We know more about the teaching of spelling than we ever have, and we know it is not helpful for students to write a list of words several times over. It actually becomes a rote activity, perceived as busy work, and will not help any child remember to spell those particular words in the long term. That is why educators across the country, myself included, have embraced spelling instruction that reflects the interplay of sound, pattern, sight, and meaning relationships. By using effective methods and resources such as word sorts, building words with letter cards or tiles, word hunts, environmental print, and sentence dictation, teachers are assisting today’s spellers to accurately, consistently, and independently produce words in writing.
To provide additional practice time as homework, I sent the word sorts and letters from building words home on those days when we used them in class. A set of instructions always accompanied these words and letters. In the beginning, I found that on those nights that I did not assign spelling homework, parents would, on their own, resort to having their child do what was asked of them in their elementary school years - the dreaded writing of each word three to five times! Realizing how fortunate I was to have such strong parental support, I couldn’t tell the parents not to do that without providing them with alternative ideas that were engaging and had little to no cost.
The ideas in the Spelling P.A.C.T. book came from all the activities I used in my classroom to motivate students prior to using word sorts, environmental print, word hunts, etc. I hesitate to admit that in those days I did the “fun” activities at school while I assigned the “five times each” as homework. Now that I’ve adopted the more meaningful approaches in my classroom (which, by the way, students still consider “fun”), I’ve turned over the former fun activities to the parents through this book.
Teachers simply need to send one sheet home each week with the students’ spelling words or sentences. The activities are self-explanatory. It is not necessary to use them in order, and there are more than enough sheets to accommodate an entire school year, using one per week. I have even allowed for a place on the bottom for parents to initial indicating that they helped their child with their spelling homework each evening.
These ideas are also easily adaptable as learning center activities in any primary grade classroom.
I am certain that you will find this a valuable resource to compliment your own classroom spelling/phonics program.