Last term my children asked me for some spelling lessons. They felt that some of their friends were better spellers and they wanted to improve.
Our spelling lessons up until now with Master 11 and Miss 9 has mostly been copywork and some dictation. Feeling a little guilty that they asked to be better spellers, I thought that I would revisit the whole spelling curriculum and see what I should do.
I went to my favourite curriculum haunts, re read through some theories on spelling and again I landed smack bang back with Charlotte Mason’s dictation method.
I also was reminded that Charlotte didn’t start the dictation lessons until the kids were around 10 and that children were allowed to ease into it. That slightly appeased my guilty conscience.
So, this is what I have done.
1. I have increased the dictation lessons to 4 times per week.
2. I bought Spelling Wisdom Book 1. (I already have book 2 that I used for the older children). We have done Downunder Dictation already using copywork.
3. I have made a spelling chart for the children to use as they study their dictation.
This spelling chart is also useful for keeping a record of the words that they are having difficulty with. It has a space for the child to write out their word, work out the syllables and it gives them a place to tick when they can say it with their eyes closed.
You can download my spelling chart here.
4. We are having little reviews on difficult spelling words.
It is working well. The kids are passionate about it and I can see that they care about their spelling.
Incidentally Miss 13 has used this technique as the primary spelling method. Her spelling accuracy is 97% with dictation. When I see her letters to friends I see a few mistakes but on the whole things are pretty good.
On the other hand Master 15 who went to school nearly 2 years ago is having trouble with spelling. He hasn’t cared at all about his spelling even though he knew it needed work and has done most of his school work on a computer (spell checker) as he was is in a special laptop class. His spelling has suffered and I feel that I didn’t get enough time with him to make him care. Hurray! He has also decided that he will work on his spelling since a teacher has told him he needs to make an effort (even though Mum has said it 1000 times).