PDST - Primary Language Curriculum e-Bulletin 4 - Spelling and Word Study

This e-Bulletin will focus on Writing, Learning Outcome 4 - Spelling and Word Study / Scríbhneoireacht, Toradh Foghlama 4 - Litriú agus Staidéar ar Fhocail. We will outline some resources and playful and engaging learning experiences which may be useful when supporting children developing these outcomes.

Spelling is a learned skill and it can and should be explicitly taught. It is only by looking at the types of words students get wrong and errors they make, can one decide how to tailor appropriate spelling instruction (Joshi, 2003; Masterson and Apel, 2000). Words that present a learning opportunity, words that a child reads and writes frequently, commonly misspelt words, high frequency or high interest words and personal words can all form part of a child's spelling programme.

Children learn to spell through a number of overlapping developmental stages: Knowledge of meaning (morphology), Knowledge of sound-letter relationships (phonology), Knowledge of pattern (orthography), Knowledge of word origin (etymology)

Children do not learn these skills one by one or in isolation. A child in the phonetic stage of spelling may benefit from the knowledge that ‘s’ denotes plural so that they can spell ‘dogs’ rather than ‘dogz’, or a child with an interest in ballet may benefit from knowing that its word origin is influenced by its French history.

These activities and experiences can be explored collaboratively, in parallel or individually by children depending on the classroom environment that you are presented with this year. All activities can be tailored to the needs, abilities and interests of your classroom.

Aistriú scileanna: Is féidir formhór na straitéisí agus gníomhaíochtaí seo a dhéanamh nó a aistriú chuig Gaeilge.

Writing: Learning Outcome 4: Spelling and Word Study Scríbhneoireacht: Toradh Foghlama 4: Litriú agus Staidéar ar Fhocail

Writing: Learning Outcome 4: Spelling and Word Study
Scríbhneoireacht: Toradh Foghlama 4: Litriú agus Staidéar ar Fhocail

Task Card 1: Making Words

Spelling is a visual motor skill. ‘Making Words’ embodies both motor and visual approaches to learning spellings. It is an example of a pedagogic type of instruction called Guided Discovery. In order to truly learn and retain strategies, children must discover them (the constructivist approach). Some children do not make these discoveries on their own. In a ‘Making Words’ activity, teachers guide children toward those discoveries. Every ‘Making Words’ activity provides the opportunity to transfer the concept developed to reading and spelling new words. Aistríonn na gníomhaíochtaí seo go héasca chuig Gaeilge nó teangacha eile. Is gníomhaíochtaí spraíúla iad seo le déanamh agus na daltaí i mbun foghlama an litrithe agus fónaic na Gaeilge.

Task card 1 explores the making words approach to teaching spelling, making spelling an active game, not a passive chore.

Task Card 2: Playful Approaches

Once we learn how to spell a word, it’s mostly something we do automatically, without thinking about the letters we need or the order they need to come in. But for this to happen, we need to build up experience with a word. When a child associates spelling with enjoyable, fun and positive experiences, it helps to encourage him or her in spelling as well as in reading and writing.

Task Card 2 includes some examples of playful approaches that can be used in the classroom or at home. It would be important to teach them at whole class level first and then the children will be able to use them independently either individually or in small groups. D’fhéadfá na gníomhaíochtaI seo a úsáid don Ghaeilge nó don Bhéarla.

Task Card 3: Word Sorts

Word study is a guided self-discovery of how words work that promotes thinking rather than just memory. It leads children to an understanding of why words are written in a particular way. Word sorts are activities that involve learners sorting words into categories that share a particular feature such as sound, pattern, or meaning. Words and word patterns are chosen to reflect the developmental level and needs of the children in the group which allows for a differentiated and child centred approach to improving spelling. Students can be involved in creating or cutting their own words and may keep them for repeated sorts. Word sorts could be integrated into the digital technologies available using the dragging function on devices. Word sorts can fit in with existing practices and resources in the classroom. Tá samplaí ar an gcárta de shortáil na bhfocal i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla.

Task Card 4: Exploring Origin and Meaning of Words

The English language, as spoken in Ireland has a rich history that has been influenced by many other languages. The spelling of a word may be influenced by its sound, meaning, origin and history. “An effective speller draws upon the entire rich linguistic tapestry of a word to spell it correctly.” (Adoniou, 2014).

Exploring the origin and meaningful parts of words can aid spelling. Students can use online dictionaries such as https://www.etymonline.com/ to explore the origin of words and to see how words are related across English and other languages. Activities such as word webs, word trees and visual verbal graphic organisers can aid the development of morphological knowledge and enhance both spelling and vocabulary development.

Task Card 5: Strategies to Support Spelling Development

Effective spelling strategies enable children to retain the sequential look, shape, sound and feel of a word. The strategies for spelling must be motivating, as well as effective and efficient. There are many strategies that can be used. What is important for children, is identifying the strategy/strategies that works for them. A number of strategies will be explored in this task card and encompass the importance of multi-sensory learning.

Task Card 6: Differentiation for Spelling

In order to provide the best available instruction in spelling, it is essential that teachers determine the stage of development that each individual child has reached (Sipe, 2008). This allows teachers to provide explicit teaching, feedback, activities and resources that appropriately match the children's interests, needs and abilities. Differentiation is about taking account of all learners in a class and forms part of child centred practice. What is important in differentiated instruction is assisting each child to develop the learning outcome at their own pace through teaching approaches such as individual spellings based on identified needs, playful learning experiences and meaningful engagement by maintaining interest through choice.

Task Card 6 provides examples of meaningful and authentic learning experiences that afford choice while taking into account all children’s interests, needs and abilities.

Tá na samplaí seo thíos oiriúnach don Bhéarla nó don Ghaeilge, agus is féidir aistriú scileanna a dhéanamh idir na teangacha.


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