The complimentary service from HowToLearn experts where you can ask questions and today’s question comes from Sareb who asks about spelling strategies.
I homeschool my 6 year old daughter using both phonics and sight reading approaches. She started grade 1 in March this year.
She reads her readers easily but struggles with spelling (her curriculum may be a bit advanced with some advanced digraphs). I also notice that she is starting to confuse her b’s and d’s, and reverse the loop on her t’s. Perhaps she is too young to expect much, but would appreciate your input. Can you advise me in the mean time on some spelling strategies I can use to help her spell?
ANSWER from Pat Wyman, Official Expert on Learning Styles and Learning Strategies
You indicated several items in your question about spelling strategies.
First, in a 6 year old, it is not uncommon to reverse b’s and d’s when learning new spelling strategies.
However, it is also important to make sure your daughter’s visual and perceptual skills are intact and working properly so you know how she sees the printed page and that her reversals and other challenges are not part of a larger visual and perceptual problem.
In other words, you want to make sure that her struggles are not based on the fact that she does not see the printed page the way others do. If she were to have an underlying visual or perceptual problem, you would want to address that first before addressing spelling strategies, since her visual stress would make other learning very challenging.
To find our more about your daughter’s eyesight and vision skills, have her take the free Eye-Q Reading Inventory. Once you’ve done that, you may find out that she needs a vision checkup with a developmental optometrist and the information about how to do that is on that page.
Next, in terms of spelling strategies you will want to know that all great spellers such spelling bee champions all use the same visual picture oriented strategy.
What they do is to visualize the word in their mind as a picture. They look at a word, and put it on a mental blackboard if you will, so that when they need to spell the word again, they can look up and see the word in their mind easily. For them, their spelling strategies include looking up at a screen as if they are at the movies or looking upward at that mental blackboard and seeing the words.
Good spellers know that you cannot sound out thousands of words in the English language because they often don’t sound as they are spelled. Therefore they need visual spelling strategies to help them.
Their spelling strategies utilize the visual mental blackboard we just talked about and some people put their words or certain letters in various colors on their inner mental blackboard or movie screen to make them easier to remember.
On our HowToLearn.com site there are two spelling strategies programs which have excellent and very effective spelling strategies to help your daughter. One is the Super Speller Strategy and the other is from our Official Phonics and Learning Expert’s company, ClickN KIDS which is called ClickN SPELL . ClickNKids also has the finest phonics program I have ever reviewed as a reading specialist and that is called ClickN READ Phonics.
All three programs provide excellent help for your daughter and give her results-oriented spelling strategies.
Posted by +Pat Wyman, author and founder of HowToLearn.com