For many years, spelling was taught rigorously through the memorisation of word lists, often unrelated to each other. However, while memory does play a role, it does not foster the understanding of words or word patterns, which is a critical skill in successful spelling. Unfortunately, many school spelling programs still operate under the traditional method.
Using an inquiry approach to spelling allows students to come to discoveries themselves, rather than simply being asked to remember the spelling of different words or memorise spelling 'rules'. An inquiry and problem solving approach to spelling encourages an interest in words and how they are constructed, as students become actively involved in making discoveries about words and their spelling. It is therefore important that students learn strategies to assist them, and these will be discussed later.
Learning to spell requires conceptual understanding of the various elements, and follows the theory of Piaget in going from concrete to abstract. The developmental process which we will explain later, demonstrates this understanding, as it takes students from spelling by sound, to spelling by meaning.
Developmental stages are usually determined by spelling inventory tests, which demonstrate to the teacher the knowledge of spelling and word concepts which students understand, and those which yet need to be taught. A child's rate of progress through the stages is influenced by the instruction they receive, and because the stages are only an approximation, teachers must always keep in mind that different children will progress differently.
While there are variations on the developmental stages, the essential concepts stay the same. The developmental stages are a process which students go through to become confident spellers. At each stage, students use different strategies and focus on particular aspects of spelling, constantly building on their learning of the prior stage.
It is therefore necessary to differentiate spelling for each student, and compose spelling lists of word patterns that children are having difficultly with. Determining the developmental level of each student is important, because when students examine words that are at their appropriate developmental/instructional level they make more progress than if they attempt words and patterns that are at their frustration level.
Knowledge of these patterns in spelling is necessary for spelling, but they complement each other and are insufficient on their own. The developmental stages take students through each of these aspects, and they are all consolidated on in later learning. For example, phonemic awareness is learnt and emphasised in the early years, but is a foundational understanding in learning how to spell and is necessary for further spelling instruction. Identifying sounds in words in necessary, but the learner must also acquire a knowledge of which letters represent the sound in print. Spelling knowledge may be gained in all these areas through shared or guided writing.
Students need to know which strategies can help them to spell better, for example using spelling ‘rules’, by sounding out the words, or by using the dictionary, and when and how to apply these strategies. The teachers’ role is to introduce students to a range of strategies and give them practise in using them, so they do not need to rely on memory alone. In this way, students can select those that suit their own personal learning styles and that work for them. One of the most powerful strategies for determining the spelling of a word about which a student is unfamiliar is to try to think of a word that is similar in terms of sound or meaning, and this is to as ‘reasoning by analogy’. Using the sight or hearing strategy, as the student looks at and pronounces a particular word, he or she should think about other words that may have the same spelling and/or meaning pattern. Students also need to think strategically about what they already know about the spelling of a word and realize that this will help them focus more specifically on a particular error. They should be shown how to look at their misspellings in the context of the whole word.
There are many resources which can help educators in the teaching of spelling. Many activities can also be found free on the internet and printed out, or alternatively handmade. Word sorts engage students in categorizing words according to sound, spelling pattern, and meaning. Games, word wheels and flip charts are all word building activities that encourage an understanding of patterns in words.
Spelling is a major part of the Australian Curriculum ‘Word Knowledge’ stream in the general capabilities of literacy. Students must meet each of these outcomes by the end of the years 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 and in order to do this, spelling rules and knowledge of words must be built on throughout the years.
The Shape of the Curriculum document emphasises the need for spelling in the English language, and states that there should be a strong focus on establishing strategies and knowledge of conventions that can be consolidated and extended in later years. So having the knowledge of important literacy skills such as spelling will provide the foundation for skills which need to be learnt later in life. Students lacking in these skills will find it difficult to engage in texts which will inturn provide difficulties when trying to engage in more proficient and effective uses of English.
Basically, the Australian curriculum follows the stages of development as stated in the text quite closely. There is a close relationship seen between the Australian Curriculum and the Stages of Development.
According to ACARA, by the end of year one, students should understand that the letters of the alphabet correspond to the sounds in words. This matches what is stated in the stages of spelling which suggests that students learn to represent phonemes in words with letters, consonant sounds, short vowel sounds and consonant blends and digraphs. Years 2, 3 and 4 build on the knowledge of sound-letter relationships that students were introduced to in year one. These skills are added to, with students gaining knowledge on more complex patterns of relationships such as diphthongs and digraphs, the addition of inflectional endings to words and the ability to break words up into syllables. The last years of primary school of both The Australian Curriculum and the development of spelling focus on using prior knowledge of spelling rules, consonant-vowel-sound relationships and words banks to learn to spell new words. They also centre on students learning the origins of words and the relationships between spelling and meaning.
Presented by: Ruth, Rhea & Danielle
‘Those who set out to remember every letter of every word never make it. Those who try to spell by sound alone will be defeated. Those who learn how to walk through words with sensible expectations, noting sound,pattern and meaning relationships will know what to remember, and they will learn English.’ As cited by Tompkins, Campbell, & Green, 2012, p. 155
Stretches across every aspect of the curriculum Essential for oral and written language
“Spelling is the process of representing language by means of a writing system” ( National Council of Teachers of English, 1996. p. 51). “Students need to learn to spell words conventionally so that they can communicate effectively through writing” (Tompkins, G., Campbell, R. Green, D., 2012. p. 169) Poor spelling skills associated with poor writing skills Standardized writing tests: NAPLAN
“Spelling strategies, punctuation conventions, handwriting and word-processing skills should be taught across all years of schooling. There should be a strong early focus on establishing strategies and a knowledge of conventions that can be consolidated and extended in the later years. Beginning to use a common vocabulary for these strategies and conventions is a prerequisite for consolidation and extension” ( Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. 2009. p7) “Sometimes they spell a word the way it sounds (that is, applying their knowledge of phonics), while at other times they spell a word the way they recall seeing it. These writing/spelling strategies draw children’s attention to the conventions of print, enabling them to begin to read like writers”. (National Council of Teachers of English, 1996. p5)
‘Crack the code’ of English language: Phonemic Awareness: sounds and syllables Graphophonic Knowledge: letter names and sounds Morthemic Awareness: meaning of words Visual Awareness: what words look like Spelling Strategies: Adding suffixes/prefixes to known base words Sounding out Apply spelling strategies in reading Expanding vocabulary
Weekly spelling tests: Assumed to expand vocabulary Controversial “Rote learning for spelling is not a useful technique for encouraging students to spell, basically because words out of context are difficult to remember” Words need to be actively utilised in the classroom and students’ writing Parents like the evidence of spelling being taught Spelling is best practised indirectly through reading and writing in other learning areas Mini-Lessons more effective than whole lessons on spelling
Identify strengths and weaknesses Adapt a learning plan for that specific student’s needs Point out which spelling strategies would be suited for student
In the past, primarily taught through rote learning by adhering to certain rules (Templeton & Morris, 1999, p. 102). Traditional method: studying and learning words in lists as presented in commercially published ‘spellers’ (Wallace, 2006, p. 269).
Some even believe that explicit spelling instruction is not necessary, and immersing students in reading and writing is adequate (Winch, 2002, p. 224). Templeton and Morris (1999, p. 108) state that, ‘although word knowledge is best developed through contextual reading and writing, many students require careful teacher guidance and much practice if they are to internalize foundational spelling patterns’.
The spelling system not only represents sound; it represents meaning as well (Templeton, 2003). Teacher directed: guide students to an understanding of how particular spelling features and patterns operate (Templeton & Morris, 1999). Focus on spelling patterns, not individual words - though these may be added if necessary (Templeton & Morris, 1999)
According to most literacy experts, spelling is a developmental process (Tompkins et al., 2012, p. 155; Westwood, 1999, p. 7). As suggested by Wallace (2006, p. 273), when teachers understand that spelling is developmental, they will structure their teaching differently, and give students word lists that suit their individual need.
Typic Developmental Children learn these Stage al Characteristics Age concepts:Stage 1 - Random strings of scribbles or letters - Distinction between drawing and writingEmergent Spelling or 2-5 - Letters or marks have no relationship with - How to make letterspre-phonemic years sounds/phonemes - Direction of writing on a page - Some letter-sound matchesStage 2 - Learn to represent phonemes with letters, - The alphabetic principleLetter name-alphabetic 5-7 creation of invented spellings as they attempt - Consonant soundsspelling or early years to write words - Short vowel soundsphonetic - Consonants are used more than vowels - Consonant blends and digraphsStage 3 - Making more accurate use of sound-symbol - Long-vowel spelling patternsWithin-word pattern relationships, but may confuse spelling patterns - R-controlled vowels (e.g. Car/cat) 7-9spelling or phonetic - Become better able to identify sounds within - More complex consonant patterns years more complex words - Diphthongs and other less common vowel - Experiment with less frequent vowel patterns patternsStage 4 -Apply what they have learned about one - Inflectional endingsSyllables and affixes 7-10 syllable words to spell longer words - Rules for adding inflectional endingsspelling or transitional years - Learn rules about inflectional endings and - Syllabication consonant doubling - HomophonesStage 5 - Focus on morphemes and meaning - Consonant alternationsDerivational relations 9-14 - Invented spelling reflects their increased and - Vowel alternationsspelling or years developed understandings, and evidence of - Latin and Greek affixes and root wordsindependence strategies they have learnt being utilised - Etymologies Adapted from Tompkins, Campbell, & Green, 2012, p. 157, and Westwood, 1999, p. 7-10
It is important for teachers to realise that they may have children spelling at various stages in the one year level (Templeton, 2003, p. 49; Westwood, 1999, p. 7). Students must be dealing with words at their developmental level, not their ‘frustration’ level (Templeton & Morris, 1999, p. 107).
Phonology – how words sound Sight – how words look in print or writing Morphemes – how words are constructed from meaningful elements Etymology – how words are derived; word origins Taken from Winch, 2002, p. 223
Both Winch (2002, p. 224) and Westwood (1999, pp. 12-15) give several strategies by which students learn spelling: By sight (how it appears printed/written) By hearing (how it sounds: phonemic awareness) By speaking (articulation) By meaning and analogy (thinking and problem solving)
Word sorts Board/card games – only effective if focusing on word groups that reflect spelling patterns Word wheels Flip charts Word slides Templeton & Morris, 1999, p. 109
General capabilities of literacy. Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2012
On page 7 it states: On page 9 it states: Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2009
Year(Age) Australian Curriculum (ACARA) Stage of Development - Know that one syllable words are made of letters which Letter name alphabet spelling (ages 5-7) correspond to sounds heard Students learn to represent phonemes in words with letters, concepts learnt: 1 - Use visual memory to write high frequency words •alphabetic principleAge 6 - Recognise sound letter — matches including common •consonant sounds vowel and consonant digraphs and consonant blends •short vowel sounds •consonant blends and digraphs - Recognise most sound letter matches (inc. Silent letters, vowel/consonant digraphs and many less common phonemes) - Use digraphs, long vowels, blends and silent letters to 2 spell wordsAge 7 Within word pattern - Use morphemes and syllabification to break up words - Visual memory to write irregular words spelling (ages 7-9) Syllables and affixes spelling - Recognise prefixes and suffixes and how they change Students learn these concepts: (ages 7-10) meaning. •long vowel spelling patterns Students apply what they have R-controlled vowels - Recognise high frequency sight words learnt about one syllable words •More complex consonant 3 - Use phonemes (diphthongs and other vowel sounds), patterns to spell longer words.Age 8 Students learn these concepts: knowledge of spelling rules, compound words, prefixes, •Diphthongs and other less •Inflectional endings suffixes and morphemes common vowel patterns •Rules for adding inflectional Use strategies for spelling words, phonological knowledge endings 4 (long vowel patterns and consonant clusters) knowledge •SyllabicationAge 9 of morphemic word families, spelling generalisations and •Homophones other combinations Derivational Relations spelling (ages 9-14) - Understand that spelling of words have histories Students explore the 5 - Use banks of known words (dictionaries) relationships between spellingAge 10 - Words that are changed for gender (policeman to and meaning. policewoman) Children learn these concepts: •Consonant and vowel Use words origins, base words, suffixes and prefixes, morphemes, spelling patterns and generalisations to learn alternations 6 to spell new words. •Latin and Greek affixes andAge 11 root words •Etymologies Use spelling rules and origins, base words, suffixes, 7 prefixes, spelling patterns and generalisations to spell newAge 12 words
NCTE states that “all students must have the opportunities and resources to develop the language skills they need to pursue life’s goals and to participate fully as informed, productive members of society”. (National Council of Teachers of English, 1996)
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority.(2009a). Shape of the Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/curriculum.html Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority.(2009b). Shape of the Australian Curriculum: English. Retrieved from http://www.acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/Australian_Curriculum_-_English.pdf Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority.(2012). General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/General%20capabilities.pdf Bush, H. (2008). The Classroom Spelling Program: More than Learning Words. Practically Primary, 13(2), 26-28. National Council of Teachers of English.(1996). Standards for the English Language Arts. Retrieved from http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Books/Sample/StandardsDoc.pdf Templeton, S. (2003). Spelling: Best ideas = Best Practices. Voices From the Middle, 10(4), 48-49. Templeton, S., & Morris, D. (1999). Theory and Research into Practice: Questions Teachers Ask about Spelling. Reading Research Quarterly, 34(1), 102-112. Tompkins, G., Campbell, R., & Green, D. (2012). Literacy for the 21st Century. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia. Wallace, R. (2006). Characteristics of Effective Spelling Instruction. Reading Horizons, 46(4), 267-278. Westwood, P. (1999). How do children acquire spelling skills? Spelling: Approaches to Teaching and Assessment. (pp. 7-17). Victoria: The Australian Council for Educational Research. Winch, G. (2002). Writing skills in the classroom: handwriting and spelling. Literacy: Reading, Writing and Childrens Literature. (pp. 217-243). Australia: Oxford University Press.