Spellin’ Speling and Spelling

How to teach spelling effectively has always been a focal point for teachers for generations. Gagen lists several guidelines to effectively teaching spelling to students. List should never be an arbitrary collection of words that are pulled together and tested at the end of the week. This promotes short-term learning of the words instead of the preferred long-term learning. Also, lists should never be thematic. Rather, lists should be more authentic, based on patterns, and based on common spelling rules. The most effective spelling lesson is build on increasing phonemic awareness. Decades of teaching materials have included worksheets for the teaching of spelling. Gagen warns against games and the use of misspelled words as distractors since they can actually distract students from learning the proper spelling of words. The best way for students to learn how to spell is through writing; either writing the word repeatedly or frequent writing assignments. Just as an athlete improves in his/her sport through practice, so do students in their spelling.

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