how to help a 3rd grader improve her spellings? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 03-24-2011, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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. 


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#2 of 22 Old 03-24-2011, 05:35 PM
 
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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!

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#3 of 22 Old 03-25-2011, 09:31 PM
 
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Reading.    SEEing correctly spelled words is the best way to learn spelling.  


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#4 of 22 Old 03-25-2011, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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. 
 

 


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#5 of 22 Old 03-27-2011, 05:49 AM
 
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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.    

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#6 of 22 Old 03-27-2011, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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. 


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#7 of 22 Old 03-27-2011, 04:55 PM
 
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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.  

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#8 of 22 Old 03-27-2011, 05:02 PM
 
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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.  

 


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#9 of 22 Old 03-27-2011, 10:33 PM
 
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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.

 


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#10 of 22 Old 03-30-2011, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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. 


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#11 of 22 Old 04-01-2011, 03:29 PM
 
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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.

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#12 of 22 Old 04-02-2011, 07:01 PM
 
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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.

A mother of a child with learning difficulties and a teacher by profession.
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#13 of 22 Old 04-02-2011, 07:43 PM
 
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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.
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#14 of 22 Old 04-05-2011, 09:38 AM
 
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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?
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#15 of 22 Old 04-05-2011, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
 


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#16 of 22 Old 04-05-2011, 03:40 PM
 
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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.
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#17 of 22 Old 10-26-2011, 12:56 PM
 
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My daughter reads abover her level and also struggles with spelling, it doesn't make sense to me.....

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#18 of 22 Old 10-26-2011, 09:38 PM
 
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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.
 

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#19 of 22 Old 10-27-2011, 07:06 AM
 
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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.

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#20 of 22 Old 10-28-2011, 03:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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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#21 of 22 Old 10-28-2011, 05:22 AM
 
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To me it seems as your daughter is really having two problems: one is that she is far too impatient, and want to get done with things and therefore rush through her words in order to be done with it. The second is that she is always under pressure when she writes anything at all. This means that writing is not fun, it is a task that she performs because she is asked to, and a task on top of that which she always gets wrong. Which definitely is no fun.

 

So, to begin with, I would concentrate on finding word/spelling games that she really can't fail to give her some confidence in her own spelling skills. For example "complete the word" games. They were really helpful in my family, when we were learning English (which is our second language).

 

The game is really simple. For the first task, write down words that all have the same ending on a piece of paper (this is your key). Then, write down the words with letters missing, substituting the missing letter with a line. Then read the words to your daughter and have her write them. Choose simple words to begin with like right, night, sight, light, bright, tight etc. Words with patterns to them.

 

Since she is a whole word reader, this "complete the word" game is very helpful to make her make the connection between pronunciation and spelling, at the same time as it allows her to practise recognising words on the paper.

 

Another helpful game is "jumbled words". Read through some of her writing tasks, and pick words that she usually jumbles up. Choose the ten most common, and write down her spelling on a piece of paper. Then write down the correct spelling on the reverse side. Hand her the paper before you start cooking, for example, and ask her if she can figure out how the words are supposed to be spelled before dinner. Giving her the key (telling her there is a key on the backside) will allow her to correct herself. To not be judged in case she just can't figure a word out. To correct it herself, without any pressure.

 

I really think the key to improving your daughter's spelling is to take away the pressure. Give her a fun workbook, that she can work on before dinner, with word games and let her have access to the key (I frequently cheated my way through my workbooks as a kid...but really that is also a way of learning, since I saw the correct spelling/grammatical form and had to fill it in to finish the task).

 

Though...in my case, the best thing that ever happened to me was being given my own computer, with a word processor. Unlike your daughter I loved writing (and still do), and with the help of the spell check (and a dictionary when I was convinced my spelling was right) I made very quick progress.

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#22 of 22 Old 10-28-2011, 05:45 AM
 
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we clap them out and make up a cheer or chant for them.  DD1 is a great speller but DD2 needs help.  In the car we keep our words that need to be memorized under a seat and DD1 will start a cheer for the word and DD2 will usually know them all by the end of the car ride.  We look ridiculous but we make it into a game and will pretty much do it everywhere.  DD2 will look for her words in the grocery store or books.  This has helped her tremendously. 

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