Spelling, in general, is a tricky skill for many students. Spelling rules are typically even more challenging. Not only does the student have to segment the sounds that comprise the word, he/she must also recall the steps of the rule, prior to spelling on the page. With all these moving parts, it’s no wonder some students tend to easily check out, including guessing while spelling.
We can help our students be more successful by laying out a spelling rule on paper. Before students spell a word, using a checklist can help keep all the steps of the rule in the front of the mind.
SLFZ Spelling Rule
Do you hear the /s/ /l/ /f/ or /z/ sound at the end of the word?
Does the /s/ /l/ /f/ or /z/ sound follow a short vowel?
If your word does not meet both checkpoints, keep the single s, l, f, or z.
Besides a checklist, we can also consider using a mnemonic device to help recall a multi-step spelling rule.
Sammy Loves Fluffy Zebras
Sally Loves Fried Zucchini
We can personify Sammy/Sally and make him/her real! A simple paper bag puppet will do the trick. When students are spelling, they know Sammy/Sally will appear to remind students of the steps of the rule. Sammy/Sally can have a specific “voice,” and he/she can also help correct miscues along the way.
About the Author
Angelina Spiteri-Bender, CDP
Angelina is the Learning Center Director at Brainspring Grosse Pointe and is also an Instructor at Brainspring Educator Academy.
Bring Brainspring Orton-Gillingham multisensory instruction to your classrooms, transforming struggling K-12 readers into skilled learners through our effective, evidence-based approach
For more information please visit brainspring.com or call 1-8007323211