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how to help a 3rd grader improve her spellings?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

dd is in 3rd grade and struggles with spelling.

 

how do i help her get better at them?

 

any suggestions?

 

we play scrabble at home (not for spellings but just coz we enjoy the game).

 

ETA: she hates writing. her natural instinct is guessing as she is a whole language learner. i have to find unique ways of making her to try to spell new words. 

post #2 of 22

I'll be watching this for ideas as we are having LOTS of spelling trouble with my also 3rd grade dd, who just never got the phonics thing at all.  And her handwritting is terrible too, so sometimes when it is spelled right, you cant tell!

post #3 of 22

Reading.    SEEing correctly spelled words is the best way to learn spelling.  

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobandjess99 View Post

Reading.    SEEing correctly spelled words is the best way to learn spelling.  

wish that was true in our case. we should have had a champion speller. but that aint doing it for her. 
 

 

post #5 of 22

Maybe try having her write the word with her finger before trying it with her pencil on paper. It might change the task for her and help her visualize what the word should look like.  When she is not doing  a spelling test, can she have a list of regularly used words at her desk to refer to?  This would help her start checking her own writing and get better at learning the words by seeing them more in the writing context.

 

Is she good with phonetics or is she a whole word reader?  In my experience, whole word readers struggle to spell even at the college level.  For instance, when I cover a new term like chiaroscuro with my students, at least phonetic readers can spell out keyaroskuro to get points because it would sound the same if they said it in a conversation and they could google it to get the proper spelling.  My whole word readers, who do not know the word will put together random syllables which are unrelated because they have not visually memorized the pattern of the word.    

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 

yup that's why i am asking. dd is a whole word reader and i dont know how to help her with her spellings. if i force her to break up the word in syllables and then spell it phonetically she can get pretty close Ilike you pointed out) by also rememebering the grammar rules. that is too much work for her on her own. she just takes pot shots and spells it how she thinks its spelt. 

post #7 of 22

One time I was talking to a friend from high school and she was telling me how this tutor that her dd worked with was having her spell words in sand or shaving cream with her fingers.  I thought it was weird, but when ds went to OT, they start using the same techniques.  Sometimes, the eye or brain to the hand message gets blocked, and trying to send it a different route can help make sense of it.  This is not practical at school, so that is why I recommend just drawing it with a finger to visualize and practice before actually writing.   Scrabble and Bananagrams are both good games, and you can even just play with the tiles to make words.  Some other things you might try would be chalk on a chalk board or even typing on the computer. Memory with words instead of pictures. For your dd, it may be a matter of memorizing the words many words, too, so that when she sees them, they look right.  

 

Another thought, for a while, when she is reading, maybe have her annunciate the syllables of what she is reading, so that it becomes easier to decode with phonetics.  She will already know the word she is reading, but maybe it will help her reverse the idea into spelling.  Hopefully, it is not too mundane of a task, though.  

post #8 of 22

For us it is practice, practice, practice.  I try to keep it fun.

 

Do you do electronics at all?  The following games/apps have really improved my third graders spelling:

 

scribblenauts

bookworm

words with friends

word scramble

 

In addition to Scrabble you could also try

Smart Mouth

Words on my Mind

Bananagrams

Quiddler

 

 

We also keep a white board at the dinner table (where he does homework) and its a much easier and less frustrating way to practice rather than using paper/erasers.  

 

post #9 of 22

Bookworm Adventures Deluxe by Popcap games. It's a great computer game where you spell words to defeat your opponents. The longer the word, the more powerful you become and the more extra fun jewels you earn. It only accepts correctly spelled words (and a pretty tame vocabulary). Because you get extra points for spelling longer words, it teaches kids to look for patterns. -ing, -er, plurals, etc. Ds spent a lot of 2nd grade playing this and I think it helped his spelling a lot. Dd is more of a whole word speller (but only in 1st grade), and I'm going to get her playing next year.

 

Bananagrams

Quiddler

Scrabble

 

Learning via games is a lot more fun.

 

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

thank you so much for all those links. that's exactly what i've been looking for. 

 

i forgot she already has scribblenauts. 

 

now she is loving bookworm. that child is always looking for patterns and so these games helps her see that easily. 

post #11 of 22

In my case the only answer was rote memorization. I wish my mom had made me do more of it because I still spell poorly today.

post #12 of 22
Spelling is very difficult for lots of students. When studying a list of spelling words, try to group them by finding something they have in common. eg., put all the -ight words together or words that start with the same group of letters str-, etc. Use scrabble tiles, ketchup in a ziplock bag, a white board to write the word in big letters, etc. to practice spelling words.
post #13 of 22
Hello from a fellow whole-word reader here wave.gif. I think that avid early readers often learn words in this way. I am now an adult high school teacher with a master's degree and 10+ years of college under my belt and I still can't spell. So learning strategies aside I think its important for her to know that not being able to easily master this skill is no reflection on her intelligence nor on the effort she puts forth (contrary to what many, many English teachers in my life have believed).

Thank goodness for spell check.

One thing that has helped me is to learn the origins or roots of words that just don't stick in my brain. If I know why they are spelled the way that they are it helps me out tremendously. Taking Latin helped with this too. I suck at Latin (perhaps for the same reason I suck at English) but learning it really helped my spelling lol.
post #14 of 22
I agree with the above comments about just reading to her a LOT! Seeing correctly spelled words should help, especially since she's a whole word learner. She'll likely remember the way the word looks when it's correctly spelled.

What does her teacher say about it?
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MomtoDandJ View Post

I agree with the above comments about just reading to her a LOT! Seeing correctly spelled words should help, especially since she's a whole word learner. She'll likely remember the way the word looks when it's correctly spelled.

What does her teacher say about it?


see to a whole language reader reading a lot does really nothing for spelling. i dont read to dd anymore. its way too intense for me. at the end of a long day it puts me to sleep. however she reads a LOT. she has great vocab. what dd does is she skips the word or assumes it is what she thinks it is. and usually she gets the main meaning so she never goes to read the word.

 

her teacher says that dd's spellings are holding her back. she does do the challenge stuff but she cant go to a more challenging grade if her spellings dont improve. teacher is trying out new way of doing spelling words. i think that is helping a tiny bit. however dd hurries through and even spells out words incorrectly and doesnt catch the mistake. the problem is she doesnt spell out things phonetically and she refuses to do that. if she did that this wouldnt be a problem at all.

 

but dd does not want to go look in the dictionary or stop what she is doing. sometimes i make her read to me and then i will point out her mistakes. instead of reading to her i let her read it a few times s-l-o-w-l-y so she can pronounce it correctly.

 

we are now playing the find pattern games. am going to see how strong dd's auditory sense is. she gets that a long word is usually made up of a bunch of little words.

 

word meaning - finding the root - has been helping me learn my spanish a lot. i think its going to be a good strategy for dd too. when we find the time.
 

post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post




see to a whole language reader reading a lot does really nothing for spelling. i dont read to dd anymore. its way too intense for me. at the end of a long day it puts me to sleep. however she reads a LOT. she has great vocab. what dd does is she skips the word or assumes it is what she thinks it is. and usually she gets the main meaning so she never goes to read the word.

 

her teacher says that dd's spellings are holding her back. she does do the challenge stuff but she cant go to a more challenging grade if her spellings dont improve. teacher is trying out new way of doing spelling words. i think that is helping a tiny bit. however dd hurries through and even spells out words incorrectly and doesnt catch the mistake. the problem is she doesnt spell out things phonetically and she refuses to do that. if she did that this wouldnt be a problem at all.

 

but dd does not want to go look in the dictionary or stop what she is doing. sometimes i make her read to me and then i will point out her mistakes. instead of reading to her i let her read it a few times s-l-o-w-l-y so she can pronounce it correctly.

 

we are now playing the find pattern games. am going to see how strong dd's auditory sense is. she gets that a long word is usually made up of a bunch of little words.

 

word meaning - finding the root - has been helping me learn my spanish a lot. i think its going to be a good strategy for dd too. when we find the time.
 


Wait...what? The teacher is going to hold your DD back because of her spelling? What on earth is the logic there? Its the 21st century. As long as your DD can edit what she types her natural spelling ability is irrelevant.

Pronunciation is a whole 'nother ball of wax though. I've had some pretty embarrassing situations pronouncing words I had only seen in print.
post #17 of 22

My daughter reads abover her level and also struggles with spelling, it doesn't make sense to me.....

post #18 of 22

I'm a PhD candidate in literacy, language, and writing, and I've taught reading and writing for many years at elementary through graduate levels, and I agree with this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post

Hello from a fellow whole-word reader here wave.gif. I think that avid early readers often learn words in this way. I am now an adult high school teacher with a master's degree and 10+ years of college under my belt and I still can't spell. So learning strategies aside I think its important for her to know that not being able to easily master this skill is no reflection on her intelligence nor on the effort she puts forth (contrary to what many, many English teachers in my life have believed).
Thank goodness for spell check.
One thing that has helped me is to learn the origins or roots of words that just don't stick in my brain. If I know why they are spelled the way that they are it helps me out tremendously. Taking Latin helped with this too. I suck at Latin (perhaps for the same reason I suck at English) but learning it really helped my spelling lol.

 

 

And to add to that, I think we actually place far too much emphasis on spelling and grammar -- testing for spelling and grammar out of context just doesn't make much sense to me.  I see the detrimental impact of this in high school and college writers when their writing efficacy is so low because they are so worried about making a spelling/grammatical mistakes that they freeze up and can't write.  IMO, and this is backed by literature in writing development, while spelling may be important to establish credibility and in final presentation of formal, written documents, it definitely shouldn't be the focus of learning to read/write.  As Chamomile said, I know many, many very intelligent people who are great readers and writers, but are poor spellers.  I make many spelling mistakes routinely, and I still consider myself a good writer.  More important than spelling is being able to convey, understand, and critique messages, and spelling is a very minor part of this.  

 
When I teach 3rd and 4th grade writing for talented and gifted students in the summers, nearly every kid I teach already has some sort of anxiety about writing -- they constantly are erasing their ideas because they think they have spelled something wrong, or interrupting their thinking to raise their hand to ask how something is spelled. If this were my daughter, I would allow her to make the mistakes, particularly in the drafting stage -- you might just get her into a routine of writing several drafts of things.  On the first draft you could say to her that you can use this draft to just get your ideas down, it doesn't matter how things are spelled or if you're using capitals, commas, or periods in the right way, just get your ideas down on paper.  Then, on the next draft, you could encourage her to look more closely at the spelling, using a dictionary, spell check, etc. to find one or two words that need to be fixed.  I'd just encourage you again to be gentle with it, because writing is something that people are often very sensitive about and experiences with writing as young children can really impact the way we see ourselves as writers into adulthood.
 
 
ETA: This is absolutely not right that the teacher would consider holding your daughter back because of spelling.  PM me if you want -- I'm happy to help you put together a case against this.
 
post #19 of 22

Thanks for the timely topic. My 3rd grader is a terrible speller (with pretty bad handwriting to boot!). We actually have a meeting with the teacher next week about it. DS is pretty certainly at least slightly dyslexic and we're in the midst of the long and irritating process of getting him fully evaluated and an actual diagnosis. It's good to hear everyone's stories.

post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 

oh mama's. thanks for your concern.

 

i am sorry by my wording. i meant holding back from differentiating. not retaining her in the grade. and no the teacher did not do that. 

 

moonstone those are the two things my dd struggles most with. she finds writing tedious and reviewing even more so. she constantly gets things wrong because she refuses to review. she does as little writing as possible. 

 

we however found a complicated way of doing things. she knows her spanish vowels by helping me with my homework. so she pays special attention to spelling by pronouncing the word in spanish. weird. but it seems to work for her.

 

a friend of mine with dyslexia is helping dd see patterns in words and that is helping dd too. 

 

Dariusmom - dd's spelling improved just this year. it was terrible in 3rd grade. her cursive is still terrible even now .

 

 

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