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Is it unreasonable to ask school for harder spellings?

(17 Posts)
Dancergirl Thu 11-Dec-14 12:11:12

Dd is 7 and in Year 3. We had parents' evening last night at her school. It was very positive, we know she is very bright and her teacher said she was doing very well across the curriculum. Her English/literacy is particularly strong.

They currently get spellings once a week to learn and then be tested on the following week. They all get the same words and dd has been saying for a while that they're too easy. They do seem very easy for her, she can write and spell the words given without thinking. We discussed this with the teacher last night and she said that she agrees that they're too easy but dd would still have to do the test as it's only 10 minutes per week and she is 'being challenged in other ways' i.e. in other areas.

Dh thinks this is a bit of a cop out. Apparently the class as a whole are a bit weak on spelling and he thinks why should dd be held back because of this..?

Would you take it up further with the school? Dd only joined the school last June so I don't know if they have a gifted and talented programme or anything like that.

Bonsoir Thu 11-Dec-14 12:13:27

Don't bother. Get her to read more instead. You will (a) avoid aggro with the teacher (b) boost her spelling much more effectively.

ReallyTired Thu 11-Dec-14 12:23:30

There is a plenty of evidence that shows that spellings are a total waste of time. Its ten minutes a week and I doult that a ten minute spelling test will hold back your child.

I agree with Bonsoir that reading is the best way of improving spelling and vocab.

PastSellByDate Thu 11-Dec-14 12:23:33

Hi dancergirl:

Having a child slightly ahead of the pack can be a problem and I'm not sure this is a solution but over the years I found these spelling resources in the run up to the 11+ for DD1 and have attached them or selected Y3 appropriate options for you here - perhaps they will be of help:

St. Ambrose spelling pages - free on-line spelling rule quizzes - really helps to learn those tricks - they currently have nothing under Y3 - but this is their spelling lists for Y4: - there are more for Year 5 and Year 6.

Woodlands Junior School: - select spellings and have an explore. All sorts of useful games/ resources.

government bumph on spellings:

As a parent you can join TES for free - just sign up as a volunteer in a school - then you can access resources. this is what I found for Year 3 spelling:

I found this website to a primary in Leeds (Moortown Primary) at some point - this is what they currently have for Y3 spellings: - I also find it interesting to see what they're assigning for homework (as our school didn't assign any homework for quite a while).

I stumbled across this on TES: - lots of great stuff with prefixes/ suffixes here.

I also found this at some point:


Dancergirl Thu 11-Dec-14 12:30:21

Thank you past some great resources there, I will have a look. I did actually think myself to have a look around to see if I could find some more challenging words so you've made that job much easier for me, thank you.

And thanks for the TES info, thought that was just for teachers.

redskybynight Thu 11-Dec-14 12:33:05

If she finds the spellings too easy, challenge her to write a story using all the words.

Or find your own spellings as PastSEllByDate says.

Dancergirl Thu 11-Dec-14 12:35:24

Thanks, some great ideas. Don't think I could get her to read any more than she does currently, which is loads! She's the youngest of 3 girls all of whom are keen readers so has just grown up devouring books.

Dh just thinks it's a bit lazy of the school but I suppose it's a question of picking your battles!

HPFA Thu 11-Dec-14 13:53:45

If your DD is otherwise challenged at school I would agree this doesn't seem worth having a battle about. I agree about spelling tests being a waste of time - my DD always gets high marks on them but then will misspell the same words in her actual writing!!

YvesJutteau Thu 11-Dec-14 13:59:32

Lists of spelling words are a notoriously bad way to learn new spellings, so it would really achieve nothing to ask the school for a harder list. Just encourage her in her reading and (assuming that there's no specific issue) her spelling will follow.

Notinaminutenow Thu 11-Dec-14 14:02:58

DS's primary had differentiated spellings from y2 onwards - they had to use the word in complete sentences, to check understanding and context. Some children, including my DS, found them very straightforward. Such is life. Not worth the battle with school. If this is the only issue you have with school then be thankful. You or your DH can provide more challenging spellings, if this is what you want to spend time doing.

Spelling, in isolation, is a little pointless to be fair and dull.

Asleeponasunbeam Thu 11-Dec-14 14:07:47

Not really 'lazy', is it? Just the teachers not creating pointless extra work for themselves. They might well consider your DH 'lazy' for not finding his DD some more challenging activities himself.

Dancergirl Thu 11-Dec-14 14:16:43

Yes I suppose so.

Thank you all for the perspective. I am very happy with the school in other areas so can't complain really. Although I have heard from other mums with children higher up the school that brighter children not being challenged enough seems to be quite a common theme. But we do a lot at home to support dd's learning, some of the resources posted by past look very helpful.

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 11-Dec-14 20:48:34

I am all for making sure my children are challenged at school but I would not be voluntarily asking for harder spellings or homework myself. If she wants to learn harder words then she can, nothing to stop her doing some at home with you. My 7 year old adores her thesaurus and dictionary because she is fascinated by words. I would just let her learn extra words that she wants to to be honest.

Notcontent Thu 11-Dec-14 21:45:45

You say that she reads a lot - what sort of stuff is she reading?

It may be that she needs books with a richer vocabulary. As Bonsoir pointed out, reading is definitely the best way to get ahead with spelling. Obviously this needs to be accompanied by a bit of writing too.

spellingitright Fri 12-Dec-14 09:23:57

I'm jumping into this conversation because my website has already been mentioned. I agree with many of the contributions so far. Spelling lists and spelling tests don't serve a lot of purpose except where they target particular word patterns as a follow up to what's been taught in class. As a whole-class activity they can be useless: the good spellers do well and it gives their confidence a boost; the bad spellers do badly and the tests only confirm that they'll never master spelling (in their view). Many times I've heard adults say such things as, "I was never any good at spelling. My school books were always covered in red ink and the dreaded abbreviation sp! Then I had to write each word three times. It runs in the family - my dad wasn't any good at spelling either" ..... and so on.
As a parent I would only be concerned if my child was apparently struggling with spelling. Dd obviously isn't and Dancegirl can leave things as they are. For parents who feel that they need to help their children with spelling there's lots of sound advice on the internet including my page How Parents Can Help with Their Children's Spelling at

MidniteScribbler Fri 12-Dec-14 09:30:02

Focus on getting her to use the spelling words in different contexts. Can she describe the word (noun, verb, adjective?) and use it appropriately? What are some synonyms? Antonyms? Collocations? Get her to use the words in different ways: eg 'travel' - I like to travel to overseas destinations, I travelled on the train to school, A traveller flew to New York, The family travels to the zoo on a bus, and so on.

Cedar03 Fri 12-Dec-14 17:30:28

My daughter is the same age as yours. I think that she gets quite a lot of homework and some of it she thinks is easy. I just think how nice it is that she can do the work, not spend too long over it and feel pleased that it's done.

In a class of 30 there will be areas that each child excels at and its useful for them to reinforce that confidence in what they've learnt at school.

So I wouldn't worry.

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