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Great at reading but struggling with spelling

(52 Posts)
flowerfly Tue 29-Nov-11 13:35:54

My ds(8) is good at reading but really struggling with spelling and handwriting anyone else had any experience of this. He can learn spellings (14 weekly) and get them all right in a test but when it comes to writing sentences etc. the spelling goes to pot "When" becomes "wen"," Need" becomes" Ned" the school are looking into it but does anyone else have any suggestions?

IndigoBell Tue 29-Nov-11 13:41:15

Could be down to loads and loads of things.

He could have poor visual discrimination, which makes it hard for him to spot what words should look like. To improve that do loads of word searches, spot the difference, and where's wally.

KTk9 Tue 29-Nov-11 14:07:30

My dd ( just 7) is the same, learns the spellings and then completely forgets them, or just doesn't think about how to spell when writing. I was shocked to see her repeatedly spell What as Whot, or Wot, despite knowing how to spell it and read it!

Now when she is writing at home, I get her to visualise the word in her head to see if it looks right and if necessary write it on a piece of paper and look to see if she thinks it is right, as she is able to read it. This so far seems to focus her attention and when she looks back at whot what she has written, she is more likely to 'spot' it.
Obviously she won't always be able to do this in school, but it may help her to focus a little bit.

Her reading is excellent so it is surprising that her spelling is so poor, however, she didn't even get spellings until this September, previously spelling everything phonetically, without being corrected at all, so maybe that's why, has your child always had spellings?

IndigoBell Tue 29-Nov-11 14:13:55

It's very common for excellent readers to have poor spelling. The two often don't go together.

Could also be down to eye tracking issues. This is a very common problem. Does she every skip words / lines?

redskyatnight Tue 29-Nov-11 14:21:18

I have a DS with a similar problem - but he doesn't even do well on the tests. He is in the top reading group but bottom spelling group in his class. He's got to the point where its affecting his writing as he won't write anything unless he is sure of spelling it correctly. And the fact that 2 years younger DD is now getting a lot of the same spellings as him is not helping his confidence. He likes wordsearches so might encourage him to do more of them.

IndigoBell Tue 29-Nov-11 14:24:47

Apples & Pears is an excellent spelling program, which I highly recommend for almost all children.

But I do recommend looking at his vision as well smile Just in case.....

It's very hard to find out how many children suffer from these problems, as most kids don't get tested for it.

But it is at least 10% - and probably much higher.

IndigoBell Tue 29-Nov-11 14:25:46

Teachers notes for Apples & Pears.

You need both books blush

Bramshott Tue 29-Nov-11 14:26:23

This is DD1 (Y4) as well. Indigo's description of poor visual discrimation sounds very like her - I was checking over her homework the other day and got her to look at a word she'd copied (Cambridge) vs what she had written (Canbride) and she took a LONG time to see the difference.

Bramshott Tue 29-Nov-11 14:28:21

Hmm, I wonder whether that's what DD1 is on at school? The teacher told us parents evening she had moved her onto a special programme aimed at dyslexic children (not that she was necessarily suggesting DD is dyslexic).

IndigoBell Tue 29-Nov-11 14:31:16

It's not used in very many schools.

Would be good to ask the teacher to find out what program she is using.

I bet WordShark or Beat Dyslexia smile

flowerfly Tue 29-Nov-11 14:35:47

My Ds already wears glasses for all written work and that has definately helped with the focusing on a page but it really is worrying me as i know how important spelling is. I really want to help him as he tries so hard and you can see him getting frustrated now i also think it stops him getting everything down that he wants too.

IndigoBell Tue 29-Nov-11 14:40:33

Normal glasses will only correct his short sightedness.

His optician probably hasn't even tested for eye tracking issues, and def won't have tested for visual discrimination problems.

So it can still be a vision problem, even if he wears glasses.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 29-Nov-11 14:44:49

My DD is like this. She's 12 now and still gets spellings wrong. At a recent parents' evening, her English teacher first started by making it clear she was very good at everything else and that this was a relatively minor issue, and fixable. Her immediate recommendation was to get one of the little hand-held spellcheck devices and use it regularly - the sort where the child has to type in the word and then gets various options(I think) so they have to think about it - not like the automatic spellcheck/correction on computers which don't help them to learn IYSWIM.

We haven't got it yet, need to look into what's available.

lisad123 Tue 29-Nov-11 14:50:33

I'm the same. It's helps to read alot as you can often swap words if you can't spell one. I can normally tell you if a word is spelt wrong but still can't spell it right. I was dx'ed as mildly dyslexic at 17years old. I am also terrible at sorting out reports an writing large reports.
There is help out there.

Neenook Tue 29-Nov-11 14:58:31

Absolutely idendical to my DS (also 8). Reads and reads anything that he can get his hands on, clever boy with a brain bursting with information and facts, but spelling is atrocious. We'd put it down to the fact that he's at a bilingual (Welsh/English) school, but it's interesting to know others have the same problems. Handwriting also terrible!!

Redsky DS2 (6) is a better speller sad

mrz Tue 29-Nov-11 18:36:07

Wonders if I teach Bramshott's daughter hmm

secretsquirrel1 Tue 29-Nov-11 19:04:11

I have the opposite problem - my DD (Y3) loathes reading with a passion....it is pure torture and I've tried everything, from mags/easy books etc - however, she loves being read to and has got all her spellings right so far this term, and enjoys practising them...though she does what everyone elses DCs seem to be doing and that is not being able to spell when writing afterwards.

I'm trying not to get stressed about it because I know she can do it - and as a bookworm myself I don't want to put her off!! So I'm just very grateful that she can read and write, even though she hates reading....that hasn't answered your question though, sorry!

mrz Tue 29-Nov-11 19:10:14

It is absolutely normal for children who score 10/10 in a spelling test not to spell any of the words correctly the day after in independent writing which is why spelling needs to be taught (in long term memory) not just memorised for a test (short term memory)

IndigoBell Tue 29-Nov-11 19:14:34

SecretSquirrel - once again she really needs to have a full vision test to check that reading isn't painful for her.

That is a very common reason for hating reading.

What are the Symptoms of Convergence Insufficiency?

A person who has convergence insufficiency may show and/or complain of the following while doing close work (i.e., reading, computer work, deskwork, playing handheld video games, doing crafts, etc.):

eyestrain (especially with or after reading)
headaches
blurred vision
double vision
inability to concentrate
short attention span
frequent loss of place
squinting, rubbing, closing or covering an eye
sleepiness during the activity
trouble remembering what was read
words appear to move, jump, swim or float
problems with motion sickness and/or vertigo

Ingles2 Tue 29-Nov-11 19:15:20

we're struggling with this at the moment. Ds2 is an excellent reader and a very poor speller with poor phonological decoding (so I'm told) In fact there's about 6 years between his spelling and reading age.
The school think it could be his hearing, and he has had hearing problems in the past... so it might be worth checking hearing out alongside vision.
He's just started read write inc... anyone got experience of this program?

IndigoBell Tue 29-Nov-11 19:21:59

Ingles - He's on RWI even though he's an excellent speller? That seems very unusual.

RWI is a good synthetic phonics program. It teaches children to read.

It is not what I'd suggest for a child who is an excellent reader.

Does he have Auditory Discrimination problems?

Like a standard eyesight test, a standard hearing test doesn't test for very many things sad

Ingles2 Tue 29-Nov-11 19:41:12

great reader Indigo, rubbish speller..
he is 10.5, his reading age is 14.4 spelling age is 8.
The whole school is doing read write inc.... ds2 is in the bottom group and he likes the program, but is self esteem is pretty low generally.
I'm not sure what the problem is, school aren't that bothered tbh, because he's just hitting his targets. Even though I'm being told his spelling is seriously letting down his writing ... am not surprised he could be great at english, has fantastic imagination, huge vocab, complex verbal sentence structure.
Any ideas?

candytuft63 Tue 29-Nov-11 19:58:24

I dont know how much help i can be, but can relate my own experiences. I could read at 3 yrs write very well at 5. But i couldnt copy from the board,or a textbook without mistakes. At 12 yrs i couldnt tell the time by reading from a clock and still havethose issues. I know where capitals go but cant remember. I have a proffessional MA Degree, but am constantly in trouble at work because i cant fill in a spreadsheet i.e timesheet. I was diagnosed with discalculia and dyslexia 2 yrs ago when i went to my gp with stress issues at work. Its a strange condition and hard to explain.The hard of hearing is interesting. I am partially deaf, but not discovered til i failed a medical for the army. Using a keyboard is a nightmare-letters dont look how they look to me. They have a different shape in my eyes.
Obviously this is not about intelligence, but rather how different people see things differently.
A kind supportive mother and school will bring out the best in any child i think
Things have come along a long way since i was young

bruffin Tue 29-Nov-11 20:26:58

My DS 16 is the same Ingles2

Difference between his reading and writing at KS2 was just scraped a level 4 for writing to a high level 5 for comprehension.
Primary did Stareway to Spelling with him when he was in year5 which got him his level4.
He had problems remembering sums from seeing them on the board to writing it on the paper and can spell the same word 3 different ways on the same page.

He is doing his mock GCSE this week and after some more SEN in September he has got extra time for exams 10% for english/re/history and 25% for maths and science. He is targeted A/A* and should be able to do it in all subjects except German.

IndigoBell Tue 29-Nov-11 20:38:31

Ingles, there are really only 3 reasons why a child can't spell:

* vision problems
* auditory problems
* poor teaching.

While you work out if he has vision or hearing problems I recommend you do Apples & pears

You can go to your GP and get a referral to an audiologist. But he will only test for hearing loss - not auditory discrimination or auditory process ing problems.

And I really recommend getting a thorough vision test by a behaviour optometrist. Because that at least is easy (if expensive) to do. It is very possible you and school haven't noticed that he has eye tracking or other problems.

As well as all that I suggest word searches to strengthen his visual discrimination.

It is possible to fix all of these problems, but it's not quick or cheap or easy.

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