View Full Version : writing?
09-19-2007, 09:19 AM
My 8yo ds (grade 3) is ready to be writing more in his notebooks and such. The problem I'm running into is that he is such a terrible speller that the work is illegible if I let him do it himself. Now that I've commented on his spelling he sits beside me asking me how to spell every second word (which I don't really have time for). I'm not sure whether to have him dictate and copy his work or just let him write and not worry about his spelling. He has begun a phonics related spelling program - but it will be a while until his spelling catches up to his vocabulary. I'm just wondering what others do.
09-19-2007, 09:48 AM
Alison - this was/is my son. He's almost 11 now. We do some copy work daily. I find something he's interested in, print it on the computer for him to copy and when he's finished he draws at the bottom (a huge motivator for him!).
I keep his independent writing assignments pretty simple and basic. He gets most of the regular words, but commonly misspells complicated ones. I let him write, then go back and together we correct the one's he's gotten incorrect. I've given up the dictionary, because if he can't spell it he obviously can't find it. I don't sit beside him when he writes, because he will ask me even the easy words. I now expect appropriate punctuation and capitalization. We have a penpal, so his letters are one creative way to get his writing in - and he wants it to look nice.
Something that has helped us - we play SPELL THIS (a made-up game, but don't tell them!) in the car. On trips, I'll even take a small dictionary for new ideas to make sure I don't goof. We'll also put suffix's or prefix's on words to make new ones. You can do antonyms and synonyms....the car is a great place to have fun and learn!
09-19-2007, 03:08 PM
I'll glad you posted this. We've encounter a very similar problem with my oldest. He has also struggled with his reading, but after seeing a reading specialist all last year he has made improvements. Towards the end of the year his tutor was starting to focus more on his spelling (which is at times really awful!)
I too wonder when do I focus on correction or when do I just let him write. I found some articles from the Bravewriter website helpful.
I really want him to enjoy writing so usually I will just have him write what ever is on his mind. Then we'll go back and look at it. I try to focus on him getting his ideas down first. That is most important--we can always go back and correct.
One idea that our reading tutor gave me which I really like is to have my son go back and look at his writing after he does it and circle words that he thinks he has spelled incorrectly. It is amazing to me, but almost always he knows which words are incorrect. (It is easier to take than mom correcting it :))
I don't always make him correct the mistakes but we at least talk about them.
It helps me to see if there are words that he is commonly spelling wrong and then we focus on a few of them.
Every Friday we do an activity suggested on the Bravewriter website called Friday freewrite. We set the timer for 10 min (they can always write longer if they wish)and my boys write about anything they want to.
They read it to me and I only give possitive feed back--no corrections. I love this idea. They have such creative ideas--especially if they know they will not be corrected in anyway. Afterwards (when they are not around) I look at the writing. I have sometimes wanted to cry because the spelling and structure have been so bad. (I believe that there is an ariticle that addresses this on the Bravewriter website as well.)
However, I do see small improvements.
The way I look at it, if they enjoy writing then they will keep doing it. We can improve upon the spelling and grammar. But, if they hate writing it doesn't really matter if they are good spellers or not.
I want my guys to continue to express their creative thoughts and have fun with it.
Sorry this is so long--another thing I am convinced has made improvements in my sons spelling is the sequential spelling program. We just started towards the end of last year so we are still faily new to it but I love it.
09-19-2007, 03:34 PM
In watching the Institute for Excellence in Writing DVD's, the instructor makes a big point of the fact that if you're teaching writing don't get 'hung up' on spelling. Spelling, handwriting and to some extent grammar should be separate from beginning writing.
My 10 yo dd is a bad speller, so I feel your pain. I have been seeing improvement recently which gives me hope. Maybe having a sheet available to ds with the 100 most common words on it would be helpful to you both--it sure beats being the human dictionary!
I can't say been there, done that -- I can only say been there, still there. :)
Something that has really helped my son is a Spelling Dictionary. I got one from Scholastic. It has some spelling rules and common mistakes in the front. Then it lists over 16,000 words. It breaks them in to syllables. It does not include a definition so it is very easy to scan the list of words for the one you want.
Thanks for sharing your tips. I hope to see improvement this year.
09-21-2007, 09:28 AM
Not as a replacement for learning to spell, but as a temporary means of allowing him to learn to write, have you considered using a computer program that automatically corrects spelling? It won't catch everything, but it would at least allow him to be understood. The one at http://www.spellcheck.net/ will suggest words that are spelled similiarly.
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