Spelling Tips for Children and Parents

Posted by jael on Sep 13, 2010 in Education, Parenting

Spelling is a Hallelujah breaker for children and adults.  To be more specific, Spelling homework and quizzes are constant Hallelujah breakers for elementary students (past 5th Grade, most students use Spell Check like the rest of us), and Spelling homework is a classic Hallelujah breaker for parents.

One of the serenity tippers to both parties is when a kid comes home with a list of family words and one or more Spelling rules.

Believe it or not, I like rules.  They are like runway lights.  They identify a course of safe passage.  However, what if a child brings home a list of words like:

CVVC rule/CVCe rule

boil        rain        name        heal       bake
score       hope        score       shade      tune

Given the English language has many Spelling rules that confuse native speakers, I wonder how a mother to whom English is a second language feels when an acronym riddled list like this comes home.

Acronyms, like professional vernacular, are only helpful when two people of the same subject matter expertise dialogue.  Using linguistic acronyms does not help the student or the parent understand a Spelling rule if it is not also operationally defined.  So if the parent has not learned that CVVC means a word characterized by the pattern of consonant, vowel, vowel, consonant, then it does not help anybody’s anything to be told, “To add –ed or –ing to a CVVC word, simply add it.”

Likewise, the listing CVCe offers no aid to the multi-tasking Mamma, who really needs to pack four lunches for tomorrow, thank you very much, and oh, by the way, The Husband is out-of-town on business, if she doesn’t know that the rule CVCe applies to the word pattern characterized by a consonant, vowel, consonant, silent (or magic in some circles) e.

If you still even care at this point, because no one gave you or your third grader a magic decoder ring for this exercise, that next requires her to sort her words, (for rules she did not know when she came home from school with the worksheet) and then creatively use the words to fragment a nursery rhyme correctly using forms of the listed words, or compose an original ballad with forms of the listed words that laments the European theft of  the Native American’s land and its culture, the student must also remember to apply the untaught rule, “To add an ending to a CVCe word, you first drop the silent e. Then add the ending:  -ed or –ing.”

As such, teachers and parents often notice their students misspell very common words. The English language has different grammatical rules. Below are some spelling rules I’ve adapted to assist other Mammas as they “support their children at home.” Keep in mind that there are always exceptions to every rule.

I Before E

Perhaps the best known spelling rule is, I before E, except after C. Children have been learning this little ditty, also known as a mnemonic device, forever.  What it really means is that if I (the student or the parent) don’t know what you (the teacher) Explained to my kid at school, it can’t be supported at home.

-Able and -Ible

Knowing whether to end a word with –able or –ible is often difficult.  Basically, if the teacher fails to clarify meaningful word patterns, the student and parent often become irritable and binge on the nearest edible consumable.

The Silent E

Silent E helps vowels to say their names is another common chant. This means that the words whose ending make the vowel say their name become enemies of the home, especially homes in which students are taught to hate coercion

Walking Vowels

When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking. This helps children remember all the times that they are asked a question and their parents hoard the conversation and answer for them.  It is rife with derision, and does not build strong relationships or essays.

Commonly Misspelled Words

  • Sieve (the immature brain container of what a child remembers was said during morning instruction)
  • Acceptable (appreciation of the differences in family’s cultures)
  • Space (to accept how individuals are uniquely and perfectly made)
  • Peace (of mind that a student can independently understand and complete homework assignments for a classroom teacher)

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

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