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Lisa R.

Ds, age 10, has spelling issues. Ideas?

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Ds does well in history, science, grammar, and math. We struggled daily with neatness, though. In math, for instance, he understands all the concepts well in Saxon 65. If he gets a problem incorrect, it is due to messiness or reading the problem incorrectly.

 

Back to spelling. We've tried Spelling Power, Spelling Workout, and now he's doing Phonetic Zoo. Actually, he's breezing through the Phonetic Zoo program. He does fairly well when he memorizes the words, but he does not apply them in this daily work.

 

How do you get a child to apply his spelling to other work? His other work is riddled with spelling errors. When he copies work down from his grammar lesson, there are several spelling errors each day. I've tried taking all the words he misspells and have him copy each of them five times. It's helping a little but not much.

 

He's a bright child. He tests at or above grade level in every subject. However, if he were to write a paragraph on his own, he would look illiterate--between the messiness and the spelling errors. (His work is legible, but not what would be considered neat.)

 

During school I can ask him to recopy messy work. Even though this takes him longer than doing it neatly the first time, this hasn't yet sunk in. Basically, he's a laid-back kid who doesn't really see the importance in quality work.

 

However, if I could just get the spelling fixed, this would be huge.

 

Ideas?

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How does he do with dictation?

 

Susan C. Anthony has a spelling workshop online (click on the links on the right side of the page) where she describes how to build a "bridge" between spelling correctly for the test and spelling correctly in everyday writing automatically. That bridge is dictation.

 

Also, does he remember spelling words after the test? My daughter is a terrible speller, and I finally implemented my own program (using the Spelling Plus list) for her that involves intense review. Anytime she uses a word incorrectly it goes back on her list. If you'd like I can give you more details.

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Writing, thinking about what to write, and spelling are each processed in a *different* part of the brain, and it takes some students much longer than others to "integrate" all three skills for simultaneous thinking/writing/spelling. It is not uncommon for many students to not mature into this complex interconnected thinking until age 12-14 -- or older.

 

That said, things you can do to help:

 

1. Do revising of writing (i.e., looking for spelling errors) as a natural second step in the writing process, waiting about 10-30 minutes to allow his brain to "click over" from "writing mode" to "spelling mode". Gradually, as he gets older, you'll be able to shorten up that time lag, and eventually he'll get to the point of being able to do both tasks simultaneously.

 

2. Phonetic Zoo has you practice saying and hearing the letters of the word in order, and that's great. I'd suggest adding *additional* spelling practice using other methods of input as well, especially to practice simultaneous hearing / thinking / writing / spelling by each day, dictating 3 short sentences (4-6 words long), each with 2 spelling words in them (and keep the rest of the words short and simple. Have him say each word and then spell it aloud as he *writes* it.

 

 

Patience, a little gentle perseverance. Time and maturity. It will all come together for your family! Warmly, Lori D.

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Check out Apples and Pears spelling http://www.prometheantrust.org/soundfoundationsbooks.htm

 

It is a unique program from England that is very effective for kids struggling. They use the words in dictation almost daily and there are no word lists to memorize (and forget) but rather spelling activities each day. You can see the entire program in PDF format at the link above. It is a tad pricey but effective.

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Check out Apples and Pears spelling http://www.prometheantrust.org/soundfoundationsbooks.htm

 

It is a unique program from England that is very effective for kids struggling. They use the words in dictation almost daily and there are no word lists to memorize (and forget) but rather spelling activities each day. You can see the entire program in PDF format at the link above. It is a tad pricey but effective.

 

How do you schedule Apples & Pears, Ottakee?

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Many kids can handle 1 level (2-3 pages) a day several days a week. My girls though have a lot of trouble with the actual handwriting so often we only do 1 page a day but aim for 4-5 days a week.

 

How do you schedule Apples & Pears, Ottakee?

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I would try Gayle Graham's Tricks of the Trade notebook, it teaches students to spell using their own misspelled words.

 

It's also pretty cheap, you can get it and the textbook at Common Sense Press or CBD for around $20. Actually, it looks like the set is on sale for $17 at CBD right now.

 

I used to be that way, too, able to memorize my spelling words, but forgetting them within weeks.

 

You can read about that here: http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Spelling/learningtospell.html

 

and more spelling ideas here: http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Spelling/spellingforsucce.html

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Check out Apples and Pears spelling http://www.prometheantrust.org/soundfoundationsbooks.htm

 

It is a unique program from England that is very effective for kids struggling. They use the words in dictation almost daily and there are no word lists to memorize (and forget) but rather spelling activities each day. You can see the entire program in PDF format at the link above. It is a tad pricey but effective.

 

I like Apples and Pears spelling as well. It gets done consistently and my dd is retaining the information.

 

Jan

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PS -- Forgot to add: one other thing that has really helped our struggling speller is doing Megawords as a supplement to his "spine" spelling. It is for grades 4 and up, and teaches vowel patterns and syllabication rules, which helps the student slow down, see the root of the word and the prefixes/endings, or the individual syllable "bites", and helps them attack spelling in an organized manner. See sample pages at http://www.christianbook.com

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My dd9 was a terrible speller. At the end of third grade she tested well above average in every area except spelling/word study which was then on a first grade level. She had attended ps through 2nd grade and was not taught phonics.

 

Anyway, I began using Sequential Spelling this year. Last week, I didn't know whether to cry or jump for joy when she wrote 3 whole paragraphs without any mispelled words.

 

It is very easy to use, takes only about 10 minutes per day, and is inexpensive. I highly recommend it!

 

Mel

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The programs I generally see recommended for this are:

Sequential Spelling - using this with my dyslexic 10yo

Megawords - using this with my Aspie 13yo

All About Spelling

Apples and Pears

 

Sequential Spelling is for kids who learn better with patterns than with rules. My 10yo does MUCH better with patterns than with rules. The rules just confuse her.

 

Megawords and All About Spelling are very heavily rules-based. AAS starts at the beginning and goes up to about 4th grade level, but new levels are being added. Megawords starts at 4th grade level and goes all the way up to adult.

 

I haven't used Apples and Pears, but have seen glowing recommendations for it.

 

All of the programs above have had glowing recommendations posted on the special needs board and on the email loops HeartofReading and HSDyslexicKids. No program works for all kids though. I know that most of the posts about Sequential Spelling say that the user didn't see results until around day 60, so if you decide to use SS, you should stick with it at least to that point.

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Here's something to take a look at. It's "Earobics" It's a computer program that teaches skills needed for spelling and reading with games. It's fun and easy to use. It was a big help for my daughter. I had her use it a few years ago. I put a link in below for Step 2 for ages 7 - 10 years.

 

Earobics® is the number one selling educational software program for teaching auditory and phonological awareness skills! Earobics® Step 1 is for developmental ages 4-7 and features 6 interactive games with over 300 levels of play. It systematically teaches the critical phonological awareness, auditory processing, and introductory phonics skills required for learning to read and spell. The games also develop general cognitive skills that support learning, such as attention and memory.

 

 

 

 

http://www.superduperinc.com/products/view.aspx?pid=CC03SCOSX

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Megawords and All About Spelling are very heavily rules-based. AAS starts at the beginning and goes up to about 4th grade level, but new levels are being added. Megawords starts at 4th grade level and goes all the way up to adult.

 

By the time a student is through all six levels of All About Spelling they are at a high school level.

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1, I would consider the possibility that it's not because he's laid back. Several of the things you mentioned are indicative of dyslexia. You might check out this list of common symptoms and see what you think. You could also look at this link for "Stealth Dyslexia."

 

2, applying spelling rules to writing is difficult for some kids. Bravewriter has an article, The Unscope and Sequence which suggests it won't happen consistently until kids are 12 or 13 (and that's for kids who do not have big spelling issues). Let his work rest until later in the day or the next day, and then have him try to edit it. I use the COPS acronym--caps, organization (neatness, legibility etc...), punctuation, spelling. I have my kids check for each one, one at a time. I'd focus a lot on teaching editing through dictation and copywork, and not revise everything he writes (we pick & choose pieces to rewrite).

 

3, The difficulties with copywork also suggest either dyslexia, auditory processing difficulties, or another learning disability to me. I wouldn't assume he's lazy or doesn't care enough or isn't smart enough to realize it's easier to do it right the first time etc... (not saying you are assuming those things, but I know how easily the doubts & frustrations creep in!).

 

I took a class in teaching copywork and dictation, and one of the things we looked at was, what are our kids thinking while they do copywork? So we had our kids, one at a time, copy a passage & say their thoughts out loud to mom in the process. My son started off saying letter names, then letter sounds, then words, then back to letter names. He really wasn't sure what to do (despite some work on saying sounds while writing that we had done with Reading Reflex--but we obviously hadn't done enough). In the brief time he said sounds, he spelled the word "from" easily. When he went back to saying letter names while he copied, the word from came up again--and he couldn't spell it! It took him 4 tries--the first 3 he wrote f-o-r, then stopped himself, erased, and tried again.

 

All that to demonstrate why it's so important to say the sounds while they write, so many errors happen because they are using strategies for copying that just don't work. Saying sounds, and eventually syllable chunks or short words are better strategies for them. A child who struggles with auditory processing is the one who won't want to do this though, but it's very important.

 

I really like All About Spelling because of the focus on segmenting and syllabication, and because it's based on the Orton Gillingham phonograms. I don't know if the program you have now does that--but if it does, I'd probably spend more time on those types of lessons. He may be breezing through if the words are easy, without internalizing the underlying concepts that will allow him to spell more difficult words. I wrote more about AAS on my blog if you are interested in reading that. I discovered this past year that both of my kids who were reading fairly well but spelling poorly are likely dyslexic, and this has really changed school for the better for us.

 

I hope you find what will help your son! Merry :-)

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