Spelling and Vocabulary is often put on the back burner…
Sometimes, whether you’re homeschooled or not… spelling just isn’t top priority. In fact, many people view spelling as simply a side note to the bigger skill of writing and possibly reading. However, I submit that spelling is actually a study in and of itself. You may wonder why I seem so passionate about this? Well, to be honest when I was teacher I saw how spelling truly interacted with almost every subject. The fact that students could achieve at a higher rate through the study of spelling and vocabulary was simply astounding to me. It didn’t coincide with how most teachers, students, and even parents viewed the practice of the subject. Yet, it made sense.
You see spelling and vocabulary are at the heart of all learning whether it is math, science, or even history. If we can encourage children to understand concepts and meaning of words through the study of vocabulary and spelling then the actual participation in a subject is easier for the child. They already have an understanding of the concepts. So, my methodology would be to use a spelling/vocabulary introduction to a subject presenting all the vital words and concepts and then have the child use spelling drill and practice with those words before beginning a formal study of the concepts. Your drill and practice could include everything from word analogies, definitions, to segmenting. This method actually aids in comprehension and in building connections to prior experiences.
Spelling Builds Good Readers…
Secondly, instead of putting spelling on the back burner it should be an integral part of learning because it not only builds a foundation of understanding it also builds better readers. Yes, we all know spelling is the support structure of good reading. Yet, truthfully it goes hand in hand with it and I would press further to say that a good speller is a good reader. The more a child works with words – whether it is through spelling/vocabulary, writing, reading, etc. the better that person will be able to use words appropriately in speech and language. A systematic approach to teaching spelling is efficient at enabling students to understand our complex language and to become masters at communication. Don’t wait until problems arise – teaching spelling in a “correct the errors” manner does nothing to strengthen or build the student’s understanding… it simply adds confusion.
Technology to Teach Spelling…
Finally, using multiple methods to teach spelling and vocabulary instruction can make all the difference. Children who are learning spelling through a fun and engaging method will not find the practice dull. The key to motivation is finding a way to enhance learning through meaningful methods. It is key that as students are practicing vocabulary and spelling that they receive feedback and success. The use of technology in spelling and vocabulary can be a most effective method of teaching for success. Spelling – in almost every subject area – spells out success!
A few tips to get you headed in the right direction:
1) Spelling in other subjects. – Mathematical spelling lists, science spelling lists, history spelling lists
2) Teaching spelling systematically – usually using a phonics based approach
3) Use interactive spelling games and other fun resources to make spelling and vocabulary rewarding