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To think school spelling lists are unrealistic?

(149 Posts)
ACupOfTeaSolvesEverything Sat 21-Sep-19 09:25:09

DS has just started Year 4 and as he has a summer birthday he is only just 8 years old.
The spellings he comes home with seem very difficult for his age. Pic attached. AIBU?

He struggles with written expression anyway and usually gets zero on all spelling tests despite reading well ahead of his chronological age. We are still trying to learn Year 2 spellings.
I know his spelling ability is unusually poor but that aside I think these words are hard for an only just 8 year old to be expected to spell...

bridgetreilly Sat 21-Sep-19 09:26:04

No, I would think that a reasonable list for year 4, sorry.

ACupOfTeaSolvesEverything Sat 21-Sep-19 09:26:12

Pic cause I can’t tell if it uploaded the first time

QueenofLouisiana Sat 21-Sep-19 09:28:32

Taken from the government list of words children need to learn at this age. The school is following the National Curriculum.

Just wait until you see the yr 5/6 spellings- they’re a real delight.

IfYouWannaComeBack Sat 21-Sep-19 09:29:34

Honestly they look fine 🤷🏼‍♀️ My DD is 8 and this week had words like poisonous, relatable, misdemeanour etc.
Although I believe her class has different groups (red group, blue group, green group etc) which are split by ability so the kids are working at an appropriate level for their capability.
Does your DC’s school not do this? It must be so disheartening for him to consistently get zero sad

ACupOfTeaSolvesEverything Sat 21-Sep-19 09:30:06

bridgetreilly Don’t apologise. It’s a genuine question. I find it hard to gauge because he is asynchronous in many ways - eg reading level is age 11 but spelling is at age 6 level. Hence asking.

Matildatoldsuchdreadfullies Sat 21-Sep-19 09:32:38

I’m still traumatised by having to learn Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, pneumonia and rheumatism in year 6. That was 35 years ago. And auto-correct means that it was all pointless smile

But those do look normal spellings for year 4 OP. Although learning lists is pretty pointless - it doesn’t raise spelling levels in writing.

GladAllOver Sat 21-Sep-19 09:32:44

If your child has a particular difficulty that should be understood and accepted. Perhaps he needs some individual support.
But as a general rule those words seem a reasonable level to achieve.

ACupOfTeaSolvesEverything Sat 21-Sep-19 09:33:37

IfYouWannaComeBack no he has the same test as everyone else. It’s frustrating. I’ve asked for them to differentiate spellings but they say they don’t do that and to just help him at home. Like I don’t already do that hmm

Soubriquet Sat 21-Sep-19 09:33:55

I think those are ok

My 6 year old could spell most of them so an 8 year old should learn them easily

Flurgle Sat 21-Sep-19 09:34:44

They seem ok- they’ve obviously gone with some from the week’s objective and some from the 3/4 list. However there are too many IMO. Better to learn 3 or 4 a week and actually know them. Also the ones with prefixes don’t really need to be “off by heart” - they should be learning the actual rule.

WaterSheep Sat 21-Sep-19 09:36:11

he has the same test as everyone else.

I wouldn't be happy with this. Children are working at different levels, and there should be differentiation to allow for this.

Booboostwo Sat 21-Sep-19 09:36:20

First spelling words my DD got in (French) school at 6yo were beaucoup and aujourd'hui! Even I wanted to cry!

IfYouWannaComeBack Sat 21-Sep-19 09:38:24

@ACupOfTeaSolvesEverything that seems weird. Why would they push children knowing they will fail? It seems counterproductive.
A similar thing happened to my brother, many years ago when dyslexia wasn’t recognised like it is now, my brother was pushed to do work he wasn’t capable of. He struggled with reading and spellings but excelled at maths.
The constant failure he felt by them forcing him to do the same work as other more capable pupils lead to him hating school and not trying even in the subjects he was good at.
Luckily my parents were fab and got him onto a carpentry apprenticeship at 16 and he’s done exceptionally well ever since (he’s 36 now, very bright just not academic!)

IfYouWannaComeBack Sat 21-Sep-19 09:40:44

I would maybe arrange a meeting with the teacher and maybe the head too.
If he’s always getting zero then they must know there is a problem and it must be awful for him to always get it wrong.
He needs to be working on a lower level until (if ever) he can catch up and get to grips with if

IfYouWannaComeBack Sat 21-Sep-19 09:40:51


Slappadabass Sat 21-Sep-19 09:41:04

They are standard words, but I do think they are difficult for the age, lots of children struggle with them, my DD has been the same, excelling and reading but just can't fathom spelling, it is slowly clicking with her but she is a couple of years behind, they all get there eventually.
We used a app which you input the words, it flashes the words on the screen and slowly fades away, you can do it on paper, write it down, place it infront of them wait a second or two and slowly move it backwards, the movement is meant to trigger something in the brain, I can't remember the science but it has worked well for my DD.

Ellisandra Sat 21-Sep-19 09:41:08

They’re not easy - but for the average Y4 I think they’re fine.
I do think there a quite a few to learn. As he’s usually getting zero, are you speeding yourself (him) too thin? Pick a smaller number and try to learn those. Let him get 3 instead of 0 - but 3/3 on the ones he has practised.

In this example, the non italic items are all negative versions (except appear?). So he’s not learning just spellings. He needs to learn the simpler form (behave, spell, lead) and then learn as a one off that they have a prefix spelled “mid”. So although it looks like some long words, it isn’t really.

If he can’t get any, talk to the teacher about it.

SleepingStandingUp Sat 21-Sep-19 09:41:18

Op could you cut the list down and recall focus on spelling say half of them? That way he might score 1 or 2 which would boost his confidence?

Her0utdoors Sat 21-Sep-19 09:41:36

They aren't all words I could spell straight off (my expertise lies elsewhere) but they don't look out of context. I guess it's a case of meeting with his teacher to ask what additional support he is getting.

Ellisandra Sat 21-Sep-19 09:42:05


CallmeAngelina Sat 21-Sep-19 09:43:38

All children should be "exposed" to the statutory spelling lists for the year group, but if they have some kind of SpLD, then they might also have a tailor-made differentiated list to work on. In my class, those children are tested on that list, not the main class one. But I wouldn't differentiate just because a child is a summer-born - not by Yr 4 anyway. In the weekly test, I do allow a couple of them to "just" write down the specific words, as opposed to the whole dictation test, but again, that is not age-related, but due to other factors.
Yes, some will find they need to work harder at it than others, but that's life, I'm afraid.

ACupOfTeaSolvesEverything Sat 21-Sep-19 09:43:50

Slappadabass can you remember what the app was called?

ShiftHappens Sat 21-Sep-19 09:44:27

they look standard to me. My 8 year old could probably spell most of them without practice (but is an avid reader).

If your DC struggles, I would insist on differentiated spellings. Our school does it for children who find the standard spellings hard. my other DD has learning difficulties and has had differentiated spellings throughout primary.

It's very odd that everyone has the same spellings.

CallmeAngelina Sat 21-Sep-19 09:47:51

Actually, looking at that list, it's interesting that they have jumbled up a number of different "rules." My Yr 4s for instance, do all the 'mis-' or 'in-' prefix words in one go, so you can make a proper teaching point of the pattern (and everyone looks out for examples in wider work across the week). That might have made it easier for you struggling child to learn, as there's a clear pattern.

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