Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Moderators: Debbie Hepplewhite, maizie, Lesley Drake, Susan Godsland

User avatar
Debbie Hepplewhite
Administrator
Posts: 3654
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:13 pm
Location: Berkshire
Contact:

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:58 pm

Jenny - do you ever get to see the writing books of the children in the school where you hear readers?

chew8
Posts: 4171
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:26 pm

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by chew8 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:26 pm

No, but I can ask to do so. I did look at all their spelling test scripts last year and will do so again this year.

Jenny C.

User avatar
Debbie Hepplewhite
Administrator
Posts: 3654
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:13 pm
Location: Berkshire
Contact:

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:54 pm

I think it would be very interesting for you to look at the children's books -especially where they are writing freely.

This might give you a clearer idea as to standards for spelling, handwriting and punctuation.

If you get a chance, look at the writing books of children in other schools too. Maybe then you will appreciate my passion for improving the teaching of basic skills - including spelling, sentences, punctuation, grammar - in key stage two.

chew8
Posts: 4171
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:26 pm

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by chew8 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:00 pm

Debbie:

I do not need converting to the idea that there is a crying need to improve standards of spelling, punctuation and grammar. I have been saying this since the early 1980s, publicly where possible. I have been at least as passionate as you about this. Where we seem to disagree is on how best to tackle the specific matter of teaching spelling after Year 2.

Jenny C.

User avatar
Debbie Hepplewhite
Administrator
Posts: 3654
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:13 pm
Location: Berkshire
Contact:

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:08 pm

My apologies, Jenny. I have got the impression that not only is there some variance about the way to carry the teaching of spelling forwards into key stage two but that you are worried about able children receiving inappropriate and unnecessary instruction.

I have asked people, however, to describe how they would teach spelling from year three onwards and there has been little response so far. How would you envisage the actual spelling lessons? Maybe we are not that far apart after all.

chew8
Posts: 4171
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:26 pm

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by chew8 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:11 pm

Debbie wrote:My apologies, Jenny. I have got the impression that not only is there some variance about the way to carry the teaching of spelling forwards into key stage two but that you are worried about able children receiving inappropriate and unnecessary instruction.
I can't understand how you have got this impression, Debbie. I have said that I am fully in favour of the ongoing teaching of spelling after Year 2 - the only thing I have said I am uneasy about is the idea that this should continue to involve ongoing systematic phonics teaching. When I was teaching at secondary level (mostly in S.Africa, but also for a year in England), and when I was teaching 6th-formers, I always taught spelling as well as punctutation and grammar - I believe that all three need to be taught for many years after Y2. I taught spelling, however, mainly by talking students through their errors and occasionally giving whole-class lessons on words with which many had problems. My teaching often involved suggesting 'spelling pronunciations' and morphological points - see my pamphlet Spelling Rules OK. Would I have written that with GCSE students in mind if I had thought that the teaching of spelling should stop after Year 2?
Debbie wrote:I have asked people, however, to describe how they would teach spelling from year three onwards and there has been little response so far. How would you envisage the actual spelling lessons?


I can't answer this question from personal experience of teaching at KS2, because I have never taught at this level - I have only worked voluntarily, and almost entirely on reading rather than spelling. The junior school where I help, however, has decided to start using the government's Support for Spelling this year. The school also tests reading and spelling twice a year, so is a good source of objective evidence. The first round of testing is due to happen round about now, but this is too early in the year to judge whether Support for Spelling has had any impact - and I don't even know whether the teachers have started using it yet, or if so, how systematically. I may have something to report in about 6 months' time.

Jenny C.

chew8
Posts: 4171
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:26 pm

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by chew8 » Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:57 pm

I can add one little snippet:

The junior school where I help has made some use in past years of Violet Brand's Spelling Made Easy, but I don't know how systematically. The most recent year for which I've found spelling ages for the Y6 children on the Vernon test is 2009. There were 80 children, and they were tested in March, when Y6s would typically be 11.0 years old on average. Their average spelling age was 13.1 according to the original 1975 norms and 13.0 according to the 2005/6 norms - either way, about 2 years above what one would expect for their age. So that is the sort of spelling level which is being achieved in a school which is teaching spelling quite systematically from Y3 to Y6 but not using an explicitly phonic approach - except, that is, for the children (usually about 15%) who have special tuition in small groups from a teacher who does a lot of phonics with them.

Can Debbie or anyone else provide anything for comparison?

Jenny C.

User avatar
Debbie Hepplewhite
Administrator
Posts: 3654
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:13 pm
Location: Berkshire
Contact:

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:38 pm

That's very interesting.

I've used Violet Brand's Spelling Made Easy in part and I have been very pleased to have had it. It still has a phonics approach, however, so I'm not sure why you say it isn't phonics.

It isn't quite what I promote now, but the notion of cumulative text for reading, then for dictation is all part of Violet Brand's approach and this is not dissimilar to what I suggest. What I found helpful is that the children actually get their own photocopied text to work with - so they can writing on it, looking for graphemes and so on, and the teacher can use it as a teaching and tracking tool.

I have used Violet's programme's resources (some of them) for both mainstream and for intervention for both reading and spelling material in several schools.

In fact, I can say that her programme has influenced me along with other programmes.

The one strand of work that I do not like to use, however, is the editing strand. This is where children are faced with text which needs 'correcting'. I am not happy to provide children with work with errors for them to correct for several reasons.

One is that I don't think children should see wrong things, I think they should see correct things.

Two is that I don't want to promote the idea that children can write at length being careless about not writing in sentences and then returning to add punctuation at the end. I think children should be taught about sentences rigorously and they should be writing with the initial capital letter and adding other punctation at the time of writing each sentence. So, I don't want to even give teachers the notion that it is 'normal' to punctuate after the completion of the writing.

Three, children tend to fall into groups of those children who can see the main errors and can correct them for the most part - then these children didn't need the exercise. Other children are in a fog because they are weaker at sentences and punctuation in the first place. My view is that they need a different approach to teach them about forming sentences etc. rather than spend time looking at wrong material.

Time is so precious in our schools and teachers need to use the time very wisely to best effect.

The trouble I have found in some schools is that one teacher, or a couple of teachers, use material rigorously and wisely - and others don't. This is why I think 'whole school continuity' is something we should be interested in.

User avatar
Debbie Hepplewhite
Administrator
Posts: 3654
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:13 pm
Location: Berkshire
Contact:

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:43 pm

I've also learnt from Alpha to Omega. When I taught a mixed Year One/Two class (5 to 7 year olds), I achieved the highest standards in the authority for reading and writing at the end of key stage one. This was using Jolly Phonics and Alpha to Omega's resources to support my teaching and the children's learning.

So, it was me getting to grips with synthetic phonics teaching but having resources to support my teaching and to support the children's learning that really helped.

This is why I am very keen to promote the helpfulness of actual resources - but I know full well that a knowledgeable teacher could still do a good job without a comprehensive bank of resources. I suggest, however, that we need to have good standards across all our schools where teachers and assistants have variable knowledge and expertise, and that there are designs of resources which will prove to be more supportive and more effective over time.

chew8
Posts: 4171
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:26 pm

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by chew8 » Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:04 pm

Yes, you are right that Violet Brand's approach is phonic, Debbie. but as I say, I'm not sure that the school has used it systematically - my impression is that it has not played a major part in the teaching of spelling, but I'll try to find out. I'll also ask whether they have started using Support for Spelling and if so, how systematically.

Can you get a school using your materials to run the Vernon test with one or more year-groups? I have files full of Vernon results for Years 3 to 6, so could probably find scores for any of those year-groups to use for comparison.
Debbie wrote:The trouble I have found in some schools is that one teacher, or a couple of teachers, use material rigorously and wisely - and others don't. This is why I think 'whole school continuity' is something we should be interested in.
I think the problem of inconsistency and lack of rigour in following the 'script' is very hard to overcome. I was in a school just a few days ago where a teacher who was believed to be teaching a programme very well was actually taking a lot of liberties with it.

Kiki
Posts: 60
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:05 am

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by Kiki » Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:06 pm

Susan Godsland wrote:For 'The negative impact of seeing misspelled words' see p117-121 in Diane McGuinness's Early Reading Instruction.
I think Diane may have been particularly thinking of the method suggested by Reading Reflex/** called, if I remember right "Scratch Sheet Spelling". Students were taught to write out all the possibilities they could think of to write a word and then 'scratch' out the ones that looked wrong. For example, if they wanted to spell 'train' they might write out 'trayn', ''train', and 'trane' and then (hopefully) scratch out trayn and trane. Of course, the more often they wrote out incorrect spellings the harder it would be for them to recognise the correct spelling.

I have no idea if they still advocate this.

annwebster
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:11 pm

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by annwebster » Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:31 pm

Very interested to see read your views on Spelling Made Easy Debbie. I worked in a school where this was used (at my suggestion) very systematically for several years. I monitored the results and they were very good. A change of management decided that we must use Literacy strategy resources. I don't know what happened to results as i left soon after.
Three factors which I think influence spelling teaching are 1) spelling attracts so few marks in the NC tests- not really worth spending a lot of time on when you are chasing results 2) handwriting is so poor in many schools- the influence of a good joined script on spelling is widely recognised and 3) the dreadful practice of 'emergent' writing which results in children misspelling words over and over again in free writing without correction. I lived in France for several years and my 2 children attended primary school there. They did very little 'independent writing' until they could form ALL letters correctly in a joined script and their writing was mostly copying sentences they had dictated to the teacher (as we did in the 60s and 70s).

User avatar
maizie
Administrator
Posts: 3121
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 10:38 pm
Location: N.E England

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by maizie » Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:42 am

Kiki wrote:I think Diane may have been particularly thinking of the method suggested by Reading Reflex/** called, if I remember right "Scratch Sheet Spelling".
It would be very odd if she were! The programme you mention is actively promoted in Diane's 'Why Children Can't Read' and was developed by a, then, associate of hers.

g.carter
Posts: 1859
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 7:41 pm

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by g.carter » Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:59 am

Maizie, I think that scratch-sheet spelling was the one part of the programme that Diane didn't agree with - will check..

There's remarkably little written work done by primary children compared to years ago, I would think. I remember Debbie giving me a sample piece of work of her 6 -year- old class. They had copied out a poem - the cursive handwriting was uniformly fantastic - the only two exceptions I seem to recall, being children who had only recently joined the school. And each child had decorated their work. So much of the foundational work can be done during those first three years.

User avatar
Susan Godsland
Administrator
Posts: 4973
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2003 11:10 pm
Location: Exeter UK
Contact:

Re: Teaching spelling in KS2 and beyond

Post by Susan Godsland » Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:04 am

'scratch-sheet spelling was the one part of the programme that Diane didn't agree with'
That's correct -see Growing a Reader from Birth p260.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests