Across the country several school children feel a sense of impending doom as the dreaded weekly spelling test looms. This is because several of our pupils will have worked hard all week learning a list of words for a test and just know that despite their best endeavours a page of crosses and a big fat zero is coming as they somehow forget everything they have learnt.
So what can we do about this? How about we focus upon a ‘nearly there’ approach to errors as opposed to focusing upon what’s wrong? For example, if the word required to be learnt and written is ‘spoil’ and the pupils produces ‘spoyl’ we can take away a lot of positives. The error is phonetically plausible and logical meaning that the pupil:
- Can hear and isolate the appropriate units of sounds ready for writing.
- Understands and can apply some correct phonic choices.
- Is beginning to understand how phonics works.
So instead of ‘wrong’ we can say:
- You are fourth fifths of the way there!
- You have four out of five letters correct!
- Your spelling makes sense!
- You only have one letter left to learn to improve this spelling.
If we couple this by highlighting all of the correct letters, the pupil then has a visual representation of their success which will mean that making corrections and learning new spellings becomes much less daunting.
If we feel good, we then have a ‘can do’ attitude and might even enjoy learning to spell as confidence grows!
Written for Read Successfully by Beccie Hawes – Head of Service at Cadmus Inclusive