I am currently researching how to teach spelling. Some methods say that if children are exposed to good literature eventually they will pick up spelling. Others recommend copy work, so that students can learn spelling while practicing their handwriting. Still others advocate lists of spelling words and weekly tests. If you’ve followed my homeschooling efforts for long you can probably guess that I’m leaning toward using a little of all of those methods.
We already read a lot of books and Hannah does copy work, but I wanted to find a way to help her understand basic spelling. Really, it’s mostly selfish, because she likes to write stories in her many notebooks and I get tired of her asking me how to spell things every three and a half seconds, especially when I’m working with the other kids.
So I decided to read The Writing Road to Reading because it describes how understanding basic phonemes and spelling rules can help kids spell the most common words in English and also help them to spell unusual words. The method also purports to teach children to read and to appreciate literature, but we already have those under control so I mostly skimmed until I got to the spelling parts. There is quite a lot of information on classroom teaching methods as well if you find that interesting.
I started Hannah and Jack out with the beginning of the phonograms list and the beginning of the word list. Jack still has a difficult time writing, but he’s gotten much better at holding his pencil correctly and forming the letters properly, so I am happy with that progress. Hannah already knows how to spell the beginning words so I’m trying to move her through until we get to words and rules she doesn’t know, but I wanted to start at the beginning to make sure we didn’t miss something. Both kids like the lesson because they get to write in their notebooks. Notebooks are a very big thing around here these days. Jack took one to Sunday School this week in his blazer pocket and lost it, so if you find a small notebook with a red car on it filled with lowercase b’s and words like me, do, and, and go, please let us know.
While you can find lists of phonograms and word lists online, I do think the rule explanations attached to the extended Ayres word list in The Writing Road to Reading is helpful. I found the book at our library, and it may be worth checking yours before you decide about purchasing it for yourself.
If you’ve taught your children spelling using this or some other method, would you let me know in the comments? I’m always looking for new school ideas and book recommendations!
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