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Can U Rite?

Post new topic   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Homeschool World Forum Forum Index -> Reading, Writing, Language Arts
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Joined: 21 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:31 pm    Post subject: Can U Rite? Reply with quote

Systematic spelling instruction from both historic and contemporary methods should play a significant role in classroom education. Even as many teachers and school systems have ventured to evaluate and actuate various learning approaches to spelling (thereby replacing conventional spelling textbooks), the majority have relapsed into aged, inferior techniques (typically of their own design). These improvised approaches to direct instruction commonly involve lists of words-class generated or content vocabulary lists. Such approaches are not innovations but spontaneous regenerations of methods which have been tried replaced over time by the tested and approved research-based methods we have today.

Currently there is no consensus on the most efficient method for teaching spelling in a classroom setting. However, research in developmental orthographic learning has provided the field with important new insights. As a result of numerous tests and in-class experiments, outcomes have shown that children learn words by (1) letter-sound strategies which is the most simplified breakdown of a word, (2) sound-pattern strategies as examining the word as a unit of sound, and (3) meaning-pattern strategies which unifies a word with an idea projecting meaning onto the word. From any stage of learning, we can affirm the necessity of practice of careful, linguistically-driven presentations of spelling words.

In our present system, each child (regardless of educational background) is assessed upon the standard of their current grade level and rarely by their prior knowledge. In our public school systems--which have taken on the varied developmental needs of the masses--implementing multiple vocabulary lists appears to be essential. If there is ever to be reform in our education effectiveness, it must begin by challenging students based upon their individual limits. In respect to spelling, this can be implemented upon the institution of multiple vocabulary lists to meet the necessary developmental levels. From the developmental word study perspective, these lists provide words that are appropriate in difficulty for each level of the class. Sorting and manipulating these list words by their patterns provides a powerful dimension of interest and focus to a week's instructional sequence and can help children to see and understand the orthographic structures they are studying.

Results from recent studies investigating the effectiveness of teaching from multiple lists are promising. We now know enough to profit from both the older and the newer traditions in spelling research. This, coupled with an informed knowledge of the system of English spelling, we should be able to offer optimal instruction to every child. Referring to a judicious combination of these things, the late Edmund Henderson remarked over a decade ago that, "We now understand both the language and the stages that children move through on their way to its masteryā€¯ [Henderson, E. H. (1990). Teaching spelling (2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin].

Aaron Caddel
Whoosh Learning
Educational Researcher
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