye doctor, not just the primary care) and hearing check might be good, just to make sure there are no physical impediments, and if none are found, he possibly may need an evaluation for something like dyslexia.

I have a relative who was a strong reader, but struggled with spelling until he got an eye test at around age 11 or 12, not prompted by the spelling issues. He got glasses, and suddenly the spelling issues cleared up with no additional intervention. My DD (now 14) who had spelling problems got an auditory evaluation when she was 9 and it turned out she had 40% hearing loss due to inflammation in there from all her ear infections. She went on a steroid, a few months later the inflammation was down and she had regained most of the hearing, and within a year of beginning All About Spelling (linked above) she was making only very rare spelling mistakes. We went through all 7 levels of AAS, but she got the idea and rules by about Level 3 and it was very smooth sailing through the rest of the program.

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55 minutes ago, egao_gakari said:

My DD (now 14) who had spelling problems got an auditory evaluation when she was 9 and it turned out she had 40% hearing loss due to inflammation in there from all her ear infections.

Wow!  What kind of evaluation did you get?  What prompted you to ask for one?

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1 hour ago, domestic_engineer said:

Wow!  What kind of evaluation did you get?  What prompted you to ask for one?

It was our first year homeschooling and I noticed that she was getting extremely frustrated whenever there was noise of any kind when she was trying to work. Dishwasher running, brother shuffling papers, etc. She just couldn't tune it out and focus. Even the fridge turning off and on upset her. I suspected auditory processing disorder, so I asked our primary care doctor for a referral to an audiologist and ENT for that reason. 40% loss in one ear, 10% in the other, so she was barely hearing in stereo! I can't imagine how discombobulating it must have been. The minute the ENT got a look, she commented that she was surprised we hadn't been referred for tubes years ago. The passages were swollen almost completely shut. She'd had 4-6 ear infections per year since she was very little - every cold or flu turned into an ear infection. But the ENT thought she was a little old for tubes at that point, so she put her on a course of steroids instead and then had her do Flonase for a couple of months. Once all the swelling went down, the audiologist tested her again and the right ear that had been at 40% loss was now at just 10% loss, and the left one that had been 10% was hearing normally. And she stopped being so frustrated by ambient noise, and suddenly her spelling improved too, which I hadn't been expecting at all 😄 She's still very prone to swimmer's ear, but she can have a cold without it going to her ears now.

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On 5/27/2021 at 2:24 PM, Lori D. said:

I won't quibble with you, but I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying that from the 1 example you provided, it looks like he may be spelling by how it sounds to him. 😉 

At any rate, if his spelling instruction has been neglected (from your first post above), then this is the time to use a formal program to get him up to speed. I'd strongly recommend getting a formal evaluation, which could help you narrow down what spelling program would best help him "learn the rules" and "see the spelling patterns".

You might take a look at this short article: "Effective Spelling Strategies" which explains the four main strategies for spelling (phonetic, rule-based, visual, morphemic), and see if it is clear to you right away which strategy/strategies your student is weak in, to then know what approach to take for remediating his weak spelling.

In this list below, I see the following spelling programs frequently mentioned for struggling spellers -- BUT, each works on a different aspect of spelling that may be problematic for the student, so it helps to know WHAT specifically the student struggles with to know what to use to remediate. Examples:

- Apples and Pears = morpheme-based; presents morphemes as units of meaning within words, then drills those root units
- All About Spelling = phonics-based/Orton-Gillingham approach, using multiple learning styles (visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic)
- Sequential Spelling = visual-based; syllables and "chunking" to see smaller words within longer words for spelling attack
- Phonetic Zoo = phonetic-based; helps to strengthen weak auditory-sequential processing
- Megawords = rule-based; focus on syllabication (breaking long words into smaller syllables + spelling patterns), plus vowel patterns
- Apples Daily Spelling Drill = rule-based review
- Spelling Through Morphographs = morpheme-based + rule-based; words are morphographs (base + prefixes/suffixes), and rules for spelling these combinations
- Stevenson Blue Spelling Manual = visual-based; mnemonics (visual images) linked to spelling patterns
- Dianne Craft - "blocked learning gate" of spelling = visual-based, plus suggested techniques to increase brain hemisphere connections

In the meanwhile, if your 8th grader has not learned to touch type (type without looking at the keyboard), I'd suggest working on that, in order to get him typing all of his writing. Then tools such as SpellCheck will start flagging his misspellings, which, the more he types, the more it can help him to start seeing patterns of spelling / misspelling.

BEST of luck in finding what helps improve the spelling.

Thank you for so much information about ea program, it helps a lot.

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On 5/27/2021 at 1:22 PM, Lori D. said:

The one example of spelling "any" as "eny" suggests not hearing or pronouncing words correctly, which will lead to misspelling of words. So that could indicate a possible hearing issue (not hearing words pronounced correctly to begin with), or that the student is hearing words being pronounced differently, which is throwing off the spelling. For example, I see by your user name that your family may be Spanish-speakers and are bilingual? If so, then vowels are pronounced differently in those two languages, which can lead to misspellings in English, if the student is thinking about Spanish.

All that to say, if all of the student's misspellings are like that, then there is a logic to the misspelling -- it is not random or "mindless". That would suggest using a program that focuses on the sounds that letters make in English, and the different ways those sounds can be spelled.

But, that is just guess work based on the one example provided. It would also be important to know if the student has any learning issues / disabilities. Or if the student strongly needs a particular style of presentation to "click" with spelling (for example, if the student is strongly visual, a program that practices spelling by repeatedly writing the words is not going to help much.

In fairness, any does sound out as e-n-y - it's phonetically irregular. It does seem like a potential red flag if he hasn't coded that word correctly. I'd be curious what other spelling errors he's making.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

My son has been using Phonetic Zoo From IEW.   It is independent.  I just set up the iPod for him at the begining, he listenes to the jingle with the spelling rule, he does a spelling test and the next track is the corrections.  When he has gotten 100 percent two days in a row, he moves on.  It has worked well for us.  

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  • 1 month later...

I'm gonna suggest AAS, because it's not babyish and honestly as an adult I'm learning a lot from it.   Mostly they suggest starting at the beginning with it.   I would skip the letter practice which he would find babyish and go a section a day (not per week like I would do with a younger child), but even for an older student the part about when c says k vs s and sh,ch,th and things like that might be useful.  Either that or I would start him on AASII since it reviews most of the harder concepts in the beginning. 

By the way, I agree with others..."any" is a rule breaker and not an easy one to spell actually.  But they do cover common rule breakers like that. 

 

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