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A descriptive study to determine the optimum climate for proficient spelling in upper elementary grades

Peterson, Jane B. author ;Monti, David A. thesis advisor


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  • Title:
    A descriptive study to determine the optimum climate for proficient spelling in upper elementary grades
  • Author/Creator: Peterson, Jane B. author
  • Monti, David A. thesis advisor; Central Connecticut State University. Department of Reading and Language Arts.
  • Creation Date: 1996
  • Language: English
  • Physical Description: [5], 73 leaves ; 29 cm.; paper 29 cm. ink typescript.
  • Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 68-72).
  • Subjects: Spelling ability; English language -- Orthography and spelling; Spelling, Psychology of
  • Description: Society values correct spelling. It is almost considered a courtesy, a matter of etiquette. To empower students to become competent, independent spellers is a goal of all educational systems. Today, however, spelling is an area of concern to teachers, administrators, parents and students alike. Why do words get spelled correctly on Friday's test and then misspelled on another piece of writing on Monday? Spelling is a big question mark for many. To obtain peak spelling performance from students, professionals need to be knowledgeable about current and useful information regarding the teaching and learning of language. Experts have differing viewpoints as to the best way to attain spelling proficiency. Latest research and newest proposals need to be examined in order to implement the most effective spelling strategies. Teachers need to acquire techniques to help students learn about written language in everyday use. Colleagues need to share their findings and experiences. For years, some spelling practices have been considered dry, dull, and ineffective. The transfer of skills to other areas of writing have been nonexistent in some cases. One of the most recent and important insights into the nature of spelling is the realization that spelling ability involves more than memorization. It is a conceptual process. Just as a baby goes through various stages before one speaks, spelling achievement is gained over time. It is developmental and should be individualized. Boredom and frustration levels must be avoided. Studies have shown that the biggest impact teachers can have on students' spelling efficiency is to immerse them in reading and writing activities. Providing generous exposure to print and offering numerous opportunities for interaction with the written word throughout the entire curriculum can only enhance students' spelling ability. Spelling is no longer considered segmented with instruction focusing on a particular unit in a spelling textbook. This practice is considered entirely too limiting. It has been concluded that spelling textbooks take up a great deal of time for the amount of learning that is provided. It is documented that most spelling errors occur because writers spell words the way they sound. The majority of words are sight words. Research indicates that selective formal spelling instruction is necessary as most children cannot learn to spell properly without some guidance. There are some experts who endorse an incidental spelling approach but their numbers are few. Authorities have found that an understanding of the history and structure of the English language is valuable. As spelling is sensible and logical, a systematic word study program is very likely to promote spelling accuracy. The fact that vocabulary and spelling are connected should be reinforced with older elementary children. Some authorities feel that teachers short change students if they do not make them aware of this rich link. Knowledge of word origins is a powerful base for learning spelling and vocabulary. Word studies help students investigate patterns, word units and meanings. This internalized knowledge of words enables students to examine why words are spelled the way they are and empowers them to transfer this knowledge to the unknown. Teachers need to emphasize and model the methods or strategies that competent spellers use. Initial strategies cultivate positive attitudes and foster good spelling habits. It is strongly recommended to teach words that children use most often in their writing. There are various lists available but there are very few differences among them. For the upper elementary grade students, strategies include promoting useful generalizations, word sorts, knowledge of the meaning relationships among words and how the meaning influences the spelling. It is inherent that good self-monitoring and editing skills are instilled. Teachers should utilize mini-lessons when necessary. The use of personal spelling dictionaries should be encouraged. Students need to know how to readily tap appropriate resources when spelling is difficult. As many resources as possible should be made available within the classroom. There are many activities that upper elementary students can utilize to reinforce proper spellings. These exercises or practices help students absorb the visual aspects of words, as well as prefixes, suffixes and root words. Activities may be in the form of puzzles, games, word hunts, word pyramids, just to name a few. Many of these motivational activities are fun, yet promote learning. No longer are Friday's test scores the sole indicator of a successful speller. Rather, spelling proficiency is measured in a number of ways. Informal assessment has been validated. Teachers know their students strengths and weaknesses through observations, conferences and written records. It is essential that students be part of the evaluation process. They have more ownership when included in the examination of language components. Assessments can be very positive if new proposals are given serious consideration.
  • Notes: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 68-72).
  • Degree Granted: M.S. Central Connecticut State University 1996
  • OCLC Number: 36134226