Do Your Students Need Spelling Skills
Beyond the Weekly List?
Individual “Learning Styles” Affect Spelling Performance, as…
• About one-third of students cannot memorize how words look (they are not visual learners – Samuel T. Orton, neuropathologist)
• Non-visual learners usually cannot correct their own mistakes in spelling even if they recognize that they have made mistakes.
• Non-visual learners usually cannot tell if a word “looks right.”
• Non-auditory learners cannot make words spelled to them verbally with letter names relate to their own speech (phonemic awareness).
• Non-visual children cannot put words written for them into long term memory because visual learning isn’t their inborn strength.
• Non-visual learners cannot memorize a visual sequence of letters.
• Non-visual learners cannot imagine that the /ph/ phonogram in “elephant” is a variant of a spelling for /f/ if they have never had specific instruction in this possibility.
• Non-visual learners cannot correct their own spelling without some type of instruction that does not rely on their visual memory
Multi-sensory instruction plus correct, complete and properly sequenced information makes correct spelling possible for all learners, as…
• All types of learners (visual, verbal, auditory and kinesthetic) have EQUAL and OPTIMAL opportunities to learn and then can apply any information given them when it is taught with multi-sensory techniques (see it, hear it, say it, write it).
• Basic information about the structure of English spelling can be taught quickly with fast (4 weeks) “explicit”* phonics by tying the shapes and forms of 26 letters to the 45 elementary sounds (those which cannot be further divided) of English speech first graders already know and use in their 4,000 to 24,000 word oral, comprehensible vocabularies as they enter first grade (Chall, Seashore, Flesch).
• Spelling can be effectively taught and established in long term memory using a Socratic multi-sensory and direct dictation process. “The word is ‘me’.” (teacher uses “me” in a sentence) “What is the first sound you hear in ‘me’?” Children answer “m” and are instructed to write the symbol they’ve been taught for that sound. “What is the next sound you hear in ‘me’?” (this time stressing the “ē”) Children answer “ē”. “Which “e” will we use?” (By the 3rd week, they’ve been taught 3 ways to spell “ē”: /ē/, /ēē/, and /ea/ as in beat, breed, beak.) This process prepares them to put their considerable oral language on paper and it teaches them the way they must think to spell from the sounds of the words they already comprehend, thus both phonemic and graphemic awareness are taught just the way they are used for reading, writing and spelling. Correct spelling “maps” accurately to standard book print for reading, whereas incorrect spelling places incorrect engrams on the brain using the strongest modality for learning – writing.
• 47 spelling, plural, syllabication, apostrophe and capitalization rules are applied and taught with six words per day, along with a simplified diacritical system. Thirty words are tested by the 6th day, and every day thereafter dropping the oldest six and adding the newest six daily.
• Words are appropriately used in oral and then written sentences, which become a beginner’s first “in context” reading, as well as “models” for sentence analysis, punctuation, etc.
• A reference notebook or graphic organizer wall charts are used to define and illustrate all major concepts; they are used by students for study, doing homework, informing parents and correcting their own work.
• No workbooks are necessary to teach a program covering listening, speaking, initial letter formation, complete phonics, spelling, composition, reading, comprehension, vocabulary development, grammar/syntax, analytical and inferential thinking, plus cognitive
developmental sub-skills in discrimination, association, attention, memory and closure in four areas of the brain: auditory, visual, verbal and motor.
*Sound/symbol relationships are taught in isolation without words, pictures or letter names. (“Becoming a Nation of Readers, 1985)
© Riggs Institute