Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My T-H-E-O-R-I-E-S about Spelling

Spelling always came naturally to me.

When I first started teaching my children, I owned the belief that a good reader would make a good speller. In the early years, I spent many hours reading to my oldest children, who grew to be avid readers of their own books. True to my assumption, my two oldest daughters became excellent spellers with ease.

Then, I had a string of sons!

This theory, as well as many others, was soon challenged! While my oldest son did not read until he was 8, he quickly became one of my most prolific readers, reading multitudes of challenging biographies and autobiographies, huge history books, and as many G.A. Henty books as I could afford to supply him! Neverthless, he never did learn to spell! Fortunately, he gets by with Spell Check, as do many members of this generation.

None of my sons are great spellers. So, I am tempted to form a new theory -- that girls are better spellers than boys. Any truth to that? I don't know. I did a little research on the web and discovered that approximately the same number of boys and girls have spelled their way to the top of the National Spelling Bee competition.

I have observed that most boys are drawn to electronic entertainment over reading. Their fascination with computer games may help them develop finger dexterity, strategy, and even some general knowledge, but probably does little to help their spelling skills. Until now!

The Blue Back Speller has met its match with SpellingCity.com!!

I discovered this FREE website just two months ago, and have been raving about it ever since! This website allows you to create custom spelling lists to accompany your unit studies or copy standard lists from your children's spelling textbooks. If you sign in first, you will be able to save these lists indefinitely. Then your child can choose one of three options: Teach Me, Play a Game, or Test Me.

Under the Teach Me option, each word is spelled out loud while it is typed on the screen and used in a sentence. After the student is acquainted with the words, he or she can learn them effortlessly by playing a variety of fun spelling games. The favorite at our house is Hang Mouse!! Then, on test day, the child selects Test Me and each word will be clearly pronounced aloud and used in a sentence (if that option is selected) and the child simply types in the word and goes to the next one. Finally, the computer grades the test for you and shows your child what he did wrong! You can also print out the test for your records.

So, now I have a new theory -- that SpellingCity will improve the spelling of any child with its multi-sensory approach and computer game format. While this may not be a proven theory, I do recommend that you test it out! My daughter, Tiffany, is using this program with her 3rd-5th grade students with good results, and I have found that that SpellingCity has both simplified my life and improved the spelling scores at my house! Check it out!


kristilea said...

WoW! That sounds great...we may have to check it out!

Lainie said...

Jamers just turned me on to SpellingCity while she was staying at our home. My oldest is such a great speller, I often ask her how to spell words since I can't spell my way out of a paper bag. The next two (boy & girl) take after me WAY to much in this area! Bad spellers of the world - untie!

Rebecca's Refining said...

One observation I have made in my family: We had no tv when Amber was young, and she developed a great love for reading. When tv was permitted...even though limited..it made a huge difference on the others, and they seem to dislike or only tolerate reading. I don't know that reading will help with spelling, but it does help with comprehension, vocabulary, and overall learning skills. Amber is my "bookworm" and she is a good speller. However, Anna does well at spelling, and she doesn't particularly enjoy reading. Abigail and Ben are both horrible in this area, though they seem to have improved in the last year.....I wonder in their cases if it is just carelessness or even laziness? (gasp!) Audrey is struggling with spelling this year....she sometimes seems dyslexic as she tends to switch her letters around a lot. She is working on her reading skills, but doesn't like that it is "hard" (again, could this be laziness?)

I am enjoying SpellingCity, though we haven't used it as much as I would like...maybe when ballgames are done we will have more time of an evening to fit everything in!Thanks for telling me about it too.

McDougald's said...

I came across your blog while reading another. We have 9 children and my oldest learned to read at 4 1/2 and is a good speller. Then the next son about made me loose my hair trying to teach him to read. He was nearly 9 before he could read well. I have learned through homeschooling that what works for one might be in the garbage for the next. Several years ago however I found a program called Spell to read and write. It is for all grades. It is true not all good readers are good spellers. But all good spellers are good readers. I encourage you to take a look at this.

Crystal Carr said...

LOVE Spelling City!! I was given the curriculum Spell to Write and Read - highly recommend it! (Premise: a good reader doesn't necessarily equal a good speller, but a good speller will be a good reader.)


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