Jocelyn, a third grader struggling in spelling
Jocelyn is in third grade and consistently makes gross errors in spelling. Some of her errors consist of writing the word took as “toke,” went as “wehnt,” little as “litol,” really as “riliy,” and want as “wan’t.” At school, Jocelyn learns spelling through lists of random or arbitrarily selected words (for example, words that end in le). Jocelyn learns the spelling words primarily through drilling methods, such as writing each word five times, putting the words in alphabetical order, or using each word in a sentence. Since Jocelyn memorizes her spelling words right before the spelling test, she has a good grade in spelling. But because she has never been taught the proper phonic or letter-sound knowledge, she continues to struggle with spelling in actual writing contexts.
The Game Plan
All memorization methods for teaching spelling were stopped immediately. Instead, Jocelyn was taught to spell meaningfully by using letter-sound/phonic knowledge. Also, Jocelyn’s misspelled words were analyzed and her incorrect strategies corrected. Further, rather than learning random lists of spelling words, Jocelyn learned to spell words from actual writing contexts.