Monday, July 20, 2015

Don’t forget about spelling!

It's that time of year again when teachers are looking for new ideas to bring to their classrooms.  As the new school year approaches, I find myself thinking about our spelling program (among a million other things)!

Research has shown that integrated approaches to spelling instruction will benefit students more than just rote memorization.  At my school, spelling instruction includes a variety of integrated approaches such as:

  • explicit instruction of irregular words
  • study of word/syllable patterns
  • word sorts
  • application of spelling rules
  • phonemic instruction
  • instruction on prefix/suffix & root words
  • spelling instruction connected with reading instruction
 If you would like to find out more about best practices in spelling instruction click here for a great resource called "Why Teach Spelling?"

Moving to a new grade has given me a chance to consider how I can further support my students in their spelling acquisition. I have decided to implement weekly spelling contracts with my fourth graders this year as a way to solidify and extend the spelling instruction they receive. I chose to create spelling contracts which: 
  • are appropriate for independent practice
  • hold students accountable
  • provide differentiated activities
  • allow for student choice 
Consider using differentiated spelling contracts that promote student choice!
Teachers also know that students like novelty, so I decided to create several different contracts which I can rotate through during the year.  I am hoping this will help students steer clear of the mundane repetition that may occur when the same contract is used all year long.

What approaches do you implement in your spelling program and how are you motivating your students to study spelling independently? 
I would love to hear from you!

If you are interested in my spelling contracts you may follow this link to TPT.

Font Credit; Burst My Bubble, KG Fonts


  1. I haven't quite decided how to implement spelling practice next year. Last year, morning work consisted of spelling practice in the form of cursive, word sorts, ASL finger spelling, etc. This was in third grade. The system lacked the element of choice, which you mentioned, and I think is very important. I'm re-reading Word Journeys and plan on differentiating lists that way next year. I used in a previous year teaching and loved it. Not sure why I haven't used it since. I'm also ready The Daily 5 and feel like I'll be working spelling practice into Word Work there.

    1. Integrating spelling practice with other daily activities is a great way for students to increase familiarity with their words. The more authentic the exposure, the better. Sounds like you are really thinking about how you might best approach spelling with your kiddos! And you're right- student choice is always a powerful option. Thanks for your insights, Dawn!

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