SPELLING : NECESSARY OR SUPERFLUOUS?

There are some who say that attention the spelling is old hat and the discipline of being able to spell accurately and correctly is really not necessary anymore.

In an age of computer technology, they argue that the computer, iPads and similar gadgets provide students with correct spelling options through “spellcheck” and other text refining devices. Therefore it is not necessary to know how to spell words by heart any longer.

Others argue that in terms of priority spelling is a basic that no longer needs to be taught. There are other teaching and learning priorities.

Maybe “experts” believe that spelling skills will be acquired by osmosis. Some people genuinely believe that spelling accuracy isn’t important because corrections for both spelling and grammar can be provided by checks built into attachments for word documents and others. My personal belief is that’s the lazy way out.

I once had a teacher say to me “I don’t teach spelling because I don’t like it.” Teaching basics is apparently boring and quite stifling for some people.

This overlooks the fact that teaching important basic understanding this is repetitious and not all learning is tinsel and glitter. However, there is a way of engaging children with spelling that makes it quite exciting and looked forward to. There are numerous spelling games available that can be adapted for classroom use. These can be developed to support and reinforce graduated learning, extending the spelling program is being followed.

Spelling and word appreciation games up also available and this is one area where computer or iPad use can be reinforcing. My contention however is that spelling is an area that requires basic teaching. It can’t all be left to children working on devices and acquiring the understanding they need without teaching going into the program.

An example of one game I used with spelling was to ask children to within their minds to configure words broken into syllables attached to a piece of elastic. There is the word. As your stretch the elastic with in your mind’s eye the word broke into syllables. The study of the syllables enabled you to follow the patterning of the word. When the word had been “examined” by the stretch method the elastic was relaxed the word came back together and was spelled

I believe we neglect spelling at our peril and to the eternal loss of students.

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