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Ridiculously poor spelling in my 12yo... Thoughts/input please - Page 2

post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
One name for you...

Neils Bohr.
He is considered one of the most influential doctors of modern physics. He was such a poor writer that he wrote drafts for writing letters to his friends. He dictated his dissertation to his mother to write down and had an assistant do most of his writing for him. He was also a genius and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
I'm sorry, but I just had to giggle when I read your post. You misspelled Niels. (And he won the Nobel Prize for Physics, not Peace).

I do think that spelling is important, not because of proof of intelligence, but the perception of intelligence. It has less impact today because of electronic spell check, but if someone is looking at you, just on paper, this is going to be one of the most important factors. TBH, there are some posts online that I almost cannot understand or even get through because of poor spelling and grammar.

Also, I work in a library, and it seems that there is a LOT of handwriting happening in this environment... and honestly, patrons do not want librarians that can't spell. It kind of ruins the confidence that we belong there and are a valid informational resource, IYKWIM. I think spelling and orthography are still very important and I'd try to find a good way to help your dd learn to spell better. JMO.
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I'm sorry, but I just had to giggle when I read your post. You misspelled Niels. (And he won the Nobel Prize for Physics, not Peace).

I do think that spelling is important, not because of proof of intelligence, but the perception of intelligence. It has less impact today because of electronic spell check, but if someone is looking at you, just on paper, this is going to be one of the most important factors. TBH, there are some posts online that I almost cannot understand or even get through because of poor spelling and grammar.

Also, I work in a library, and it seems that there is a LOT of handwriting happening in this environment... and honestly, patrons do not want librarians that can't spell. It kind of ruins the confidence that we belong there and are a valid informational resource, IYKWIM. I think spelling and orthography are still very important and I'd try to find a good way to help your dd learn to spell better. JMO.
Personally I think one of the problems with our culture is that we actually use spelling as a gage of intelligence whether we are saying it's "proof" or "perception". If someone is looking at your writing, just on paper, and judges your intelligence based solely on spelling and not the actual arguments you make, then I'd have to question their.

There is some evidence, mostly the fact that many of the smartest people in history had crap spelling, that the correlation between poor spelling and intelligence is a negative one. In other words, the worse your spelling, the smarter you are.
post #23 of 36
Thread Starter 
I agree... and I admit that my main reason for wanting to help her improve is because I do not want her to suffer for her spelling or to be perceived unintelligent because of it. I do not want her creative writing paper to get a failing grade because her teacher looked at it said- well, this is certainly engaging and well written but has misspelled words so you suck- well, I'm certain that it won't go exactly like that but ya know.... ;-)
post #24 of 36
Quote:
I think the reason I never focused much on spelling is that I've always been more focused on communicating at a high level than at perfection of language.
I sort of agree with this.

Dd and I both were dreadful spellers in grade school. We've talked about it. Both of us made a big developmental jump in high school and our spelling noticeably improved. Neither of us made some sort of conscious decision to focus on other aspects of communication, neither of us made a conscious decision to ignore spelling. That's just the way things settled.

I think our brains were by necessity focused on learning the more complex aspects of 'Language Arts' class. It is exactly like when our babies are going through a developmental jump, get grouchy and fussy and all of a sudden they're walking. They've been focusing on something important. Once walking is mastered they can go back to being smiley, happy babies. Until the next developmental jump.

To the OP, I agree that spelling matters. It does make an impression, to adults. But I think we can give a 12 y.o. some slack. Is it one more thing a mom should worry about? I don't think so. Maybe if your dd is 14 y.o. and her spelling still hasn't improved a bit. But really, what are you going to do about it? It may become more important to your daughter at some point, in which case she will put the effort into improving her spelling.

I agree with Musician Dad, it does seem as though plenty of brilliant people aren't particularly good spellers. There's room for all sorts.

I have a mental block on the word 'tomorrow'. I'll never spell it correctly.
post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Personally I think one of the problems with our culture is that we actually use spelling as a gage of intelligence whether we are saying it's "proof" or "perception". If someone is looking at your writing, just on paper, and judges your intelligence based solely on spelling and not the actual arguments you make, then I'd have to question their.

There is some evidence, mostly the fact that many of the smartest people in history had crap spelling, that the correlation between poor spelling and intelligence is a negative one. In other words, the worse your spelling, the smarter you are.
Sure, it would be great if it were not so. It is, though. Just as proper grammar when speaking is perceived a certain way. Choosing to operate outside of those cultural norms (and they're world-wide, not just North American), is one's choice. If it's your child, you can try to help improve spelling or teach them to live outside those perceived norms. It's a personal choice. That is, you can try to spell well or give up, but then don't be surprised when a person's initial impression is one of less intelligence than you may possess. It's kind of like starting off with a deficit and trying to catch up. It'd be great if people didn't make snap judgments, but unfortunately, they do... and it's probably not going to change.

There is no proven positive correlation between poor spelling and increased intelligence. It's anecdotal evidence at best and I doubt even that. My dh is profoundly gifted, probably the smartest man I've ever met in the flesh, and his English spelling is perfect. He's also not a native English speaker, so this was learned as an adult, not growing up.
post #26 of 36
So... Because other people make snap judgements we should cater to their view of the world? Some people work their ass off to improve their spelling and it doesn't work, they get so worried about not making spelling errors that they avoid using more difficult words in their writing and it stunts their written communication skills. They forget that getting your point across is more important than not making spelling mistakes.

My university level English professors felt the same way. They ask students to bring a dictionary into class for in class assignments and every one of them said it was because they wanted their students to say what they wanted to say without having the voice in their head holding them back by reminding them "you don't know how to spell that word". In the real world, the people that actually matter in the grand scheme of things like teachers or bosses, don't care if you used a dictionary or spell-check or asked your neighbours 4 year old to get the right spelling because they at least understand that it's not how well you can spell a word that makes you an intelligent and valuable member of the team.
post #27 of 36
I know so many successful people who are poor spellers. I think you need to teach her strategies to compensate for the poor spelling when you're not around--ie learning to use spell check, a dictionary, google, etc, to check herself when she knows she's having trouble, and leave it at that.
post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minky View Post
I know so many successful people who are poor spellers. I think you need to teach her strategies to compensate for the poor spelling when you're not around--ie learning to use spell check, a dictionary, google, etc, to check herself when she knows she's having trouble, and leave it at that.
Agreed.
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
So... Because other people make snap judgements we should cater to their view of the world?
Nope, that's my exact point. You can try to learn to spell better or learn to operate in the world where these perceptions exist. It's a choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minky View Post
I know so many successful people who are poor spellers. I think you need to teach her strategies to compensate for the poor spelling when you're not around--ie learning to use spell check, a dictionary, google, etc, to check herself when she knows she's having trouble, and leave it at that.
Yep, exactly. My mother is the world's worst speller. She keeps a dictionary on her table at all times and a compact one in her purse. In fact, my dd learned how to use a dictionary from her because she watched my mom use it so much. My mom *knows* she's never going to be a good speller and utilizes the tools available to help as much as possible.
post #30 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minky View Post
I know so many successful people who are poor spellers. I think you need to teach her strategies to compensate for the poor spelling when you're not around--ie learning to use spell check, a dictionary, google, etc, to check herself when she knows she's having trouble, and leave it at that.
We are on top of all of that...

I guess I initially had thought that this was a fairly uncommon issue, but now I see many other are letter challenged as well . Now I don't feel like I am failing her so much anymore. We have been teaching her more ABOUT words and how they are put together (prefixes, suffixes, roots etc...) because she *gets* that more because, like MusicianDad, we feel that the words themselves are more powerful than possible misspellings.
post #31 of 36
Quote:
we feel that the words themselves are more powerful than possible misspellings.
Yes!
post #32 of 36
My son, 11, is also a poor speller. However, he is taking Spanish this year and has homework on the computer, where he has to type the answer in Spanish correctly, including the accents. He's learning Spanish spelling fast because of the repetition and the instant feedback, and because the computer keeps giving you the same words until you spell them correctly several times. The first few lessons took over an hour each. Now he usualy finishes in 20 minutes or so.

Makes me think we should have had some sort of English spelling program like this: maybe the computer could "say" the word and the child could type it. Together with learning the "rules" of spelling (which are so funky in English!), this might have really helped.

We've settled into this with English spelling: as long as you can recognize when words don't look right, and will look them up in a dictionary for things you are going to hand in, I don't really care too much. He uses a small "word finder" dictionary in class--it just has the words, not definitions, so it is more compact and faster to look up words. Eventually he'll be typing most things and will be able to use spell check.
post #33 of 36
To the OP: my 12 year old sounds very much like your dd. I had her evaluated a couple of years ago and the doc found my dd had no phoenitical awareness- and she attended a school that taught phonics! Since my dd goes to a very traditional school, spelling is taught and graded. She can learn the words for the test, but she won't remember them later on.

One thing I have noticed is that her poor spelling is starting to affect her writing; she doesn't want to use words she can't spell, and this inhibits her expression of ideas. Not to mention her papers look positively awful before editing.

There is a program called FasttForWord that the doc recommended. I have noticed that many elementary schools are starting to use it with great results. DH was laid off, so the cost was prohibitive to us. We work with her quite a bit and many times I will have her dictate her papers to me and I will type them. If your dd is not bothered by it, then I would not be either. Mine is and so we work on it.

The doc did say my dd is a basic average student, which I have always known. But she is an incredible athlete with a strong work ethic. He also said that if she was in a different type of school, her 'problem" may not have really stood out. But she is in a school where all the kids do really well. 90% of the class getting 100s on tests is the norm. My dd loves her school, her teachers help us out, and her friends love studying with her, so we see no reason to change. We all have to adapt at times!
post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by its_betty View Post
He's learning Spanish spelling fast because of the repetition and the instant feedback, and because the computer keeps giving you the same words until you spell them correctly several times..
Spanish is a much more phonetic language, so spelling just makes so much more sense. My friend lives in a bilingual household and insists that her kids learn to read in English first. She says Spanish is a breeze afterward and she's afraid if they learn in Spanish first they will never want to work at English. LOL
post #35 of 36
Well, I am a horrid speller. I have gotten better over the years, though. And this is why. BECAUSE OF spell checkers.

I have found that if I turn off the "auto correct" and just type, it shows me all my mistakes. THEN, I go back and figure out the mistakes, what I did wrong, and how to do it correctly. I was amazed at how much it has helped my spelling. Before I began typing like this (and having instant "wrong" notices) I would make spelling mistakes at least each sentence.

Now, I find that I have paragraphs upon paragraphs at times with no mistakes at all. So, spell checkers are not such a bad thing after all, if they are used as an education tool.
post #36 of 36
Even though I was always an A student in English, I was and still am a horrible speller. I think in my case I did not have a good foundation. I went to very bad schools until middle school.

Also, now it has become more pronounced because I have learned several languages and lived abroad spending many years of my life with people who did not speak English as their first language. I am also the type of person who prefers to converse and understand rather than get all the spelling and grammar perfect.

Although I do not believe that education should be all about memorisation, I do think that repetition and drills are good for things like spelling and multiplication tables. I see that in my son. In 3rd and 4th grade they had spelling words every week. My own spelling improved just by going over the words with my son, writing them out and saying the letters out loud over and over again. I never did this type of thing as a kid! In 5th and 6th grade his teachers no longer had spelling quizzes and I see that he has not learned to spell new words properly.

So now in middle school we are back to going over a few words each day.
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