Tag Archives: spelling

Reading, Writing, and Spelling

The National Spelling Bee Finals are held this week! Hundreds of student spelling champions, ranging from 9 to 15 years old, will travel to Washington, DC to compete in the National Spelling Bee.

Most students won’t win the National Spelling Bee, but most students can learn to spell. They need to see words in print through lots of reading and lots of writing, and they need strategic help from their teachers. The sixth standard of the NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts states that “students [should] apply [their] knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation)” in their speaking and writing.

In this article in Primary Voices, Sandra Wilde suggested the following:

The Speller’s Bill of Rights

  1. The right to express yourself in first-draft writing regardless of what words you do and don’t know how to spell.
  2. The right to do a lot of reading, which is probably the greatest single factor in spelling acquisition.
  3. The right to actively construct knowledge about the spelling system.
  4. The right to developmentally appropriate education in spelling.
  5. The right to learn that spelling does matter.
  6. The right to know about and have available a lot of ways to come up with spellings (including just knowing how to spell the word).
  7. The right to learn to proofread.
  8. The right to have spelling placed in its proper context as a small piece of the writing and language-learning process.
  9. The right to be valued as a human being regardless of your spelling.

Will you tune into the Spelling Bee?

Strategies for Spelling Instruction

SpellingBeeThe National Spelling Bee Finals are held this week! Hundreds of student spelling champions, ranging from 9 to 15 years old, will travel to Washington, DC to compete in the National Spelling Bee. To learn more about what it’s like during the event and how these spellers prepare, read “An Insider’s Perspective on the National Spelling Bee: An Interview with James Maguire” from Voices from the Middle.

How can you help students become accurate and independent spellers? Check out “Spelling — What’s All the Fuss?“, Chapter 1 from Spelling in Use by Lester L. Laminack and Katie Wood Ray, to learn more about how spelling fits into the broader topic of learning to write. Designed for teachers and families, the book features stories from real classrooms and rich examples of student writing.

Read the English Journal article “What I Wish I’d Known about Teaching Spelling” for eight recommended teaching practices. See “Spelling and the Middle School English Language Learner” for additional techniques to help the language learners you teach.

The article “Teaching Challenged Spellers in High School English Classrooms” from English Journal, also foregrounds writing as the key to spelling instruction. The article suggests that teachers begin by observing samples of students’ writing and then weave in skills lessons related to the spelling needs they observe.

To explore alternatives to teaching spelling in isolation, consider the ways that helping students to imagine themselves as writers “is much more complex than nurturing a more stable grasp of sentence clarity or spelling” in the Teaching English in the Two-Year College article “Imagine You’re a Writer”.

Winning the War of Words: Improving Our Students’ Spelling” from English Leadership Quarterly explains an alternative to the spelling bee that promotes camaraderie and offers students strategies for overcoming their spelling foes.

Will you tune into the Spelling Bee?