Does Your Child Struggle With Spelling? This Might Help

parenting.teaching spelling

Does Your Child Struggle With Spelling? This Might Help

English spelling is not an illogical burden there to make life difficult for our children. www.shutterstock.com

English spelling has a reputation for being illogical and chaotic. What’s going on with yacht, and why the W in two? There are a thousand other “but why?” questions our children ask about English spelling.

“English is crazy/confusing/tricky,” we say. “There are some words you just have to learn by heart,” we advise young children. “It’s a special word.”

Those responses aren’t accurate or helpful to a child learning how to spell. English spelling isn’t random. There is a system to English spelling, and there are reasons words are spelled the way they are.

How do words work?

Morphology (the meaning components of words), phonology (the sound components of words), orthography (the multiple ways the same sound may be written), and etymology (the origin of words) are the threads that work together to explain the spellings of words.

An effective spelling program will teach all these threads together.

Words are packets of meaning

English is a morpho-phonemic language. This means words are spelled according to their meaning parts (morphemes) as well as their sounds (phonemes). Morphemes are base words, prefixes and suffixes.

Phonemes and morphemes work together, so to teach English spelling it’s important to teach the two together.

For example, the word magician is not spelled majishun, even though it sounds like it should be. So before asking “what sounds can I hear?” when we spell a word, we need to ask “what does this word mean?”.

Does Your Child Struggle With Spelling? This Might HelpBreaking words into their meaningful parts is very helpful for students because it also improves their vocabulary and reading comprehension. from www.shutterstock.com

A magician is a person who does magic – and all of that meaning can be found within the spelling of the word. Magic is the base word, and “ian” is the suffix that means “the person who does”.

We see this suffix at work with lots of base words that end in “ic”, such as musician, politician, clinician, physician, electrician and technician.

Building vocabulary

Breaking words into their meaningful parts is very helpful for students because it also improves their vocabulary and reading comprehension. They can use these skills to tackle the longer words that often trip them up when reading.

This skill is particularly crucial as they move through school and must read and spell increasingly complex words such as collaborate (col = prefix meaning together, labor = work, ate = suffix that makes verbs).

It also helps them learn the concepts embedded within the words, such as perimeter (peri = around, meter = measure).

Finding links

Even single morpheme words are part of a larger family that are worth studying. The silent W in two becomes audible and more memorable when we look at its family. Two is the base word in twelve, twenty, between, and twin.

Does Your Child Struggle With Spelling? This Might HelpI before E, except after C. from www.shutterstock.com

This is well within the learning capacity of very young children. For example, I watched a five-year-old volunteer Twix to his teacher as she was explaining the two word family to her class. He explained a Twix was two sticks of biscuits.

Learning rules

Of course, the C sound in magic could potentially have been written as a K, “ck”, “ch” or “que”. In English, for the vast majority of words there will be more than one way to spell the sounds you can hear.

There are patterns we can teach children to make this easier (orthography). That’s why we teach children things like I before E except after C. It doesn’t work all the time, but it reduces the odds.

Very often, making the correct choice comes down to the word’s origin – and that brings us to etymology.

A multilingual language

As a language, English is no snob. It began as a German language but it hasn’t had a history of protectionism. Instead, it has opened its arms and its dictionary to tens of thousands of words from dozens of other languages – most notably French, Greek and Latin.

But while English has been a keen adopter of words from other languages, we English speakers have not always managed to get our tongues around their foreign pronunciation. So we’ve often kept the original spelling, but applied our own English sounds. That’s how we end up with words spelled like yacht but said like yot.

Interestingly yacht meant hunter in Dutch, which is what they invented the yacht for, to hunt down pirate ships to protect Dutch trading ships.

Helping struggling spellers

This etymological work, and indeed the work on morphemes, should not just be extension work for high achievers. It’s core work for understanding how words work in English and so must be done with every student. All children must be shown how the English language works, and none need this more than those who struggle with the language.

English spelling is not an illogical burden there to make life difficult for our children. If we are not simultaneously teaching students the phonology, orthography, morphology and etymology of words, then we are not giving them all the pieces of the spelling puzzle – and their struggles will be our failure.The Conversation

About The Author

Misty Adoniou, Associate Professor in Language, Literacy and TESL, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Related Books

Daily Word Ladders: Grades 4–6: 100 Reproducible Word Study Lessons That Help Kids Boost Reading, Vocabulary, Spelling & Phonics Skills—Independently!

parenting.teaching spellingAuthor: Timothy Rasinski
Binding: Paperback
Features:
  • Weight - 0.6
  • Depth - 10.70
  • Width - 8.30
  • Height - 0.34

Brand: Scholastic
Studio: Teaching Resources
Label: Teaching Resources
Publisher: Teaching Resources
Manufacturer: Teaching Resources

Buy Now
Editorial Review:
Kids climb to new heights in reading and writing with these engaging, reproducible word building games! Kids read clues on each rung, then change and rearrange letters to create words until they reach the top. All the while, they're boosting decoding and spelling skills, broadening vocabulary, and becoming better, more fluent readers. For use with Grades 4-6.




How to Teach Spelling

parenting.teaching spellingAuthor: Laura Toby Rudginsky
Binding: Spiral-bound
Features:
  • For all our books; Cargo will be delivered in the required time. 100% Satisfaction is Guaranteed!

Brand: Educators Publishing Service
Studio: Educators Publishing Service
Label: Educators Publishing Service
Publisher: Educators Publishing Service
Manufacturer: Educators Publishing Service

Buy Now
Editorial Review: How to Teach Spelling is a comprehensive resource manual, and corresponding workbooks provide a structured and graded method to plan spelling lessons. The manual contains the material to be used at al




Spelling by Hand: Teaching Spelling in a Waldorf School, a Guide for Class Teachers

parenting.teaching spellingAuthor: Jeremy Herrmann
Binding: Paperback
Studio: Waldorf Publications
Label: Waldorf Publications
Publisher: Waldorf Publications
Manufacturer: Waldorf Publications

Buy Now
Editorial Review: Does your child struggle with learning spelling and reading? Are your students bored with weekly spelling lessons? If so, then this fun and straightforward approach to teaching spelling is for you! Waldorf schools aim to teach children academic skills by engaging their hands and heart, as well as their minds. In this concise booklet, the values of Waldorf education are merged with current research regarding how we most effectively learn spelling in order to offer a holistic approach to spelling instruction for Grades 1 through 8. The curriculum focuses on essential skills required for proficient spelling and presents many ideas for activities and games that help children learn. Teachers and parents who read this book will be able identify their child’s key areas for spelling improvement and provide their child with fun and meaningful opportunities for spelling practice towards mastery!




parenting.teaching spelling
enafarzh-CNzh-TWtlfrdehiiditjamsptrues

follow InnerSelf on

google-plus-iconfacebook-icontwitter-iconrss-icon

 Get The Latest By Email

{emailcloak=off}

follow InnerSelf on

google-plus-iconfacebook-icontwitter-iconrss-icon

 Get The Latest By Email

{emailcloak=off}