Spelling Through the Roof with Explicit Teaching


 Today, I spent time testing students in our tutoring programs. I was overjoyed by the progress that all the children had made, BUT, I was especially, impressed with one little girl who had achieved great results in all Spelling related areas. Her spelling had gone through the roof!!! She has other problems that the mother and I had discussed on previous occasions and they were being dealt with bit by bit. The biggest thing that I noticed was that the student seemed a lot happier in her-self, her whole demeanour was positive. I was thrilled as I had spent quite a deal of time and study helping this little girl, and to see her shine was so exciting.
What was so different with this child? Well, she was consistent with her tutoring. Her parents made sure that all lessons were attended and she has a brilliant teacher called, Peta, who makes certain that her program is delivered step by step with explicit teaching and lots of revision. Together they achieved so much in a few short weeks. Reading was more fluent, phonological awareness received a perfect result, phonics had improved one level and spelling was through the roof.
This little girl was having problems differentiating the vowel sounds. She would write and i for and e and e instead of an a. Her testing proved that she has overcome this problem and is on to another level of spelling. As we test with diagnostic testing once a year, and that time is still 6 months away, I used a simplified spelling test that would direct the next level of tutoring. This spelling test is in line with our phonological awareness and phonics and leads from one skill set to another.
From the testing, we know that this girl is able to recognise spelling with short and long vowel sounds, to use the sounds made by the letters, th, sh, ch at the beginning and end of a word, to add endings by adding s or es appropriately. All skills were consolidated except adding an ending to a word that ends with a consonant and has a short vowel before the end consonant. By not consolidated, I mean she got five of these words correct out of six. This will be our starting point for the new program. This area will be consolidated and continual rehearsal will be given in all known areas. As well as this, we will introduce new spelling concepts to be explored over the next six weeks.
Following each levels completion, testing ensures that the work is consolidated. We can’t stop there because spelling taught and known in testing must be evidenced in writing. Looking through the student’s everyday writing tells us whether the skills taught have been generalised. This is a whole blog on its own!!!
This step by step approach to spelling improved this child’s work dramatically, that is all the proof needed. If spelling is given without a spirally system in place students will find it difficult to use basic skills to improve spelling. Spelling is not meant to be remembered, letters and sounds are meant to be learnt automatically. Spelling is a learnt skill that requires knowledge of phonics, visual strategies, rules and structural analysis. My confidence in our proven track record has been reinforced today with the results achieved by this darling girl who shone like a million stars. This could be your guarantee for peace of mind in your child’s future.

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Ann Foster 
Ann Foster is a teacher with a unique talent to provide back to basics step by step programs/products and tutoring for students in Australia and overseas. Her programs and products help children, teachers and parents to achieve extraordinary results quickly. She has a track record of bringing into action programs that are easy to follow and that achieve results.
Ann has been working online teaching students and adults successfully for the last four years and has taken children from average results to well above.
Letter Box staff solve problems and put wings onto dreams.