Spelling technique #1

Logical phonetic, visual sequencing, rules, auditory, motor?

The analysis of spelling errors.

I can’t claim any of these ideas I’m giving you as my own, but I don’t know exactly whose they are.  I’ve picked up many pieces of paper during my time in teaching and have a mishmash of spelling advice.  The three spelling names I can tell you though, are: Cynthia Klein, Violet Brand and Joan Walton – all of whom I use an awful lot.  So, forgive me if I am using an idea which is not appropriately cited – if you feel I’ve plagiarised please let me know. 

I asked you to collect some spelling errors from one of your students to write them in a column with the correct spelling next to them. Now I’d like you to have five more columns numbered 1-5 (sheet given in Driver Youth Trust training).

1.  Logical Phonetic alternatives ‘hart’ for ‘heart’
2.  Visual sequencing error ‘dose’ for ‘does’, ‘flim’ for ‘film’
3.  Rule orientated errors ‘jock’ for ‘joke’
4.  Auditory perceptual errors ‘sramble’ for ‘scramble’
5.  Motor integration/syllable problems ‘rember’ for ‘remember’

Look through your student’s spelling errors and tick which column you think each mistake should fit into.  Is there a pattern emerging? Are there more of one than the other? 

Below are misspellings from a 10 year old with relatively good phonic knowledge (too good possibly) but likely to have poor visual memory. 

Under the UK’s current criteria for dyslexia she does not qualify, were it still the ‘discrepancy model’ she probably would have.   

Let’s look at some of the errors:
Stretches        streches         1

Really              relly                1 (if you use e as ee) 3 (as rule) – I’d probably say 3

Gym                jim                   1

Suit                 sute                 1

Spoken           spocken          3 (as with relly, o can be the long vowel (1) but student should know ck rule)

Saturday         satterday         1

Pool                 pole                 3

This student has a mixture of 1, easy to remediate and probably quite usual for her age and 3 is a lack of phonic rules.  I’d ensure her phonic knowledge of certain rules was more secure for 3.  With 1, I am less concerned, word exposure, lots of reading and development should sort this out. 

Please remember this is less of a science and more of an instinct.  I don’t have the answers but by analysing spelling and looking for patterns, it makes support more precise in helping a student to improve spellings by using the correct strategy.

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