Topic | Spelling problems and writing

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  • Heather

    My son, who will be 11 next month, is slightly dyslexic. I have used copywork and dictation, workbooks, etc. to help him with spelling and nothing has worked well. I have just started All About Spelling and have hopes that he will improve soon. My question is regarding writing.  We’ve been doing Writing Tales and everything he writes is misspelled, I mean almost every single word. Should I have him stop Writing Tales until he progresses in All About Spelling? I know he shouldn’t see a misspelled word, so other than having him strictly do copywork, I’m not sure exactly what to do.

    Thanks in advance!


    My 12yo dd is also dyslexic and her spelling is very poor. My problem is that she loves to have paper and pen and write, write, write. Anything that goes through her very busy mind. So, I cannot correct the words she misspells when she is writing for fun on her own. So, I am sure this is causing her to continue to spell incorrectly. This year we began Spelling You See. It requires chunking, copywork, and dictation. I am not doing any writing program with her. I still have her do copywork. If I want her to write something of her own, I write it down first and have her copy it. She is being tested by a neuropsychologist next week, so I am hoping to get some recommendations for her academic difficulties. Dyslexia is not her only problem, so I am dealing with more than one thing, but wanted to mention what we were doing.


    I wouldn’t stop all writing, as it could take quite awhile for his spelling to transfer over into his writing. You could try some simple activities – like stretching a simple sentence. Have him write a very simple sentence – such as “The cat sat.” Then he adds one word at a time to improve the sentence. You can even take turns. This will allow him to learn to build a good descriptive sentence, but also only forces him to focus on one word at a time. Another activity is taking a paragraph and cutting it apart, mixing it up, and then having him reorganize it. You can then have him copy the paragraph if you like. Those are just two off the top of my head. Basically, I’d aim for writing activities that teach him to write without actually expecting a ton of writing.


    Have you looked into the Barton Reading and Spelling Program?  It’s fabulous for teaching anyone to read and spell…..I use it with my 9yo dd who is dyslexic.  It includes dictation work, which is just fabulous!

    I have heard that All About Spelling is a good program, though, so hopefully you’ll see improvement with time.

    One of the tenets of the Barton Program is to not require the student to be responsible for spelling correctly words that don’t follow rules he doesn’t know.

    So, if I were  in your shoes, I would stop all  writing programs !  If it isn’t asked for in the All About Spelling program (which I understand is fabulous – I have no experience with it), I wouldn’t require it.

    If you want him to have practice or learn to write (meaning “creative writing” or “inventive writing” or “essays” or “written narrations”), I would suggest that you scribe for him.  Let him TELL you what he wants to write and you write it all down for him.  You could have him then copy it (in small segments) over the next few days if you think you need to.

    Later on, when he’s got the spelling rules under his belt and you see progress, you can add the Writing Curriculum back in.  Susan Barton recommends that students not read anything or do any “creative” writing until they have passed Level 4 in the Barton Program…..and I totally see the wisdom in that.  Things go so much better when the student has the spelling rules under his belt.

    And remember, you can do anything in your homeschool as far as accommodations, just like in public school… allow him to answer his tests verbally – he doesn’t need to actually write down the answers.  Allow him to have word banks, etc.

    Best Wishes!  .


    I feel like I have tried a lot things with my 17yo daughter to help her spelling. Since not much improvement has been made in this area, I bought a Franklin Speller device for her to take everywhere. It’s not perfect, but it helps her with her handwritten letters to family and friends as well as her typed essays. It was $15 at Amazon and is inconspicuous like a small calculator.


    My 9yo dd is dyslexic, and I only make her correct the  words that I KNOW she knows the spelling rules for.  We use the Barton Reading and Spelling Program, which has helped tremendously.

    If I want a written narration from her, she tells me and I scribe, then she copies over the next few days. When she wants to write a letter, she asks me or uses the Easy Spelling app we have.

    My advice to you would be to just fix his spelling mistakes for him and only hold him responsible for the words that follow rules he already knows.   The websites Bright Solutions and Barton Reading are super-helpful.


    Thank you ladies so much! I have just found out that AAS has a writing element which begins around level 3, so I am holding off the writing for now, aside from copy work, and he is doing great with that.

    Thank you all so much for your replies!!

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