Spelling – are you a Good or Bad Speller? There is no such thing – we can all be good spellers with the knowledge about how spelling ‘works!’
When you think back to how you learnt to spell you probably remember it fondly or with a negative mindset, depending on if you were seen to be a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ speller and you did well or poorly on those weekly spelling tests.
When we were at school the ultimate test of being the ‘good speller’ was the person that got 10 out of 10 for their spelling test at the end of the week. The person who memorised those 10 words but then was not necessarily able to use those words when needed when writing for a purpose, or perhaps they could but did not know ‘why or how’ they could spell that word correctly.
We now know that English spelling is complex, but it is not rule bound but rather there are different strategies and knowledge around how words work that can support all children to become better and more thoughtful spellers.
A classic example of the ‘rule bound’ approach to spelling that we were all taught was i before e – except after c. For example: species, science, except after c – receipt does not fit this rule, and there are many other examples.
The approach to teaching spelling thankfully has changed! We want to develop the mindset of children who are excited about spelling and who want to explore and problem solve spelling options using their understanding about how spelling works – not to get 10/10 on a weekly spelling test! We are also building understanding with our learners that the purpose for spelling is linked to being a better writer in order to get your message across to the audience for your writing – again, not to do well on a spelling test.
Across the school, R- 7 we are implementing a Word study approach that supports our learners to problem solve around words, give spelling a go, with knowledge around spelling patterns and strategies – NOT rules, and to learn that trying to spell new and unfamiliar words is a great thing to do as a learner linked with our values of persistence and growth mindset.