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Yr 2 Spellings

(25 Posts)
Emily3030 Wed 17-Sep-08 23:39:29

My son aged 6 nearly 7 has always struggled with spelling. We didn't bother too much with them as I thought it was far too young. This year, I thought we'd make the effort, hoping that his brain is that more developed and perhaps would learn quicker.

This weeks spelling list consisted of ten, I'd say quite hard to learn words. Please tell me what do you think? Are these hard? Is it just me?

First of all we concentrated on the first 3 words, After, About and Again. We spent an hour on these three alone writing them out time and time again. Still, he doesn't know them. He'll remember them for a while, like ten seconds after first writing them, then it just completely vanishes from his head.

Am I wasting our time? He will never, ever know the whole list by Friday.

purpleduck Wed 17-Sep-08 23:47:34

I am not sure, but I will bump it for you...
do they also write them out daily in class?

I probably wouldn't spend so much time on something that hasn't clicked with him yet though

<<<looks around for someone else with better answers>>>

Emily3030 Wed 17-Sep-08 23:50:37

Thank you purpleduck! I'm worried that by neglecting spellings last year I've potentially damaged his brain and he'll never pick them up! He must have written those three words out 50 times each and he still doesn't know them. Utterly pointless.

HonoriaGlossop Thu 18-Sep-08 00:22:39

I agree Emily, it is pointless doing it for that long. Far, far too long. I'd say five or ten minutes at the most for homework at this age. And concentrate more on reading with him and ensuring he loves and is enthused by books, I'm sure that will do far more good for his spelling in the long term than hours of boring writing out.

I do sympathise actually as my ds is also in year two though he's a year younger than yours, and it does suddenly make you worry that they are coming up to junior age! However I'm trying very hard to keep to my approach as I am SURE our boys will get there in the end and pressure at home is NOT the way that will really help IMO.

infin Thu 18-Sep-08 09:08:15

These are all key words on the Y1/Y2 list. The are at the more difficult end of the spectrum but would not be unusual words to appear of a Year 2 list at this stage of the year.

However, I think 10 is too many for a lot of children of this age; are the rest of the words similarly difficult or do they follow a more regular pattern?

It sounds to me as if the teacher may not be differentiating the spellings appropriately for different ability levels. Is your son making good progress in reading (and can he actually read these words? If he is reading simple books these words will be a huge challenge.

I would have a words with his teacher and explain the problems you have had. Otherwise your son will possibly do badly on the weekly test (if there is one) and the teacher may assume that he has not tried to learn them. Good luck!!

Niecie Thu 18-Sep-08 09:19:15

You haven't damaged his brain - he just isn't quite ready yet.

Have you tried making a game out of it? Does he always write them down? 10-15 minutes is enough but if you take the same approach all the time it might help to vary how you do it.

Our way of getting through the ordeal (DS1 is now in Yr 4) is to get him to read the words, just to make sure he at least knows them. Then I get him to spell them out verbally so he hears and sees the spellings at the same time, which reinforces the message, and then he has a go at writing them.

But there are other ways of doing it. <scratches head to think of some>

How about using magnetic letters on a magnetic board. Or have bits of paper with the letters on so that your DS can pick out the letters he needs and put them in the right order. You could start off with only giving him the letters he needs and getting them into order and then giving him lots of letters and getting him to pick them out and put them in order.

If you have the time/room/energy you could even do them quite large and put them on the floor for him to jump on. He could jump from letter to letter saying them out loud and only write them down when he has that had a go.

I think it helps to be a bit imaginative about it - I am not very good at taking my own advice but have done so on the odd occasion and at least it will be a bit of fun!

justgotbfp Thu 18-Sep-08 09:22:21

Also try different ways of teaching him rather than just copying out.
Have the word written on a card and then the letters and get him to match them up...also write some simple stories with a blank for the word they are needing to learn and first get him to insert the card with the whole word then the individual letters in the right order eg ""Thomas ran again" "Mummy ran after Thomas" "This story is about Thomas" it is a very visual and hands on way of connecting the word with the individual letters and can be a more enjoyable way for children to learn. I agree that 10 is too many unless there is a mix of easy and hard words. I would talk to the teacher and take 5 or 10 minute lessons and mix up the way you are helping him as some children just have trouble with the prescribed method of write it out until you learn it.

bigTillyMint Thu 18-Sep-08 09:29:40

They are giving him those words so you can teach him to spell them, so he gets a good SATs result, so the school will look good in the league tables.

If they want him to learn how to spell, they should be using a phonics approach at his level!

Niecie Thu 18-Sep-08 09:30:51

Sorry, when I say spell them out verbally, he is reading the spellings out letter by letter. I have tried missing that stage out and it makes a difference but he isn't particularly a visual child, he seems to learn more by listening so hearing the letters helps.

Some children learn more by moving around which is why I suggested jumping on the letters on the floor.

The other thing I was going to say is mix them up a bit. Don't concentrate on 3 words to the exclusion of the others as you might find he can do some of the words on the list and it might give him a boost to find he can do some.

kittybrown Thu 18-Sep-08 09:35:33

Does he know his phonics? rather than writing them out over and over get him to read them out and split the sounds up as he does it. Then while he's writing them out get him to say the sounds to himself . When you say a word quickly sometimes it's difficult to differentiate the sounds. This really helps my daughter who is not a natural speller.

kittybrown Thu 18-Sep-08 09:38:52

Niecie, you've just explained what we do better than I did.
I still sound my words out phonically when spelling them, I haven't missed out that stage either and i'm considerably older than yr4!

lucykate Thu 18-Sep-08 09:39:31

dd is yr2 and just started spellings, her school seem to be making to a bit more straight forward as the words they need to learn each week are linked, ie last week they all ended in 'ay', this week it's words containing 'ee'

infin Thu 18-Sep-08 09:40:18

I'm afraid I have to disagree with bigTillyMInt!! They have not assessed his current levl properly and are giving spellings that are too difficult AT THE MOMENT!

Irregular spellings such as these need to be learnt as soon as the child has the ability to retain them, using all the good strategies for learning spelling in the posts above.

Otherwise, you may find the situation I was confronted with yesterday....correcting 'then' 'when' and 'said' in the written work of a Year 5 child. Same child has these three words as their target words and has reviewed them twice a day for the past week!!

So, it is not for 'SATS'!! Teaching children to spell is simply a part of the curriculum!!

LadyPenelope Thu 18-Sep-08 09:43:54

For point of comparison, In Y2 DD had 5 a week to learn a week. DH used to do it over breakfast with DD for 5 or 10 mins. And we'd practise at other random times - in the car, or waiting for a bus etc either with piece of paper or just verbally. The school had 3 different levels depending on each child's stage.

The little and often worked for her and it's what we've continued with.

She likes to learn by :
Read it, copy it, cover it, write it out again. Then a "test" from us.

In Y1 her favourite way of learning was for me to write the words on little pieces of paper and hide them around the room. When she found it, she'd read it out, then put it face down and write it.

We also had those sticky bath letters for side of bath/tiles and used to practise words in the bath (until DS who was 2 at the time started to eat the letters!)

Is it possible that school have misjudged how ready he is for this? Perhaps he's been given the wrong words?

At school last year, they were allowed to colour a part of fish each time they practised their spellings. (5 or 6 sections I think) I liked it because it rewarded the effort rather than just getting it right.

smartiejake Thu 18-Sep-08 10:00:26

Hmmm I think these are hard. Kids of this age should be learning words which follow a pattern as some of the other posters have said. ALso 10 is far too many. These irregular spellings are tricky to remember and can take a very long time to learn.

A useful strategy is to see if there are smaller words inside the spelling. e.g. again has the word in at the end. about has out at the end.

Another is to make up a little rhyme for each letter. e.g.
A Frog Took Eddies Rabbit (after)

A Gorilla Ate Isobels Nanna (again)

A Bag Of Ugly Tigers (about)


Emily3030 Thu 18-Sep-08 22:21:11

Thank you all for your responses, I've read them all with great interest. I have tried to make the learning a bit more fun, we did a couple of games but tbh it just didn't help. I'll give the jumping on the letters one a go, I think he'll like that. I also explained "again" as aga in, but still, he just can't remember it! Same with "about", as ab...out. It's simply not sinking in. It's just so disheartening at the very start of the school year. He's also very frustrated and gets upset that he can't remember them, calling himself stupid.

Thanks for your input Infin, it's nice to hear your view. I know a set of mums who are adamant that everything the school does is solely for good SAT's results! I haven't lost sight of the fact that that school is trying to educate my son.

As far as I'm concerned the whole list is hard. I haven't bothered moving on to them as it'll just confuse him further. The list comprises:


He doesn't really understand when I explain the difference in meaning of the two there's.

Oh, and if we have time to learn (spelling of) the days of the week! This is all on top of weekly homework.

surreylady Thu 18-Sep-08 22:31:07

go to Rymans or similar about £3/4 buys a whiteboard and pen - worked for my DD when she started spelling tests in Yr1 - she read and wrote them a few minutes in an evening.

infin Fri 19-Sep-08 08:32:14

You should certainly see his teacher. Please tell her just how much time you've spent on the words and the variety of approaches you've used. Despite the fact that they are part of the Y1/Y2 irregular word list these words in a single list *are difficult* for the beginning of Year 2. I think if he'd been given 2 or 3 of the above words alongside a few phonetically regular words containing a pattern they'd been working on in class it would be more reasonable.

However, if after all the strategies you've traied he's finding the first three hard to remember they are certainly not appropriate for him at the moment.

infin Fri 19-Sep-08 08:35:20

Oops, tried. Clearly forgotten to learn my spellings this week!!

pigleto Fri 19-Sep-08 09:06:40

I try to do five mins morning and evening on the spellings. We try to make it fun. Ds does better when he makes up the little sentences. He seems to learn aurally more than visually so just writing them out over and over again is not enough (very good for his handwriting though).

I don't think those words are too hard for a average seven year old, but if he has been having trouble for a while the words he is given need to be achievable for his level. You should speak to his teacher about this. He should not be put off spelling at this age. I used to hate spelling tests.

LindzDelirium Fri 19-Sep-08 13:28:48

DD is in yr 2 and had HORRIBLE words last week with the silent "b" eg crumbs, thumb, lamb and plumber shudder

Emily3030 Wed 24-Sep-08 21:24:08

Oddly, this weeks spellings weren't half as bad. I had a word with Miss and she was very understanding...offering a simplified version instead. Huge, HUGE relief! Thanks again for your advice.

I have been thinking, on the quiet, of getting a private tutor, as he does struggle with a lot of his work. Has anyone else out there done this at such an early age?

lemonlady Wed 24-Sep-08 21:30:53

dd in yr2 not getting spelling until after oct break. (wholeclass).

lemonlady Wed 24-Sep-08 21:30:53

dd in yr2 not getting spelling until after oct break. (wholeclass).

Emily3030 Wed 24-Sep-08 21:39:17

Wow, that sounds more like it! I think it all depends on the teacher a little bit too. Last year he had a proper test every Friday, in a proper spelling book specifically for spellings, with ticks and nasty crosses (My son had a column of ten crosses one day) and comments like...Must try harder! I was utterly shocked and saddened. This year however, so far, there hasn't been a spelling book and in a letter it said "Children will practice spellings on a Thursday" No mention of an official test as such. Thank God!

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