Thursday, January 20, 2011

Conquering the Spelling Test

I hope the guys who painted this road were not Christian school graduates. In an age of spellcheck-dependent writers, we aim to teach students to know how to spell correctly. Besides the fact that correct spelling identifies an educated person and complements reading skills, poor spelling is downright embarrassing. For some students though, it’s inexplicable. The term frustration doesn’t begin to describe the feelings of some when it comes to taking spelling tests. Here are a few suggestions for conquering the spelling test and becoming an all around good speller.

1. Read. Nothing replaces regular reading as a means to become a good speller. The more you see words, the more natural correct spelling becomes.

2. Study in chunks. If you already struggle with spelling, don’t expect to cram it all in the night before the test. Start studying early in the week, and start with the words you perceive will be the most difficult. Don’t study too long; that can have adverse effects. That’s why you need to start studying early in the week, adding new words every day. Remember to review the words you already learned each day.

3. Apply your rules. Do you remember rules like ”i before e except after c, or when sounding like eigh as in neighbor and weigh”? You can find rules you learned in school, plus a lot more on Camilia Sadik’s website

4. Practice the test. You may think you are ready for the test, but taking a practice test is the only way to be certain. Try to mirror the test as closely as possible. Have a study partner call out the words while you write them. Grade it just like your teacher would grade the test. Just going through the exercise of grading your own practice test can be a beneficial task.

5. Say it before you write it. Some students find it easier to spell the word vocally than to write it. When practicing for the test, verbally spell the word before you write it down. Since your teacher will not approve of you using this method when you are actually taking test, advance to #6.

6. Visualize the word. As your study partner calls out a word, visualize it spelled correctly, then write it down.

7. Use them more often. Pick out the words giving your student the most difficulty, and suggest they use these words in their writing or speech as much as possible. Sometimes, words are difficult to spell because they seem foreign to us, not because they have a tricky spelling.

8. Use silly methods. Mnemonic memory methods can be used for spelling, and the more silly the method, the more likely you will remember it. Pick a tune and sing/spell difficult words. Create acrostics or silly associations. For example, to remember the correct spelling of "apparent", a child is born to two parents (two p’s) and they pay the rent (not rant).

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