Suggestions for Use
Each year I make my own spelling book for my students. The booklet consists of 366 weeks of spelling, with each week devoted to spelling pattern or generalization. First, I make a copy of these 12 pages. I staple the twelve pages to the inside right cover of a folder and write on the outside, My Spelling Book. The students keep these at their desks all year. They are allowed to bring them home when necessary as long as they have them back the next day. The students use a composition book for their spelling work because these don’t fall apart like notebooks tend to do.
Why study spelling? Many people have differing views on the value of these exercises. Some believe that we shouldn’t bother with spelling because, after all, they can use the spell check on their computers to do this! Spelling is one of the essential components of successful writing. Confidence in spelling leads to confidence in all aspects of literacy. The ability to recognize the links between words of the same origin and understanding word relationships has been proven to aid comprehension skills. Research has found that spelling, reading, writing and comprehension skills are all closely linked. A research study conducted by L.C. Ehri for the Scientific Study of Reading found that spelling instruction improves reading ability. However, we don’t study the spelling of words per se. Instead, we study spelling generalizations and patterns. We learn about words in groups. The main reason we study these generalizations is because our state has a Revising and Editing portion of our state writing test. A student must learn to recognize the correct spelling of certain words.
Students work on each day’s assignment first thing in the morning right after they have completed their journal work for the day. We start each spelling session by exchanging and checking the work from the day before. Next, I usually give them about 12 to 15 minutes to complete the day’s activity. My goal is to spend only a few minutes of our day’s schedule on these activities. Students have spelling homework Monday through Thursday nights to finish whatever was not completed in class.
Each week’s spelling work follows the same routine. On Mondays, they alphabetize their word list. On Tuesdays, they syllabicate the words. On Wednesdays, the activities vary. On Thursdays, they write their words 5 times each or complete a small word search (I’ve included a copy of one at the end), and on Fridays I give them a test on the words, selecting only 10 of the words for each week’s quiz. For those weeks that are short due to a holiday or staff development day, the schedule remains the same, but I give them a little longer period of time for each assignment – and they can always finish at home.
Word Wall Words
I have provided you with all of the spelling words in large colored print for your word walls. I use pocket charts to display the words. I laminated these pages, cut them apart, and stored each week’s words in legal-sized envelopes. I used card stock to print the words, but you can also use just regular weight paper, especially if you are going to laminate them. Every Friday morning, I get the kids to take down the words from the pocket chart and replace them with the words for the next week.