Strategies for Spelling Instruction - National Council of Teachers of English
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Strategies for Spelling Instruction

The National Spelling Bee Finals are held this week! Hundreds of student spelling champions, ranging from 9 to 15 years old, will travel to Washington, DC to compete in the National Spelling Bee. To learn more about what it’s like during the event and how these spellers prepare, read “An Insider’s Perspective on the National Spelling Bee: An Interview with James Maguire” from Voices from the Middle.

How can you help students become accurate and independent spellers? Check out “Spelling — What’s All the Fuss?“, Chapter 1 from Spelling in Use by Lester L. Laminack and Katie Wood Ray, to learn more about how spelling fits into the broader topic of learning to write. Designed for teachers and families, the book features stories from real classrooms and rich examples of student writing.

Read the English Journal article “What I Wish I’d Known about Teaching Spelling” for eight recommended teaching practices. See “Spelling and the Middle School English Language Learner” for additional techniques to help the language learners you teach.

The article “Teaching Challenged Spellers in High School English Classrooms” from English Journal, also foregrounds writing as the key to spelling instruction. The article suggests that teachers begin by observing samples of students’ writing and then weave in skills lessons related to the spelling needs they observe.

To explore alternatives to teaching spelling in isolation, consider the ways that helping students to imagine themselves as writers “is much more complex than nurturing a more stable grasp of sentence clarity or spelling” in the Teaching English in the Two-Year College article “Imagine You’re a Writer”.

Winning the War of Words: Improving Our Students’ Spelling” from English Leadership Quarterly explains an alternative to the spelling bee that promotes camaraderie and offers students strategies for overcoming their spelling foes.

Will you tune into the Spelling Bee?