Different approaches to spelling

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Different approaches to spelling

  1. 1. Different approaches to teaching spelling in the middle years Bridie Murphy
  2. 2. Teaching spelling and the different approaches used to correctly teach spelling, specifically in the middle years is a topic that has multiple points of views and opinions from many; teachers, parents and some students. Westwood (2005) states that the focus of teaching spelling centres around the question of whether spelling is best learned instinctively and incidentally by engaging in writing or whether time and effort should be devoted for explicit teaching of spelling (p. 1). Westwood, P. (2005). Spelling: Approaches to teaching and assessment [online]. Second Ed. Retrieved from http://0search.informit.com.au.alpha2.latrobe.edu.au/fullText;dn=756740268456780;res=IELHS S
  3. 3. Terms that are used throughout this topic need to be understood by you as the teacher, before be able to teach spelling appropriately to middle years students. Phonological- knowledge of the sound words Syntactic- word function knowledge Semantic- meaning knowledge Etymological- word history and origins Phonology- how words sound Sight- how words look to print Morphemes- how words are constructed from meaningful elements Winch, G., Johnston, R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L. & Holliday, M. (2010). Literacy: Reading, writing and children’s literature, 4th Edition. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Terms you need to understand:
  4. 4. When it comes to analysing Winch et al (2010) Literacy: Reading, writing and children’s literature, 4th Edition, there are many valid points that are of good concern to the different approaches to teaching spelling in the middle years students. As a teacher, you need to understand not only the terms and their definitions but also the developmental stages in learning how to spell, according to Winch et al (2010, p.328). Winch et al (2010) Literacy: Reading, writing and children’s literature, 4th Edition
  5. 5. Precommunicative The precommunicative stage suggests the use of random letters and symbols. This is usually not legible and incorporates a string of symbols such as letters, numbers and shapes. Although there is no set age of this stage, it is often associated with two to four year olds.
  6. 6. At this stage, children are starting to make recognisable letters and link them with sounds e.g; TL –table, HT –hit, BRD – bird. Vowels are starting to be introduced but mostly incorrectly e.g; BET –bat or LADE- lady. This stage usually corresponds with children aged between three and six. Pre-phonetic
  7. 7. They match between sounds and symbols are almost perfect during this stage of development. “My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places” (A.A. Milne 1926). The childs writing is readable and meaningful to a trained reader during this stage. Children are generally attending school at this stage and are quickly developing word knowledge. Phonetic
  8. 8. At this stage, children are using phonological, sight and morphemic knowledge. Words are being spelt accurately and now include vowels into every syllable. Diagraphs are now being spelled (two vowels next to each other to create one sound). This stage covers the ages six to eight. Transitional
  9. 9. This is the last stage of development and the children are aged between seven and eleven-plus and have become more thoughtful and accurate with their spelling. Children can spell majority of words they see and they attain and spelling ‘conscience’. Students are also beginning to know when a word is spelled incorrectly by looking at it. Correct spelling stages
  10. 10. There are four key principles that Winch et al (2010) believe should be used for effective strategic spelling: 1. Make spelling instruction more fun and engaging, e.g. use interactive whiteboards. 2. Increase student discussion, analysis, and thought. 3. Provide explicit instruction and practice with spelling strategies. 4. Increase student awareness and the use of important language patterns. Key Principles
  11. 11. Themes that have emerged from my reading
  12. 12. “The focus of concern in previous years hinged on the question of whether spelling skills are best learned naturally and incidentally through the process of engaging in authentic writing across the school curriculum, or whether specific time and effort should be devoted to the direct and explicit teaching of spelling skills and strategies” (Westwood 2005, p.1). “Within an integrated language learning environment, where learning to spell is closely linked to learning to talk, listen, read and write, students should be taught in a systematic and explicit way about the types of spelling knowledge that are appropriate to their writing purposes and stage of spelling development” (NSW Department of Education and Training, p.18). “One of the major debates in the first half of the century had been whether spelling is ‘caught’ incidentally from reading and writing or whether is need to be taught systematically” (O’Sullivan and Thomas 2007, p.11). Is spelling ‘caught’ or taught?
  13. 13. Educators will argue and will continue to argue what strategy will work best for students when it comes to teaching and learning spelling. Some educators believe that what the students write and the ideas and opinions they convey and the language used holds far more importance than accurate spelling. Other educators will argue that accurate spelling derives from explicit and direct teaching of the subject from an early age. In reading the conclusions from all references, it is clear that the contemporary view on this issue is to incorporate spelling into all curriculums with incorporation of direct and explicit teaching strategies.
  14. 14. O’Sullivan and Thomas (2007) state a range of spelling strategies. Encourage students to: 1. Write down what they know of the word 2. syllabify longer words 2. make analogies with known words 3. use rules where they are helpful 4. focus on word families 5. use mnemonics to help with memorisation 6. use ‘over articulation’ 7. list the ways in which a word might be spelled, using what they know, and then make decisions about which version is correct, using the look of the word (page, 98). Strategies for effective teaching of spelling
  15. 15. Westwood (2005) has summarised 5 effective strategies: 1. Word Study 2. Word Families 3. Word Sorts 4. Spelling lists 5. Use of computers and technology (page, 27).
  16. 16. O’Sullivan and Thomas 2007, have developed a strong assessment tool in assessing the spelling of students. The CLPE Spelling Assessment Framework was created and it enables teachers to look more objectively of spelling development. This framework gives a record of the spelling strategies the student’s are using (p, 101). Assessment of spelling
  17. 17. Appendix 1. CLPE Spelling Assessment Framework. Taken from “Understanding spelling,” by O. O’Sullivan and A. Thomas. 2007, p.112.
  18. 18. NSW Department of Education have listed a list of strategies they suggest for teachers to accurately assess students’ spelling: • observation and analysis of spelling behaviours • collection and analysis of work samples • guided spelling conferences • student self-assessment • tests NSW Department of Education and Training. Teaching spelling k-6. Retreived from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/primary/english/assets/pdf/ spelling/teach_spell.pdf
  19. 19. The following are assessment tools from NSW Department of Education.
  20. 20. Three points that are important for classroom success relevant to spelling. These points are discussed in an interview with Primary school teacher Laura Smith and are supported by academic references. Theory to Practice
  21. 21. Winch et al (2010) have set out a literacy session that is broken up into three parts; Shared Writing, Guided Writing and Independent Writing. Shared Writing As a whole class, they list words, phrases and sentences that relate to the topic of monsters. All of these are written on cards and the students have to sort them into sets. Guided Writing With teacher assistance, the class creates sentences using vocabulary they found on monsters. The teacher is to write a dictation on the board and highlight the key words. Discuss the correct version so that students can see how words are spelt correctly. Independent Writing Students are to use dictionaries and thesaurus’ to find synonyms for words associated with monsters (p, 347). Literacy Block
  22. 22. How do you set out your literacy block so that spelling is incorporated?
  23. 23. Does this seem effective with the students?
  24. 24. How do you assess this?
  25. 25. O’Sullivan and Thomas (2007) believes that students do not transfer their knowledge of how to spell words from tests to their own writing (p, 79). • Effective testing involves: Working with a spelling partner • a focus on a spelling pattern • a focus on a group of words from a topic • used as a part of a range of strategies not as the sole approach to spelling Regular Spelling Tests
  26. 26. Do you agree to allocate a weekly spelling test to the students? If yes, why?
  27. 27. During my recent practicum 2A, I was in a grade one class and every week the students were allocated a list of six words that they were to go home and practice until the spelling test on Friday. They were given time during literacy groups to practice twice a week during school time as well as homework. When Friday came around all students were looking forward to being tested on their words to see if they would score better than the time before. As Laura Smith stated, the students are only competing agaisnt themselves.
  28. 28. In reading statements from theme 1, where do you sit? Do you believe that spelling is caught or taught? Caught or Taught?
  29. 29. References Westwood, P. (2005). Spelling: Approaches to teaching and assessment [online]. Second Ed. Retrieved from http://0search.informit.com.au.alpha2.latrobe.edu.au/fullText;dn=7567 40268456780;res=IELHSS Winch, G., Johnston, R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L. & Holliday, M. (2010). Literacy: Reading, writing and children’s literature, 4th Edition. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. NSW Department of Education and Training. Teaching spelling k-6. Retreived from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/primary/english /assets/pdf/spelling/teach_spell.pdf O’Sullivan, O & Thomas, A. (2007). Understanding spelling. Oxon: Routledge.

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