Spellings - help me help my Yr 3 child, very behind

(24 Posts)
Sellotapewillfixit Wed 07-Sep-16 15:38:26

DC is nearly 8, average or slightly better than average reader, but an appalling speller. Last year school gave 10 spellings per week to learn and DC got 9s amd 10s every week after we practised lots BUT what we didn't realise was this was all going into short term memory each week and there is NO retention. End of year report said need to work on spellings. So we did over the summer. Pretty much every day. But had to work on the same 20 or so words, as took ages to learn each one. And we are talking basic words like there, their, better, please, people, (basically anything not phonetic).

Am awaiting a call from school. But what on earth can I do? I don't know whether it is an 'attitude to work/attention' problem (tends not to want to work at anything to difficult), an ability problem (but is fine in most other areas) or a specific issue like dyslexia.

HELP!

Should add this is becoming a real issue as DC now does not want to write long pieces of work as they know that the spellings will get picked to pieces, and also they find it tricky to concentrate on spellings at the same time as imaginative writing.

irvineoneohone Wed 07-Sep-16 15:59:34

I am not a teacher, just a parent. So please ignore me if it's not relevant.

My ds is great speller, he is very secure with phonics, reads lots of books, and also he loves to watch TV/you tube with subtitles. When he was younger, he loved common words posters, so I hanged it up where he can see it all the time.
When he learns new spelling, he always breaks down words in segments to learn it. If he makes mistakes, I ask him randomly to spell it again.
Those common words should be in long term memory if she sees/reads/ writes enough times.
But I think ultimate answer for good spelling for NT child is lots of reading.

irvineoneohone Wed 07-Sep-16 16:13:48

mrnussbaum.com/spellingcentral/

www.topmarks.co.uk/Search.aspx?q=spelling

uk.ixl.com/search?q=spelling

Coconut0il Wed 07-Sep-16 16:23:12

I would speak to his teacher about the effect that picking out the spelling errors is having. I'm a TA and in a piece of writing I wouldn't correct more than 3 words.
He needs to be provided with word mats and key vocab at school to help him.

I find little and often works best, even focusing on just 3 words a week. Magnetic letters on the fridge, writing in shaving foam, using markers, writing with water on walls, foam letters in the bath? Mnemonics so for people People Eat Omlettes, People Like Eggs. Because, Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants. Come back to the same words every now and again.

mrz Wed 07-Sep-16 19:56:38

"*And we are talking basic words like there, their, better, please, people, (basically anything not phonetic).*"

Sorry but they are phonetic.
Has he been taught the different ways a sound can be spelt?
The sound /air/ can be spelt as in chair, dare, bear, there, their, aeroplane, mayor, prayer.

There and their are homophones so it adds an extra complication in that he has to remember which spelling for /air/ to use.

eo is an alternative spelling for the sound /ee/ in people

Sleeperandthespindle Wed 07-Sep-16 21:05:09

Sorry to jump in on the thread, but my DD is having similar difficulties with spelling. She is y3 too and just 7. She has a diagnosis of dyslexia, with particular difficulties in phonological awareness.

Mrz, how would you address this problem with a child of this age who hasn't necessarily been taught phonics well up to this point? I need to meet with school next week and want to express my concerns about weekly spelling tests and comments to 'check your spellings' on written work, with no support given around how to 'check spellings'. My DD has also been told at school that if she read more, she would be able to spell better. She is, despite great difficulties, a good and expressive reader and has listened to stories every day since she was born.

Dragongirl10 Wed 07-Sep-16 21:30:28

l can highly reccomend the book Word wasp.

DullUserName Wed 07-Sep-16 22:27:10

First thought - dyslexia?

Next thought - I've had success with using mnemonics and cues for many common homophones.
Eg
The 'place' words have here in: there & where.

Colour Of Light Opens Up Rainbows

People Eat Omelettes, People Like Eggs

mrz Thu 08-Sep-16 05:53:16

I'd want to know if she can blend, segmented manipulate sounds within words aurally as a first step.
Can she blend compound word - if you said butter (pause) fly could she hear butterfly - lady (p) bird etc
Then syllables com plete - un for tune ate ly single sounds ..
I'd also want to know which sounds she knows.

mrz Thu 08-Sep-16 05:53:48

http://literacyblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/linguistic-phonics-practical-example.html

Sleeperandthespindle Thu 08-Sep-16 06:04:24

Thanks mrz. We have that information from the ed psych report, but school haven't shown any interest in it. She knows all sounds in isolation, struggles with identifying individual sounds within words. She can blend compound words. I don't think she understands syllables.

jennielou75 Thu 08-Sep-16 06:09:41

Maybe try the multi sensory approach? Focuc on max three words a day at first. Write the word at the top of the page. Then child copies it as quickly as they can but they have to say/shout the word each time they write it. The idea is their hand learns the movement of the word as they see and hear it said. The next time they want to use it if they say the word that can trigger the visual or physical memory. Not certain but worth a try.

jennielou75 Thu 08-Sep-16 06:11:50

Oh and give them a time limit say 1/2 minutes with a timer and repeat over 5 days trying to beat their record each day.

mrz Thu 08-Sep-16 06:15:14

At this point I would say the syllables to check that she can hear the whole word before checking to hear if she can hear the word if I say the sounds. If she can blend aurally I would then check to see if she can segment compound words ...if I say football can she say foot ...ball I say rainbow can she say rain ...bow. I'd work on clapping syllables starting with my name her name names of things around the house tel i viz on kett l car pet etc

Sleeperandthespindle Thu 08-Sep-16 06:52:09

Thanks. How would you be meeting this child's needs in school, mrz?

LugsTheDog Thu 08-Sep-16 10:34:19

ooh interesting. My DH just cannot get syllables either. He has tried for years and years. He wonders if it's to do with being tone deaf.

Do you know what sort of learning works best for her? Eg if she needs to hear things to remember them, spelling the words out loud or even recording them on an ordinary voice recorder app might help, or get her to say the letters as she types them into a spelling app. I'm sure you've tried spelling apps already. Ours is Squeebles and DC like it enough to go back to revise old lists, just to earn the points to play the game part.

I am sure this thing about reading fixing spelling works for some, but I do wonder if it's mainly for visual learners. My DD picks up whole song lyrics and verbatim passages of text in the blink of an eye but it doesn't translate into spellings. I think when she reads books she "hears" them in her head rather than taking any notice of how the words look on the page IYSWIM.

mrz Thu 08-Sep-16 18:51:33

I'd begin by thoroughly assessing what the child knows and us able to do already so that I could plan to met their specific needs.

I'd encourage them to say the sounds as they write them (motor memory does help with automatic spelling). I'd encourage them to think of other words they do know and can spell containing the same sound/spelling representations. Being able to break words into syllables is important (most of us as adults do this without thinking) so if this is a problem I'd spend time working on syllables.

At my school staff tend to work with small groups at lunch times so any intervention is in addition to good classroom teaching not a substitute as I'm very anti withdrawal (but this relies on staff goodwill)

Apples and Pears program is better than word wasp for primary children IMHO but that's personal preference

mrz Thu 08-Sep-16 18:53:57

I'd begin by thoroughly assessing what the child knows and us able to do already so that I could plan to met their specific needs.

I'd encourage them to say the sounds as they write them (motor memory does help with automatic spelling). I'd encourage them to think of other words they do know and can spell containing the same sound/spelling representations. Being able to break words into syllables is important (most of us as adults do this without thinking) so if this is a problem I'd spend time working on syllables.

At my school staff tend to work with small groups at lunch times so any intervention is in addition to good classroom teaching not a substitute as I'm very anti withdrawal (but this relies on staff goodwill)

Apples and Pears program is better than word wasp for primary children IMHO but that's personal preference

Sellotapewillfixit Thu 08-Sep-16 23:07:03

Thanks v much everyone. Will have a look at the links later. Mrz, yes, I can see that the examples I gave are phonetic, and he would have no problem reading them (people I am fairly sure he would know the word rather than sound and blend though). What I was trying to say was that he probably only has one or two phonetic 'tools' for each sound, and I have no idea how to help him build that up.

Take 'They'. He can read it no problem. If you asked him how to spell it he would say 'thay'. After about a week of getting him to spell it every day he would remember 'they' for about a week if I was lucky, but only if asked to spell the word on its own. In a sentence he would still put 'thay'. And I just don't know how to get him to 1) recognise it is wrong and 2) give him the tools to try to connect it.

Sellotapewillfixit Fri 09-Sep-16 13:24:12

Apples and Pears looks good. Do I buy the workbooks and the teachers notes?

mrz Fri 09-Sep-16 16:27:01

Has he been taught that <ey> is a spelling for the sound /ae/? They, grey, prey, obey, survey etc

Sellotapewillfixit Fri 09-Sep-16 19:12:23

Good question! I don't remember that being a feature of his spellings last year actually. But he has, for example, done -le, -el, -il, but might very easily spell little either littel or littul. He seems to think in very short phonic blocks, so l-i-t-u-l rather than l-itt-le. And have only one phonic 'tool' for each sound (when spelling).

mrz Fri 09-Sep-16 19:57:52

It's not uncommon for schools to teach one spelling for each sound and expect children to pick up the alternatives. Unfortunately English is complex and it shouldn't be left to chance.

Anniez9 Wed 14-Sep-16 22:29:27

Spelling Zappers could be really effective and motivational here. Done properly they can help boost a child's confidence with spelling.

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