A Literacy-Based Approach to Spelling

You are probably sick and tired of hearing me say "literacy-based." All of our learning, at home and with clients, revolves around literature. Whatever my children are learning - whether it be about a rhombus or Abraham Lincoln - we hit the books. Thankfully we live in a place with an awesome library making this approach to education super successful and easy.


So it came as no surprise to me as I'm researching the best instructional approaches to spelling the results show the most success when spelling instruction was integrated into the reading lesson. While having a basal spelling program is useful because it can be used as an accountability resource, teachers cannot discount the value of observation and anecdotal records. Pay attention to the pattern of mistakes your writer makes and use them as teaching opportunities. While you're reading a poem with rhyming words, pay attention to how different spellings produce similar sounds. For example:


The Little Turtle

by Vachel Lindsay


There was a little turtle.

He lived in a box.

He swam in a puddle.

He climbed on the rocks.


He snapped at a mosquito.

He snapped at a flea.

He snapped at a minnow.

And he snapped at me.


He caught the mosquito. He caught the flea.

He caught the minnow.

But he did not catch me!


If you are discussing the long e spellings you already have an example shown here. Or the -cks versus -x ending, or the long o spelling -ow.


The most important component in spelling (as with anything else) is the person teaching the material. How are you going to make this applicable to your readers and writers? Do they understand the importance of spelling? Practical examples such as this one will offer some assistance and great conversation starters:

Do your students understand your objective? Procedures? The purpose for activities? For example, in order to truly know a word we must study it, write it more than once, hear all the sounds and understand the letters used, we must use it multiple ways - are you helping your writer understand the purpose behind their assigned work? Do we help readers and writers understand how to strategies and why words are constructed the way they are? Do we provide opportunities to learn word parts? Study patterns?


Do you give opportunities for them to see authors use the word? Seeing the word in context is an important piece of word study!


How do you incorporate spelling into your daily reading and writing successfully?


There are a lot of questions that force us to evaluate our direct spelling instruction, but I think it's important enough to consider all of these factors. So how do we develop a list that meets the unique needs of our writers? How do we teach them to study the word?


That is all laid out for you here with my weekly spelling procedure that can be used for all elementary grades. Using your basal spelling list or sight words or other suggestions offered in the teacher notes of this piece, it is a procedure you can easily incorporate into your day. Does it require some work? You betcha! But it is well worth it!


This was the FREE activity, along with a video explanation, that was offered to all my clients as their educational consultant (visit the about section in the Educational Consultant page on Facebook to learn more), but I am offering to you in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for $5. The video is not included, but everything is spelled out pretty simply for you.


If you would like to receive products and have a monthly workshop at your disposal (among other perks), contact me and we can get you set up!

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