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By Peter Westwood

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Extra info for Spelling: Approaches to Teaching and Assessment

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48). In addition to the points above, proficient spellers also develop a range of mnemonic strategies (memory joggers) to apply when learning particularly difficult and irregular words. They are also skilled in using appropriate resources to check the spelling of specific words (for example, dictionaries, wall charts, vocabulary lists, computer spell-checkers). From an early age good spellers may show a genuine interest in, and curiosity about, words. They ask what specific words mean when they hear them and when they encounter them in books or in the wider print environment.

It is up to teachers to direct students’ attention to a particular contrast and 34 Spelling: approaches to teaching and assessment to create tasks that require students to do so (p. 166). The use of Word Sorts is strongly supported by Zutell (1998), Joseph (2002), and Joseph and McCachran (2003) as a valuable means of helping children recognise important letter patterns in and across words. Zutell states that middle primary school students introduced to Word Sorts showed positive changes in their spelling strategies, were enthusiastic about engaging in the activity, and indicated improved ability to use information about letter patterns to edit their own writing.

They must still retain 38 Spelling: approaches to teaching and assessment personal responsibility for making an honest attempt at typing in the correct sequence of letters when spelling the word. A sound approach to use is to encourage the student to print the first draft of the piece of writing without using the spell check. The student and a partner (or the student and the teacher) can then read the printout and discuss the spelling, as well as the ideas in the story. The student can use a pencil to circle any words he or she thinks may be incorrect.

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