9- to 11-year olds: Learn to break words into syllables, add inflectional endings (e.g., es, ed, and ing ), and differentiate between homophones (e.g., your and you’re )
11- to 14-year olds: Focus on morphemes, learn Greek and Latin root words and affixes, and learn that words with related meanings often are related in spelling despite changes in vowel and consonant sounds (e.g., sign/signal, and nation/national )
Spelling instruction can be based on teaching rules and generalizations. After learning a general spelling rule, the student is able to use it with unfamiliar words. These rules can apply to instruction using both linguistics and phonics.
Darch, Kim, and Johnson (2000) examined the effects of a rule-based approach compared to traditional spelling instruction and found that students receiving rule-based instruction out-performed students who received traditional spelling instruction.
Spelling instruction can utilize a multilinguistic approach that focuses on phonemic, orthographic, and morphological knowledge (Berninger et al., 2008; Kelman & Apel, 2004).
Utilizes prescriptive assessment and matches the instruction to the specific weaknesses of the student. For example, if the misspellings of a student are primarily phonological, which is often the case for students with learning disabilities (Berninger et al., 2008), the spelling intervention would focus heavily on phonological aspects of language (i.e., phonemic awareness combined with the alphabetic principle).
The student is given a pretest at the beginning of each unit of study. The words the student misspells on the pretest become the study list. After instruction, another test determines the degree of mastery. A progress chart is kept, and words misspelled on the second test are added to the list of words for the following unit of study.
Visual mnemonics can help students with learning problems remember spelling words. With eyes closed, the student visualizes the word, attempts to see the mnemonic aid presented in the word, and then writes the word from memory. Moreover, the student can generate associations to facilitate recall of correct spellings (e.g., princi pal is your pal, de ss ert is s omething s weet).
To focus on particular spelling patterns, have students sort a pack of word cards or the words on their weekly spelling list into two or more categories (e.g., according to vowel patterns, affixes, or root words).
Have the student count the phonemes in a spelling word and write the word in Elkonin boxes, which also are called word boxes.
Have the student work with anagram activities, in which the student is given a word and must rearrange all the letters to make a new word.