Intervention for spelling problems

(5 Posts)
thelastwingedthing Wed 16-Nov-16 12:00:39

I have a student who has unexpectedly appalling spelling. He's been doing a focussed literacy program but his reading is actually quite good - it's just his spelling that's a problem. At 14 he should't be having any trouble with simple, common words, yet he's capable of spelling a three letter word correctly one day and not getting it right the next day.

Even though he doesn't remember how to spell at least half the words he's presented with, his attempts are reasonably phonetic. He understands the sounds the letters are supposed to make. He doesn't seem able to generalise spelling patterns (e.g. spelt "fought" correctly but then wrote "bort" for "bought").

We're trying to work out what interventions would be helpful for him. He doesn't have a diagnosis and as far as I'm aware his parents aren't considering any. Does anyone have any suggestions ?

printmeanicephoto Wed 16-Nov-16 19:33:38

Could you arrange a Dyslexia assessment?

thelastwingedthing Thu 17-Nov-16 10:30:53

How likely is dyslexia though? He reads well, he''s not transposing or substituting letters, and he seems to understand the sounds the letters make. He just seems to not remember how to spell words that should be familiar.

blackhairbrush Thu 17-Nov-16 10:37:14

I would say that dyslexia is likely. Many individuals with dyslexia read well, but continue to have problems with spelling

Tissie Fri 18-Nov-16 21:06:56

Although he appears to be using a phonetic approach it is not successful. The fact that he cannot spell simple words suggests that errors from previous attempts at learning have been embedded in his mind.Replacing that old learning with new is going to take time and constant repetition. At age 14yrs my approach would be as follows:
1. encourage word processing and using spell check. It's not infallible but the presentation of the written word is always encouraging to the pupil.
2. Talk to the pupil about the 20 most frequently used words and agree on which must be learned. Use the following method - look at the word; say each letter (not sound out) as you trace the letters out. Close eys and visualise in a colour. Say each letter out loud. Write it. Do between 3-5 at a time. Check again after 15mins and after 1 hour.
3. Check that each dept in school is providing key word lists for each topic and use these to teach spellings.
4. Could home provide a specialist tutor to support this work? At a minimum someone needs to be able to work with the pupil on learning, checking and testing new words.

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