not homeschooling, but need help teaching him spelling. - Mothering Forums
Learning at Home and Beyond > not homeschooling, but need help teaching him spelling.
sleepies's Avatar sleepies 06:15 PM 12-14-2001

i don't homeschool, but i do try to spend a few hours on weekends working with my son on spelling.

he has an awful time with vowels. he always wants to use the wrong ones.

can you recommend a good book? or advice me on how to teach him the different sounds?

a big problem is that he has a bit of a "southern accent" and so we don't pronounce the words the way they are spelled.

So, i need advice.


Linda in Arizona's Avatar Linda in Arizona 01:10 AM 12-15-2001
how old is your son?
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 03:36 PM 12-15-2001
I don't know how old your son is but here are some things that helped me. (my challeges toward spelling were living in the south and having to deal with heavy southern accents, and deslexia)

First if you think there is even a chance that your son has dexlexia have him checked. Some of the things that clued people in for me was bad spelling, I did ok on math worksheets but couldn't copy problemms out of the book, horrible handwriting, and a commplete inabillity to sight read. Finally my freshmen year in collage within a few days of working with my professor, he cought it. I had learned to get by well enough because of the help given by computer so there wasn't anything I needed t o do but it sure explained a lot. It probably isn't that biut just in case you wouldn't want to miss it.

Microsoft office. It catches misspelled words and repeat words and has done more for my spelling than all the drilling in the world. It catches misspellings right away and after I saw what word, letter combinations were a problem for me it was easy to correct them myself. It is amazing how small amounts of applied stuff can go a lot further than drilling. This is how my 12th grade grammer teacher did , well, grammer (imagine that) and I also saw it work in a 2nd grade class. Crecting two sentences a day improved my grammer 100 percent. Maybe you could givre him his spelling words mispelled and ask him to correct them. A different approach is maybe all he needs.

good luck
sleepies's Avatar sleepies 11:57 PM 12-16-2001
Thank you. Those are great suggestions, and we plan to start implementing all of them actually next Friday night.

He is going to be 9 years old on Christmas.

I think a lot of his problem is in ponunciation. We have a weird accent here in the midwest and a lot of the vowel sounds are alike.

I'll take your advice. It sounds good to me.
Linda in Arizona's Avatar Linda in Arizona 05:30 PM 12-18-2001
Spelling was the only subject in school that was hard for me. Everything else was easy, and spelling was impossible!

I know what you mean about pronunciation. Besides the regional issue, American English is less phonetic than British English. In multi-syllable words, the Brits still pronounce most of the vowels, while we Americans turn most unstressed vowels sounds into a short u sound. For example, "renaissance" has a "u" sound in the middle in American English, but is pronounced "ren A ssance" in British English.

If you want to buy a spelling program, I've heard really good things about Spelling Power, which is available from several homeschooling companies. It is for grade 3 and up.

Some other spelling ideas:

Use your child's misspelled words as the basis of their spelling lists. Create lists based on the spelling problems your child has by collecting several words that have the troublesome sound or spelling and teaching the words together.

Have your child make his own spelling dictionary by using a small notepad and make 1 page for each letter (perhaps a separate page for the diphthongs wh, sh, ch, th.) Then have your child add new words to the dictionary when he misspells a word or asks how it is spelled.

Dictate a few (3-5) of your child's spelling gremlins without giving him the opportunity to study them first, then let him correct her words by looking at your list. Flip the paper over and do the exact same words again.

When your child misspells a word, have him look at the model to see the difference and correct his writing.

What ever you do, try to keep it fun.
Ryan's Avatar Ryan 08:07 PM 12-18-2001
OK, this might be way off because I've never used this but, I have heard that the Spalding method is great for teaching spelling. It may be too remedial for your son. I know I have checked on the Writing Road to Reading, which looks great. I am planning on using that once we finish our current program (in a couple months) because it's supposed to be great for helping with spelling issues in the English language. Of course, my dd is only 5 1/2 so I have no idea how useful it would be for your son. I suppose it's worth checking out the Spalding method though. They might have more advanced stuff too. Good luck.
Linda in Arizona's Avatar Linda in Arizona 09:17 PM 12-18-2001
what's the spalding method?
Ryan's Avatar Ryan 11:06 PM 12-18-2001
Can't remember where I first heard about it but here is the link to the "writing road to reading" book ( which uses the spalding method. The reviewers give you some information. Since I haven't used it yet I can't give you a great description but I've heard from several people that it worked well with their children. I'll be using it once we finish "100 EZ", which will be soon : )
Leslie in MD's Avatar Leslie in MD 08:56 PM 12-19-2001
Sleepies, one of the best ways to create a good speller is to have them do lots of copy work. You can copy anything! We use the Bible sometimes, or books about history or science that we are reading, or children's poetry. This not only promotes a good speller, you'll have yourself a child good in grammar to boot! Copy work allows a child to practice correct spelling and punctuation by simply copying something else that is well written. Later, when you've seen some improvment, around 3rd grade you can move on to dictation, where you would read a sentence at a time from a book of your choice and have your child try to write down the sentence with the correct spelling and punctuation. Keep track of misspelled words. Spelling is an important issue. Unfortunately, people may judge an adult's intelligence by their ability to spell. Unfofortunate, but true. Being able to write correctly is really important! Hope this helps. You're a great Mom for starting to address this problem now. Good luck!
Leslie in MD, board moderator
Linda in Arizona's Avatar Linda in Arizona 10:33 PM 12-19-2001

how old were your kids when you started copy work and how much did you work on basic penmenship first?
cynthia mosher's Avatar cynthia mosher 06:59 PM 12-23-2001
I'd suggest word search puzzles. My daughter has been doing these for a few years now and I think it has helped her become the good speller that she is though she's only 7.

dandelion's Avatar dandelion 07:10 PM 12-23-2001
Reading, reading, reading! Most of the good spellers I know are avid readers. Through constant reading, they just pick up the spelling. It works well especially with vowels.

-An unschooler -- can you tell?
Linda in Arizona's Avatar Linda in Arizona 08:38 PM 12-23-2001
Reading doesn't work for everybody!!

I'm an avid reader and a horrid speller
Alexander's Avatar Alexander 04:38 PM 12-28-2001
Originally posted by dandelion
Reading, reading, reading! Most of the good spellers I know are avid readers. Through constant reading, they just pick up the spelling. It works well especially with vowels.
-An unschooler -- can you tell?
On the whole this provides a good base, though it often requires back-up.

Great insite from Linda in Arizona, and being English w, (one who speaks with all those A s), and who teaches kids, yes, you've guessed it, spelling, I would say that his willingness is the essential ingredient.

Hope this helps