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Help with spelling tests

(15 Posts)
BlueberryHill Sun 28-Oct-12 16:56:44

DS is in Year 1 and overall is doing fine. He has weekly spelling tests of 10 words with common letter combinations, sh, th, ee etc. He started out fine on these, getting 8 - 10 of them right. The last couple of weeks this has fallen and I'm trying to understand why and how I could help him learn spellings more easily.

I've sat down with him and the list and asked him which letters are in all of the words and then asked him to sound them out. We then go through the words, jumbling them up and asking him to write them out on a piece of paper. He was having trouble with 'th'words so for the ones he was having difficulty with he wrote the letters on individual pieces of paper and had to put them up on the wall in the right order. I kept the sessions short, did a little each night and tried to make it fun with lots of praise for getting it right. I thought he would probably get one /two wrong but remember most of them. He got two right. Repeated the next week, keeping it short etc. When I sit next to him and 'test' him he gets the majority right, however at the test he got two right.

I'm wondering if there is anything else I can try, I am going to ask his teacher if he is getting distracted (he is a bit of a dreamer) or if she has any suggestions.

I'm now trying letters on the floor and he has to jump from one to another when I shout out the word. If he gets it wrong and jumps on the wrong letter he falls into the pit below and ends up in the belly of the Almighty Za'Lag from Star Wars Return of the Jedi. Does anyone have any ideas?

maizieD Sun 28-Oct-12 17:28:26

How about you saying the word, then asking him to tell you what sounds there are in the word, then getting him to spell each sound, in the same order in which they come in the word? When he has written the word, get him to sound it out and blend it to check that he has all the 'sounds' in and all in the right order.

Initially you could get him to write a line for each sound and write each sound on its line. This helps to check that they are all there...

Whatever you do, don't expect him to memorise a string of letters; always work with 'sounds' and their spellings. This should make far more sense to him than just memorising letters with no idea of their function in the written word.

If he doesn't know how to spell discrete sounds he will need more practice in just spelling them individually.

maizieD Sun 28-Oct-12 17:38:43

Oh, forgot to say, get him to say the sounds as he writes them, it helps with developing automatic recall of the sound spellings.

BlueberryHill Sun 28-Oct-12 17:51:38

Thanks maizieD, the sounding out and checking that all the sounds are there is a great idea.

mrz Sun 28-Oct-12 18:01:37

You can start from the other end

write the word for him and get him to chop it up into the sounds then he can see any unfamiliar ways of writing the sounds in the word (which is the tricky part for him to remember) then put it back together sound by sound before writing it from memory.

BlueberryHill Sun 28-Oct-12 19:55:50

mrz, thanks, I think that will help as it was the 'th' sound and 'ng' sound he was tripping over on the last ones. He was getting 'w, v or f' instead of 'th'. When you say put it back together sound by sound, do you mean DS sounding them out loud?

mrz Sun 28-Oct-12 19:58:40

write the word on a piece of paper and get him to cut it up into the sounds rather than letters - if the word was that cut it up <th> <a> <t> 3 sounds mix them up and get him to physically rebuild the word

BlueberryHill Mon 29-Oct-12 11:10:09

Cool, thats a great idea, thank you

polatia Wed 31-Oct-12 10:30:04

Spelling Strategy Cards £2.50 - may be useful???

BlueberryHill Thu 01-Nov-12 16:26:48

Thanks polatia. I'll get the sample printed out and have a look.

At the moment I'm spending a small fortune on magnetic letters and boards.

mrz, I tried the cutting up of words, it really brought out breaking down the words down into different sounds. Thanks again

mrz Thu 01-Nov-12 16:42:34

Get him to cut the words up. It will make him look more closely at how the sounds in the words are spelt.
Instead of magnetic letters write the separate sounds on postit notes

BlueberryHill Fri 09-Nov-12 16:47:29

mrz, doing his spellings this week we've used post it notes, and magnetic letters as he likes them, and cut words up and focused on the sounds in the words. For example, he puts 'ee' and 'ing' together on a postit. I also spoke to his teacher who had noted it, knew he could do the spellings etc. She now has more resource in the class so could focus on each table more, result. This week he got all 10 right, which is great, he has really tried hard. Thank you for your advice, we just need to keep to going with it.

mums999 Mon 12-Nov-12 22:49:08

Sound each word out, as ask him to spell each sound. If you want to learn in a fun way, one site that may be fun is it's often used for vocabulary building by children preparing for the 11+, but lists can be entered, read out and typed. Word meanings can be looked up with a click. Some children use it from year 1 to learn spellings. I hope this helps.

sallyannetoo Tue 15-Jan-13 15:00:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PastSellByDate Thu 17-Jan-13 12:44:49

Hi Blueberryhill:

absolutely agree with mrz - cutting the words up into syllables will help with spelling.

If the words have a theme (which you say is the case) then really stress that before practice. Oh - I see - this week is words starting or ending in sh.

That hint - will make the week's spelling practice easier.

If you have several groups:

Maybe - shun sounding words - ending -tion, -sion, -cean (like ocean)

Try learning them in groups and pointing out any exceptions to the rules.

1st night: We do both writing out the word three times (also working on penmanship during that) and writing out words in sentences (makes them think through meanings and we play a game trying to use as many words as possible in a sentence).

2nd night: practice test. Write out any words missed 5 times and try to discuss what went wrong.

3rd night: practice test. If a word is missed again write it out x10 times.

4th night: practice test. If a word is missed write it out 20 times.

morning of test - quick review and discussion of any tricky words on walk into school.

I will add that although DDs do well on this type of test, DD1 doesn't retain a working memory of the spellings for long. DD2 seems to remember how to spell words, but forgets that she's had them in her spelling lists.

We've found that reinforcing spelling with books stretching vocabulary (additional to guided reading books in school - either from school library/ local library/ home library) definitely does help. Guardian has a lovely list of classic children's books here: We make a real point of discussing meaning of words when children read with us.


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