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Emphasis on spelling 'ignorant and cruel'

(31 Posts)
Feenie Fri 11-Mar-16 23:10:31

Pie Corbett and the NAHT's reactions to the fact that dyslexic children are at risk of being labelled as failures under the new test regime.

mrz Sat 12-Mar-16 06:17:08

irvine101 Sat 12-Mar-16 06:35:37

Great list, thank you mrz. Breaking down words is definitely the way my ds learns to spell new words.

ChalkHearts Sat 12-Mar-16 06:44:50

My dyslexic DD badly failed the old spelling SAT test. She didn't think she was a failure. She thought she had a spelling problem. Which she did. A big one.

Now at secondary everyone still thinks she's thick because her spelling is so bad. And she is in low sets etc. Despite (of course) being very bright.

So I would say it's not the tests that are the problem, but her spelling. And pretending that it doesn't matter if you can spell or not is a lie. And pretending that if you tell people you have dyslexia they won't mind if you can't spell is a lie.

If you can't spell you are judged your whole life and a wide range of jobs are impossible for you to do.

Therefore I don't think it's helpful to tell Y6s it doesn't matter if you can't spell. It does matter. Even if you have dyslexia.

YouMakeMyDreams Sat 12-Mar-16 07:09:03

That list is excellent dd is nearly 13 and dyspraxic and her spelling is poor. I will definitely use that.

ChalkHearts Sat 12-Mar-16 07:11:03

Also remember primary HTs don't care about how their pupils do inY7 or GCSEs or life. They only care about their school stats.

They aren't protesting the spelling test because it's bad for the pupils but because it's bad for the HTs

If they cared about their pupils they would have taught them to spell, including their dyslexic pupils who are very hard to teach.

this emphasis on spelling in SATs will almost certainly improve the teaching of spelling in lots of schools. Which so far has often been dire.

Certainly my DD was put on the most dreadful spelling interventions (eg wordshark) purely so they could tick a box saying she was on a spelling intervention.

But there was never any real intention to teach her to spell.

mrz Sat 12-Mar-16 07:11:22

I agree with you Chalkhearts - spelling is difficult for many (not necessarily just those with the dyslexia label ) and we aren't helping anyone by having different expectations.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 12-Mar-16 08:34:11

The sounds-write lists are brilliant.

These videos are worth a watch too. Mainly the first three 'intro to spelling' ones.

I've never understood why the prevailing mindset seems to have been accepting that children with dyslexia can't spell and finding ways round that rather than finding effective strategies and interventions to help them to spell better. I don't think it's just children with dyslexia that have been failed by that.

WhirlwindHugs Sat 12-Mar-16 08:42:30

The problem isn't that we shouldn't have any expectations about dyslexic kids learning to spell it's that they shouldn't be held back from exploring other areas of English that they are better at while working on them.

My understanding is that kids who fail sats in yr6 have to redo them in yr7, so a child who could be in a higher ability group (with spelling intervention) in yr7 will instead be put in a resit group possibly spending large amounts of time on work they can already do.

ShreddieMonster Sat 12-Mar-16 09:00:30

Mrz are those words that current year 6 should be able to spell? I have a bright year 6 who is a dreadful speller (I think possibly dyslexic) was going to try and do some spelling work over Easter with her.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 12-Mar-16 09:35:23

That is the list. As well as the syllables, I would go through and see if you can find any 'groups' of words with the same tricky parts and teach then together.

e.g. early, earth, heard, learn
caught, naughty
fruit, bruise
eight, eighth, weight

It isn't a great list from that point of view, but you might be able to get at least a handful of the words out of the way.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 12-Mar-16 09:50:52

This is the Spelling Appendix for years 1-6. In the short term, focusing on the list will help her with the KS2 tests. Those lists are undoubtedly easier for children who have a firm grounding in the basics of phonics and spelling and know the majority, if not all of the spelling alternatives for each sound.

If her spelling is poor, then you might find that she has a number of gaps in earlier work that will need addressing in the long term.

spanieleyes Sat 12-Mar-16 09:54:23

Although spellings tested in the KS2 SATS may not be those exact words but may be words that follow similar patterns

ShreddieMonster Sat 12-Mar-16 09:57:44

The problem is knowing where to start. I have flagged it to the school over the years but they do not seem concerned. I did start a thread a few weeks ago on SEN questioning if she was dyslexic. Not sure how to link to it.

EdithWeston Sat 12-Mar-16 10:01:25

Can I ask for a bit of advice?

Dyslexic DD can spell when she's thinking about it (passes spelling tests, understands spelling patterns) but it all goes to pieces in the wild, and she misspells all sorts of words, even very simple ones. She has had various interventions and support in school, and I don't think there are gaps as such. But clearly something isn't clicking.

Are there any activities you'd recommend in these circumstances?

LittleCandle Sat 12-Mar-16 10:21:01

Sometimes you just have to accept that interventions won't work. DD2 is severely dyslexic and has had lots of help, but there are a lot of words she can't spell at all and explaining about groups of words really doesn't help. Somewhere, she is missing the thing that makes that kind of connection and even intensive coaching has not helped. However, she is now doing a joint degree in two difficult subjects at university. she does get help and support when needed and is on course for a 2:1.

The problems are the tests. Why do the schools have to have so many pupils passing at a certain grade? Kids are now taught to pass exams, not actually taught to read and count properly. Scrap the system and go back to basics. Teach reading, spelling and maths properly; give help and support to those who need it and allow kids to enjoy their schooling instead of constantly worrying about useless tests.

goingmadinthecountry Sat 12-Mar-16 10:31:41

My dyslexic ds still can't spell but no-one has ever labelled him thick. ChalkHearts, however my ds had been taught he wouldn't retain those spellings. We tried so many methods - I even took the Dyslexia Institute postgrad diploma! OK, he's better than he would have been. He passed his 11 plus and did OK at grammar school and now is lucky to be doing a course he loves and excels in. It took a while for me to see that there's more than one way to achieve I'm afraid. His older sisters never struggled academically.
I teach Year 6 and take exception to the fact that I only care about spelling marks for school results.
I thought it was very unfair to mark children down in the writing for spelling then I saw the exemplar material. Even the exceeding child had a fair few grammar, punctuation and spelling errors so I'm not going to panic. I'm just going to carry on encouraging my lovely class to enjoy doing the very best they can.

Feenie Sat 12-Mar-16 10:53:00

I don't object to an emphasis on making sure children can spell, and I would say my standards as a teacher are high. Spelling matters, of course it does. I do object to children not awarded 'Expected' if their spelling in their own writing isn't good enough. I struggle with the idea that a child could be a gifted writer but not even reach age related expectations, and I worry about what that would do to a child's self-esteem.

mrz Sat 12-Mar-16 11:19:55

In their own work they are allowed dictionaries and word banks according to various authorities (mine hasn't passed anything on to schools yet).

Feenie Sat 12-Mar-16 11:26:00

It's in this clarification document, mrz:

They wouldn't have had to clarify anything if they hadn't made such a pig's ear of it in the first place.

mrz Sat 12-Mar-16 12:20:35

Id also be interested in what is "most" ...over half?

Feenie Sat 12-Mar-16 12:31:09

I know, doing my head in - along with trying to think how I can make sure my Y2s use Nick Gibb's definition of an exclamatory sentence in their writing, especially when I have trouble explaining it to intelligent adults.

ChemicalReaction Sat 12-Mar-16 12:54:16

Sorry, just to clarify, the actual lists in the links, are they the words the children are definitely expected to know?

Dd cannot spell any of the year one words. She has gone from eight words a week to four words and is still not getting them all. I do not know how she would get to expected standard of year one at this rate. Equally, ds cannot spel the year three words yet, or even the year two words reliably. He is year four.

I will work these lists over the Easter and summer break as school say there are no issues.

mrz Sat 12-Mar-16 12:59:26

RetellingLittle Red Riding Hood
What big eyes you've got! 😉
His definition is correct for formal grammar not sure it's needed for 6/7 year olds

irvine101 Sat 12-Mar-16 13:09:51

Chemical, at my ds's school, they are getting words from the list for spelling test along with others every week.(YR3).
It used to be, they had different list according to ability, and if you get them wrong, you get same word again next week, but now they stopped doing it. So if the child didn't retain the word, it seems like it's left to the child or parents to make sure you do, otherwise you will get left behind. Not great system.

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