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dd 10 cant spell

(35 Posts)
kimlo Sun 02-Nov-14 13:52:29

How can I help her?

Shes ok with her weekly spelling tests, normally getting 100%, but when it comes to using the words in her work or blind spelling tests I all goes out of the window. During her last test week she scored 4 out of 30 on a blind spelling test.

her reading and comprehension is good, her handwriting isnt great to be honest, but the spelling makes it unreadable.

Whats the best wau to try and tackle this?

TeenAndTween Sun 02-Nov-14 14:10:30

My DD 10 is also similar.

We did Apples and Pears at home the summer before last, which helped but was unsustainable in term time.

There is a big lack-of-spelling problem in her class, and her teacher is now going right back to the beginning with basic spelling rules, which is helping.

Sadly DD's pronunciation is not great, so when she is sounding words to herself she can't hear all the sounds, so misses them out when writing.

kimlo Sun 02-Nov-14 14:29:48

Dds pronunciation isnt the best either, she had to have speech therapy when she was younger.

3mum Sun 02-Nov-14 16:58:45

TBH the best help with spelling (and punctuation) is more reading. I don't think you can assume that the school will do everything here so if your other commitments allow, ideally she would read out loud to you for twenty minutes or so a night and read an additional half an hour on her own (this half hour can be reading in bed before she goes to sleep). Seeing words used in context repeatedly is the easiest way to learn to spell.

If you can also give her a daily spelling test of five words a time that would be great.

Make sure she writes the spellings down as that helps memorise them. Any she does not get right, give her a minute to look at the correct spelling again and then re-test her only on those words. I like to set an additional weekly test of all the words learned during the week. That way you can be sure which ones are in her memory and which you need to revisit.

Make sure that you set her up to succeed so that the books and the spellings start out slightly easy and work on gradually improving. Make it fun one to one time and praise her for every little success including sitting and trying hard.

Periodically, make sure you go back and show her how much progress she is making ("Look a month ago you could not spell "could" and now it's easy for you - great progress. I think we should tell Dad about that").

I sounds as if she could also do with some additional synthetic phonics works as these are the building blocks for all the sounds. Synthetic phonic books are readily available. Ruth Miskin is very good.

I work as an LSA with children needing additional help in reading and maths. The answer for all spelling and literacy problems is always more phonics and to do more reading, even if there is a learning difficulty present. It is up to you to be enthusiastic and engage her in the process. You'll know you've got it right when she starts asking if you can do your reading together now!

TeenAndTween Sun 02-Nov-14 17:25:29

3mum My DD2 has good reading skills, and good reading aloud & expression too. She finds school really hard, and they have her for her best 6.5 hours every day. She really cannot cope with additional large amount extra on top. (We do spellings before school, she is way to tired afterwards)

OP - I think the pronunciation makes a really big difference. DD was slow to speak/link words and also had speech therapy when younger. She has poor motor skills which the speech people said also links to articulation.
If I say a word clearly, DD gets much closer on the spelling than if she says it, because when she says it the sounds don't come out properly.

DD's phonics is also good when reading, but when writing she does not remember which specific phonic pattern to use when.

The back-to-basics spelling rules the y5 teacher is going through is finally helping though.

Ferguson Sun 02-Nov-14 18:24:51

Was she taught using Phonics from the start of her schooling, and have the methods in all classes been consistent throughout? If she has had to cope with different methods, that may have confused her.

As a former TA, I think this is one of the most useful aids to spelling. An inexpensive and easy to use book, that can encourage children with reading, spelling and writing is mentioned in the MN Book Reviews section.

In “Children’s educational books and courses”, the Oxford Phonics Spelling Dictionary presents words by their initial SOUND, unlike a ‘normal’ dictionary, which is always in alphabetical order. Thus, in the ‘S’ section are words like ‘cinema’ and ‘cycle’, which have a ‘S’ sound, even though they are spelt with ‘C’.

The Dictionary is colourful and amusingly illustrated, and can be used by children on their own, or with adult support, from Reception age right up to the start of secondary school.

The review has a link to view sample pages, and purchase if you so wish.

TeenAndTween Sun 02-Nov-14 18:30:41

Ferguson My DD was taught phonics consistently from the start.
But something went wrong somewhere in y1/y2 which tbh is now only being properly addressed in y5. Everyone has just kept saying 'it will come' but it hasn't. I know the kind of dictionary you mean, we have a more adult one for DD1. I'll have a look.
(OP, sorry, I seem to be hijacking).

kimlo Sun 02-Nov-14 20:34:37

The school have used phonics since reception, and because of it being a small school and the teachers being moved about she has had the same 2 teachers until this year so she should have been taught consistently. She was a bit on the slower side for reading because the sounds she used to say words didn't match the sounds in the words so decoding was a bit difficult fpr her.

She reads by herself for at least half an hour before bed, unfortunately by the time I get in from work theres very little time left.

Ive got her homework booj here, some examples of her mistakes are steales, achully (actually) quiqily (quickly). What she has written is quiet good, its just the spelling.

AnonyMust Sun 02-Nov-14 21:17:12

May well be that your DD may have phonological processing difficulties as well as difficulties with segmenting & blending. Sound Linkage is a good programme for the improvement of phonological processing. Alpha to Omega (student's book) is fab. for dictating that synthesise spelling with auditory processing and working memory.

Muskey Sun 02-Nov-14 21:24:50

Have you had your dd checked for dyslexia.

AnonyMust Sun 02-Nov-14 21:31:47

Pic 'her handwriting isn't great' either, her spelling when free writing isn't beng supported by the automaticity that often comes from joined, fluent and fluid writing. I'd have her assessed for dyslexia (and dysgraphia). You'd then have a clearer idea of the exact nature and reasons fir for difficulty. A fully diagnostic report will also provide you with appropriate recommendations.

kimlo Sun 02-Nov-14 21:38:36

She was tested for dyslexia when she was 7, and I was told by the school then that she wasnt. I was suprised because there is a strong family history.

Effic Sun 02-Nov-14 21:50:14

Phonics really don't help much past the very basics because English has so few simple rules that actually work? Most spelling rules that work are more bleeding complicated to remember than the darn words.
If children have got the basic phonic sounds sorted, the best spelling strategies to my mind are the ones based on syllable patterns / stressed & unstressed vowels etc. The Nessy spelling programme is the best strategy I've ever come across (head teacher). It was developed to support dyslexic children. Ask you r school or I believe BUT MAY BE WRONG it can be delivered by via computer and you can buy it and do it with your child.

AnonyMust Sun 02-Nov-14 21:59:23

Sounds like she wasn't tested by a Duslexua practitioner. Contact PATOSS. They hold a list of qualified assessors. Who on earth assessed her?

AnonyMust Sun 02-Nov-14 22:01:27

Dyslexia. Lol
Pls excuse typo.

sickntiredtoo Mon 03-Nov-14 10:20:15

Although it is non PC to say it, I just think some people are born to spell well and others are born to spell badly.You can tinker round the edges but it won't make much difference

edpen Mon 03-Nov-14 10:53:12

The type of report that AnonyMust is suggesting that you get will likely cost £400-£500 and will tell you no more than you already know, that she is having difficulty with spelling and writing. Neither will it entitle you to particular support from the school.

She may well be what many would describe as 'dyslexic' and dyspraxic' by the old 'discrepancy' definitions but now, if achievement reaches a (very low) minimum standard then she will not be deemed to have any difficulty requiring extra support.

My 'dyslexic' and 'dyspraxic' child would also achieve 100% in all his weekly tests but couldn't spell to save his life outside of that scenario. But then most school spelling 'programmes' are complete nonsense being nothing more than eclectic lists loosely themed in word families of some sort (usually according to meaning eg days of the week, foods etc. They don't help children identify the patterns and structures that do exist in English spelling.

I tutor children with reading difficulties and while I have Nessy and dip into it very occasionally for particular children I would NEVER use it as a stand-alone programme and can't even imagine how that could be dome as it is VERY complicated and lacks critical structures. The games CAN be fun which you can buy separately but they won't replace good, systematic instruction.

What you child needs is a really well structured spelling programme that builds on her phonic knowledge and expands it to enable her to recognise and apply the patterns in English.

edpen Mon 03-Nov-14 11:05:40

Effic says "Phonics really don't help much past the very basics because English has so few simple rules that actually work? Most spelling rules that work are more bleeding complicated to remember than the darn words."

This sort of statement always bemuses me. Yes, English is more complex with more 'exceptions to the rule' than other phonic code languages with more regular spelling systems. But the truth is that English has lots of patterns, tendencies, and structures which, if recognised and applied make spelling MUCH easier. And the fact that these structures can be difficult for learners to discern means that we have to teach them more systematically and thoroughly.

The alternative suggested, of learning each word as a 'whole word' image would require a feat of memory far beyond that required by 'phonics' (which is based around reducing memory load) and in fact would be a feat well beyond the capacity of the human brain. I seem to recall Stephen Pinker writing that Primary aged children know about 50,000 words rising to over 100,000 for high-school graduates.

anotherdayanothersquabble Mon 03-Nov-14 11:24:31

Edpen, is there a structured spelling programme you would suggest that can be delivered at home?

I have a bright 10 year old who is a poor speller, who also has mild hearing issues which complicate matters. I did go through a programme with him which helped and teaching him to proof read helps but would be grateful for a recommendation.

brujo Mon 03-Nov-14 12:26:44

Apple and pears but like another poster I find it hard to keep up long term - though I do really try.

edpen Mon 03-Nov-14 13:20:20

I think I'd probably recommend using an Australian programme called Spelfabet www.spelfabet.com.au/

Firstly because it is excellent (the author is a 'speech pathologist') but also because it has the HUGE advantage of having lots of videos online www.youtube.com/user/spelfabet which you really must take the time to watch so that you can properly understand what to do and how to support your child.

Being Australian some of the pronunciation and some of the vocabulary might not match your own - not a problem, you just skip and/or adjust as necessary.

Again, do watch the videos, pausing and taking notes as necessary, they really are invaluable.

Mashabell Mon 03-Nov-14 14:28:33

Learning to spell English is mainly a matter of what looks right, but the physical act of writing or typing the correct version repeatedly helps greatly with this. That's why the old method of 'look, say, cover, write, check' remains the main way of learning to spell English beyond the elementary level.

Some children have a great deal of trouble memorising the quirky bits in the roughly 4,000 common English words which contain them - mostly because they don't have a particularly strong visual memory.

The best thing to do is to keep concentrating, a few words at a time, on the ones which keep causing trouble with the L S C W C method. There is no magic cure. It's simply tedious hard work, but with perseverance children of average ability usually get there in the end, even if they are not naturally gifted spellers.

maizieD Mon 03-Nov-14 14:45:18

Learning to spell English is mainly a matter of what looks right, but the physical act of writing or typing the correct version repeatedly helps greatly with this. That's why the old method of 'look, say, cover, write, check' remains the main way of learning to spell English beyond the elementary level.

I'm afraid that the LSCWC method is not at all useful unless you modify it considerably to take account of the sounds in the words rather than the letters. LSCWC is dependent mostly on remembering an arbitrary string of letters; 1)the letters are not easily remembered in the correct order and 2) it is utterly impossible to memorise the letter order of 50,000+ words (as edpen has already pointed out).

The kinaesthetic memory aspect marsha mentions may be useful but only if the words are handwritten. As far as typing is concerned kinaestheic memory would only come into play if the child were an expert touch typist. 'Hunt and peck' wouldn't be sufficiently fluent to set up kinaesthetic memory of how the word 'feels' when written.

If the child is having difficulty in 'hearing' sounds in words the sounds can be identified by the 'feel'/mouthshapes involved in making them.

The Spelfabet site is excellent.

edpen Mon 03-Nov-14 14:52:31

Sadly, LSCWC without any sense-making supporting structure does indeed remain the main way to 'learn to spell' and as such is not only "tedious hard work" but a dreadful waste of time (as evidenced by many children working hard to acheive 100% on tests but learning nothing from them).

You need structured teaching and practice, and while LSCWC as part of a structured programme would be an improvement, better more long-lasting results are achieved through more scaffolded practice and the use of dictation.

As in all aspects of learning and studying it is crucial to not only work hard but to work SMART.

Mashabell Mon 03-Nov-14 16:54:34

Any pupil who is not lucky to be born with a good visual memory has to work at learning the quirky, unpredictable bits of words (e.g. blUE, shOE, flEW, thrOUGH, tOO), because they are not amenable to learning by any logical method.

Fortunately, there are only around 4,000 common root words with them, not 50,000+ as Maizie claims.

Of the really irregular ones there are in fact only about 2,800 words, but they make another 1,400 unpredictable as well.

This is because many English sounds are without a real spelling pattern. For example, the 103 words which are not spelt with oo for long /oo/ (rude, shrewd, do), make the 94 words with oo (food, mood, too) unpredictable as well. They ensure that the spellings for the /oo/ sound have to be learned word by word for all 197 common words with that sound.

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