Is it the norm not to correct spelling in Reception?

(48 Posts)
Ilelo Tue 26-Feb-13 14:37:58

My DD1 enjoys writing and reading.

Her spelling is not great however, it is usually phonetically correct though e.g. writing watched as wochd. She isn't corrected by her teacher as they don't correct spelling in reception.

I do correct her at home and she tends not to forget as I would then do spelling work with her based on what she has written.

Is it the norm not to correct spelling in Reception and why not?

wakarimasen Tue 26-Feb-13 14:46:29

In the early years it's really important for children to develop skills for sounding out words. Letting them spell words phonetically helps confidence grow so that they are not afraid to have a go a writing words in the future. So many English words are not spelled phonetically at all and children can become bogged down with remembering complex spelling rules.
Spelling will be picked up on as your child's writing develops in the coming years....

learnandsay Tue 26-Feb-13 16:57:06

I don't know how everybody else does it but with my daughter I give her lots of praise for whatever she has written regardless of how she has written it, but I take a note of what mistakes she has made. And then when I see an opportunity, perhaps some weeks later, I point out the word in a notable context so that she can associate it with its correct spelling.

simpson Tue 26-Feb-13 17:08:34

DD 's spellings get corrected if the teacher thinks she already knows how to spell the word. Otherwise it is left.

She does have weekly spelling tests though.

Ilelo Thu 28-Feb-13 20:42:47

Thanks for the replies.

I do praise and encourage her effort but afterwards we go through what she hasn't spelt correctly. She's never been discouraged by being corrected, if anything, she's happy to learn the spelling and will write the word correctly next time she uses it.

As they don't do spelling tests in Reception in our school, I am inclined to continue but leave it if she seems discouraged.

Sommink Sun 03-Mar-13 23:48:42

my dds school don't correct in reception either (well not yet anyway) she had to draw a picture of something big, she drew a giraffe and decided she wanted to write it down as well, she wrote jaraf and the teachers were pleased that she had tried to write the word as well as draw the picture.

StanleyLambchop Wed 06-Mar-13 10:47:45

My DD's spelling was never corrected in reception & 1, they wanted to encourage the children to try and write, and so the content was more important than the spelling. They introduced spelling in Yr2 & in juniors she was tested on spellings every week. She is now a top spellar in Yr6, so I can't say that it has done her any harm really.

alsoaperson Wed 06-Mar-13 11:13:14

It's totally normal and it FREAKS ME OUT!!!
Apparently it's good for them. Also, they need to be able to read pretty well before you want to worry about spelling (i.e. Level 6 Biff,Chip books).
I have a blog on how to help your kids with spelling (and similar).

I got hold of this FAB book and my daughter (6-7) loves copying words out of it - she's obsessed with practising her handwriting and pink fineliners, so these interests combine really well! Bless her x

Oo - I also have stuff on how to help them with handwriting (free resources) if you want to take a peep:

alsoaperson Wed 06-Mar-13 11:13:55

Good luck!

beanandspud Wed 06-Mar-13 11:36:14

DS is in reception and his school is the same - I completely understand the reasoning but it just feels a bit uncomfortable for an old codger like myself

They do have a weekly spelling test so the words that they should know are corrected but the rest is left so that they get the flow of writing, sounding out words and gaining confidence.

On the wall at the moment is a piece of DS's writing which describes a "feeers dragon" and a "cassul" made out of "candeefloss". It makes me smile when I see it.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 06-Mar-13 13:06:15

DS1 is in Y1 and the teacher does not correct spelling in his homework diary. I am completely fine with it and have seen loads of improvement since reception. Like bean, I completely love reading through his diaries nd laughing at the spelling! I would rather he had the confidence to just go for it, rather than constantly worrying about spelling and interrupting his flow. They have spelling tests now though too and this has helped him learn loads of words.

My dd is in yr one. Her teacher said that if she went thru and corrected every mistake it would really discourage the children. As long as they can see that the phonics are being applied and you can understand what they have written then that's what's important right now. It does feel weird seeing work full of spelling mistakes but I do see what they mean. Imagine a child working hard on writing all about her dog or holiday only for it to come back covered in green pen. You can't encourage them to write if they r worried about spelling mistakes

learnandsay Wed 06-Mar-13 13:40:42

Surely it's a balance, though. Yes, you don't want to demoralise them and put them of writing, or make them afraid to try. But I've also heard of ten year olds who still write phonetic-spelling-gibberish. So somehow the children have got to be motivated to spell well and I'm guessing that the younger they're motivated the better. My 4yo thinks spelling well is a big deal and I'm glad she does. (She doesn't always spell well, but at least she tries.)

I always work on the basis that if my dd asks I will tell her. It's alot to Remenber though when for example ay/ai/a-e all make the same sound and they have to remember the right one, and that there are two words that sound the same (stair/stare) etc that they need to remember that too, it's alot for kids that were in nappies possibly a few months before and napping. They will by there with spelling and if by age ten it's not being corrected that is a problem. But a love of writing reading and imagining is more important for the first year or two I think .

learnandsay Wed 06-Mar-13 14:06:59

I think they need to learn the right spelling from the beginning otherwise they have to unlearn it and relearn it. The question is how do you teach them without putting them off?

No idea on that one smile I'm trusting my dds teacher who so far has been fab!

beanandspud Wed 06-Mar-13 14:28:24

I'm guessing that the balance is there in most cases and that it depends on the objectives of that particular lesson.

DS's reception class do writing in the morning, linked to phonics, and it is important that these have the correct spellings or it would be pretty pointless doing it. Equally, when the children are using some of those words in their creative writing sessions you would expect them to begin to get the right spelling.

In the afternoons they often do creative writing around their topic work - I would rather see a child trying find exciting, descriptive words to use even if they are written as "ferroshus", "feeers" and "huje" than sticking to 'It is big' just because they know how to spell it.

I'm quite shocked that they are doing spelling tests in some reception classes!

DD2 is in reception and is doing very well with reading, but all her spelling is phonetic and is never corrected by me or at school. DD1 is nearly 8, learnt the same way (with the same teacher) and now spells and writes beautifully. It just seems to happen naturally over the course of a couple of years.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 06-Mar-13 14:40:28

Can any of you remember what you were taught at four? Were all our spellings corrected? Or did it happen just like now and we are remembering what happened later re spelling correctly?

learnandsay Wed 06-Mar-13 14:41:26

I can remember learning to spell.

I was in reception 33 years ago. All I can remember is play. It was year 1 when we started getting word tins/easy books and definitely no spelling tests until year 2.

Jojay Wed 06-Mar-13 14:45:22

I think they don't want to put them off attempting words that they may not know how to spell - for example using 'nice' when 'beautiful' may be more appropriate, but they may get the spelling wrong initially.

At this stage, I let them get on with it, unless it's a high frequency word that they should know by now, or they specifically ask.

Ladyemem Wed 06-Mar-13 14:47:30

yes normal in our reception not to corredt.

Yes, phonetically plausible spellings aren't interfered with in Reception. They are trying to teach them phonics and phonetically speaking those are perfectly good ways to spell the words... just not the ones that the English language has standardised on. As their reading improves they will naturally spell more and more of the words correctly without anyone having to "correct" their early attempts, and then in KS1 the school can work on more deliberately improving their spelling.

DS is in Y3 at the same school, having gone through the same system, and his spelling is excellent.

Perhaps they do need to "learn the right spelling from the beginning", but I think by and large they only "learn" a spelling by decoding and reading a word multiple times. At the level they are at this stage in Reception they are exploring the fantastic idea that any word they have in their heads (many of which they'd never be able to read) can be encoded by them into symbols and written down so that it can be read by other people. If they start thinking that they have to "learn" a word before they can try to use it in written communication it's going to hamper their language use considerably.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 06-Mar-13 14:52:20

I can remember learning to spell. I can't remember when it started.

My ILs insist that every child was doing long division by the time they were six and it is just rubbish teaching that means all children are not doing the same now. I am a teacher and do not bother to correct them, it is pointless. I don't think that memories are to be totally relied up tbh. The amount of adults I meet who could read before they started school hmm

The phonic work my DS had in Reception taught him how to spell words. Cat, pin, etc. It is taught today, just not corrected in red pen in their writing.

CecilyP Wed 06-Mar-13 17:27:23

Can any of you remember what you were taught at four? Were all our spellings corrected? Or did it happen just like now and we are remembering what happened later re spelling correctly?

I wasn't taught anything literacy related when I was 4 because I, as with most people my age, did not start school till I was 5! Over 30% of children didn't start school until what is now Y1. In my one term in reception, I remember we used to 'write' our news, which meant drawing a picture then the teacher would lightly write a caption which we would trace over. In Y1 we did vast amounts of copying off the blackboard - nursery rhymes and short poems, that kind of thing. I have no recollection of the transition to independent writing, but we did have little dictionaries (like an address book)and could ask the teacher for the spelling of words we were unsure of. Classes were large, so I think many children spent a lot more time queuing than writing. I guess we must have done some basic phonics, but I don't really remember being taught spelling, although spelling was corrected in work. We never had spelling tests so did not learn 'spellings'.

Guessing I might be a similar age to your ILs, we were taught long division in what is now Y4, but this was in an A stream class in a high achieving primary school.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 06-Mar-13 17:37:55

That is interesting CecilyP - thanks. You have a good memory! I do remember copying from the blackboard but all my memories are from junior school rather than infant.

6 years is current Y1!

5-6 years is current Y1. Legally children born in April-August still don't have to start school until the start of Y1, just that now most of them in practice start at the beginning of Reception. I have a July birthday and started in Infant 1 in September when I'd just turned 5.

(I could read before I started school, by the way. My parents told my infant teacher that and she pulled the same hmm face as HumphreyCobbler. Then I read all the way through the Peter and Jane word grid that she used to assess reading level, and she took me up to Infant 3 to choose a reading book)

HumphreyCobbler Wed 06-Mar-13 19:15:11

I am not arguing that some children can read Tolliver (there were normally two or three in every intake), just that every single adult I know claims to have been able to read before they went to school. Hence my hmm face.

There are something like 200 graphemes in English. Reception learn a few at a time. I think it is unreasonable to correct them before they've learned the full set (presumably Y1).

We tend to say "that isn't how grown-ups spell it" if asked, but praise the process in the meantime.

IMHO good spelling comes mainly from reading, not drills.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 06-Mar-13 19:17:22

Sorry - I am not DENYING that some children can read

Yes, I got that... but I had been about to say something about being able to read before I started and then read your post with the hmm face so felt I had to acknowledge it... grin

I'm sure my teacher's own hmm face was down to hundreds of parents over the years telling her that Little Johnny could read and then her finding out that he couldn't, not really. But those same parents have probably raised Little Johnny in the belief that he could read before he started school and now he tells you all about it at dinner parties.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 06-Mar-13 19:24:37

Yes indeed, I think you must be right about that.

DH's reading got WORSE after he started school apparently grin

leroymerlin Wed 06-Mar-13 19:35:47

It's really interesting that spellings aren't corrected. As a secondary English teacher, (who has just returned, having been out of the classroom for a few years), I've really noticed large numbers of bright children who have spelling as an issue. Whilst this is nothing new, all the spellings are phonetically correct, so somewhere along the line 'relearning' spellings isn't happening.

mrz Wed 06-Mar-13 19:35:50

IMHO good spelling comes mainly from reading, not drills. Unfortunately IMHE lots of very good readers are poor spellers.

learnandsay Wed 06-Mar-13 19:41:35

It doesn't matter when people say they learned to read. But if people are talking about it at dinner parties you either need to go to different dinner parties or stop going to them altogether.

I didn't mean "reading makes you good at spelling". I meant "good spellers are avid readers". And by "good" I don't mean "competent" but "talented, effortless".

mrz Wed 06-Mar-13 20:05:07

I was just 4 when I started reception many decades ago and we did lots of reading and writing. My mum kept some of my first "news" books, which have a space for drawing and writing under.

Ilelo Fri 08-Mar-13 10:25:03

Thanks for the comments. I'm inclined to agree with learnandsay re why learn and unlearn but I understand the points about being able to write freely without worrying about spelling.

However, in my DD's case, she is on ORT 8. She's already learnt the different types of phonics (don't remember what they are called but e.g. up to 3/4 letters making 1 sound etc) but obviously doesn't know every word.

The teacher says her reading is above expected levels and I do appreciate she has other children who are at earlier stages of phonics hence easier to standardise and not correct anyone.

Given the above, should I be correcting her at home?

learnandsay Fri 08-Mar-13 12:47:33

Can you correct her spelling without spoiling her work or her enjoyment of the task? If you can then great, go for it. If it's going to put a downer on her whole effort then why not do what I do which is to leave the spelling as it is, temporarily, and then find an opportunity at some other time to discuss one or two of the words that she couldn't spell. Maybe talk about the word, what it looks like, what other words look and sound the way it does, why it looks as sounds the way it does, (if you know) and maybe point out a prominent example of the proper use and spelling of that word.

My daughter's school had some personality in the other day whose name and surname both had several tricky elements. She started writing the name out phonetically with fridge magnets and made a reasonable stab at it but it looked nothing like the person's real name. She actually knows some of the tricky elements and how they work so I told her which ones she needed and she added them, (with a bit of re-jigging) and there was one she couldn't have done by herself (a silent letter) so I just told her where to put it and then when she'd finished I showed her the person on the Internet with their name written underneath. She was made up.

Ilelo Fri 08-Mar-13 22:09:01

Thanks, I'll do that.

Sounds better to leave the correction till later, makes it less obvious it's about what she's written before.

TheBuskersDog Sat 09-Mar-13 19:48:34

Your child is probably not learning an incorrect spelling which then needs to be unlearnt, that will just be her attempt at that time, she may well spell it differently the next time she attempts it, possibly also incorrect.

simpson Sat 09-Mar-13 22:56:40

DD has written a book report this eve (her homework - she is in reception).

"Jess ran away wen Pat got the baby barth owt for Jess. Jess hid behind the sofa."


EllieNW3 Sun 10-Mar-13 17:34:48

I recently went to a workshop on teaching to read/spell/write and I really liked what the teacher told us. He said that he would always praise the child along the lines of 'well done, mummy can totally understand what you want to say' and then write the correct way of spelling underneath and say that 'this is one of these tricky words so mummy just writes it correctly beneath'. The teacher said to leave it to that first so the child would be aware that the word is actually spelled differently. Then when the child is ready/ a bit older start pointing out how the correct spelling is (start with the high frequency words etc).

I think he said that he would start this a year later though but I guess there is no harm if you felt your child was ready now?

mrz Sun 10-Mar-13 17:43:48

I wish someone would train teachers how to teach reading and spelling

EllieNW3 Sun 10-Mar-13 18:00:44

mrz - oh no, do you think the teachers are that bad?

I am kind of relying on the teachers to get it right as I am a non-native speaker so would probably just take the teacher's word for it and correct my own spelling too accordingly. Now I am screwed! I have noticed that loads of people can't spell (for a long time I doubted if I was actually spelling 'receive' correctly) - but I was hoping that at least teachers would be able to spell...

mrz Sun 10-Mar-13 18:11:03

Well perhaps it's just the one who gave you advice Ellie

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now