When I started teaching 10 years ago, the teaching and learning of spelling could hardly be described as a joyous activity. I would choose words from the textbook and write them on the board. Pupils would dutifully copy these words into their books and then proceed to learn them in preparation for the spelling test.
There are certain characteristics that influence a child’s spelling ability, apart from verbal intelligence, like visual perception of the word form, speed of writing and carefulness. Over the years we have come to understand more clearly that in learning to spell a word, both children’s visual and auditory memories have to work together in order to recall what is seen and what is heard. It is also essential that the remembered word can be written whenever it is needed. This memory recall plus its successful writing has to become an automatic process so that the written work can be fluent without ideas being impeded by retrieval of spellings. Being able to spell easily should lead to an enjoyment in writing creatively.
There are five stages which learners pass through on their way to becoming accurate spellers.
The author is a Dyslexia Practitioner based in Dubai. She can be reached at [email protected].