Topic | Spelling Wisdom – Not identifying words he doesn't know how to spell

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  • Regan
    Participant

    We are using Spelling Wisdom.  My 10 year old son is reading the passage, identifying words he doesn’t know how to spell and then writing them down and studying them until he says he is ready for dictation.  However, when we get to dictation, he is finding there is a word he doesn’t know how to spell that he didn’t identify.  After this happened a few times, I encouraged him to write the passage, looking at a few words, then looking away to write those words without looking back.  Then, if he caught himself wanting to look back at one of the words, this would be a word he needed to study.  So, this is what he has been doing for the last week or two.  Well, today he said he was ready for dictation and he didn’t remember how to spell one of the words.  He is discouraged because he says he transcribed it and knew how to spell it when he wrote it so it wasn’t a word he studied.  I was just wondering if any of you had encountered this and if you have any tips?   Have any of your kids struggled in this way?

    Tamara Bell
    Moderator

    Good morning Momma,

    I have a couple suggestions but perhaps you already do these things?  When he says he is ready for dictation, do you give him a “pop quiz”?  Randomly ask him to spell a word from the lesson.  Go through a few of the words.

    If he gets a word wrong, write it on a small white board.  Let him see it properly and then say out loud how it is spelled.  Erase 1 letter then ask him to spell the word, continue erasing letters and having him spell the word.  The turns the lesson from only visual to auditory also.

     

    Regan
    Participant

    Thanks for your feedback, Tamara.  Usually he will come to me in the morning after he has looked his spelling words over.  He will tell me he is ready for dictation.  I will usually tell him I will get back him later in the morning and call his words out to make sure he truly knows them.  9 out of 10 times he knows the words he has studied but when I dictate to him, he struggles to spell a word that he never identified as a word he didn’t know how to spell.  Just trying to figure out if there are any tips to keep this from happening.  I do like your idea of writing the word on a white board and slowly erasing letters, but trying to avoid him getting to his dictation unprepared.  Thanks so much!

    Regan

    sarah2106
    Participant

    It might be that he has a harder time spelling while writing vs. spelling verbally. I was not (am not) a natural speller at all, but I could spell out loud easier than spell when writing. I think it was because when I would write I would write faster than I was thinking and honestly just did not see the errors. What my mom often did was to ask me to spell the misspelled words outloud and then just let me go with that (I was homeschooled growing up). She knew that spelling was a struggle for me, (she wondered if I had a form of dyslexia even though reading was not a challenge, since spelling was) and drilling and drilling was not going to be the answer.

    What also helped was that my mom would ask me to read aloud what I had just written, that often helped me hear the errors because reading back what I wrote caused me to slow down and realize that something was wrong with the word even if I did not quite know how to correct it.

    As I got older with practice and maturity I started to recognize when something was wrong, but did not always know how to correct it. As an adult I am still not a strong speller though I can see the errors much easier now, and I tell the kids often “I don’t know how to spell that let’s look it up in the dictionary.”

    I think there is something to be said for maturity and time when it comes to spelling. My oldest did not start really improving spelling until she was 11.5, and my ODS who is 10 and does dictation, will spell words wrong during dictation but when I ask him to spell it out loud or on a white board with out pressure of dictation exercise, he will get it right. Taking what is heard and then writing it down is a very different exercise and takes practice.

    Regan
    Participant

    Thank you for sharing, Sarah2106.  He does well with the words he studies, its just that when he reads the passage, he writes down words he doesn’t know how to spell, and will regularly not identify all the words he doesn’t know how to spell.  So, when I go to dictate, he will get to “sleeping” for example and not know how to spell it.  He will say, I didn’t identify that one and I did everything I was suppose to.  Ugh

     

    sarah2106
    Participant

    At 10 neither of my kids recognize all the words they need to work on, especially if it is a common word they see in books. They are so used to reading it that they miss that they don’t know how to spell it.

    I always go over the passage with my kids and help them find the words they need to work on.

    Sonya Shafer
    Moderator

    You might also reduce the length of the passage he is responsible for until he builds up more confidence. One or two sentences is a good length for his age.

    Shelby
    Participant

    I have found the same issue with my kids, both the older and the younger. Because of this I sit down with them right before the dictation and do a written check (I know my children best and have worked with each of them on their spelling long enough to know what their common mistakes are and what to check for. With a new student you simply check more words until you understand their individual struggles). I say each word they might struggle with and they write it. If they hesitate on a word, I show them the word in the exercise and they write it correctly on the page and circle the word. Once the check is complete I have them go back to the circled word/words and study them. I sit and wait for the minute it takes to do this so that I am ready to dictate right away. When they say they are ready I usually ask if they are confident in all the words, and if they are, we dictate. This has helped with discouragement and negativity, and thankfully they rarely get something wrong. If I know my student can’t remember an e from an a in many words, I will be sure to always check those words. If a student can’t remember when to drop or retain an e when adding a suffix: love, loving; some, something, I will touch on that particular types of words. I might also show four or five words that show a particular pattern in a word my student struggles with: so if flour is a challenging word I might also show sour, hour, and devour to make my student aware of this common pattern in our language. I don’t suggest them as rules, just as common patterns to look for. Hopefully you can find what works well for your child.

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