While I am away at my husband’s grandmother’s funeral, Maryann, a dear friend of mine did me the courtesy of writing this wonderful article. Maryann DellaRocco is the mom behind Matthew’s Puzzle, where she discusses autism recovery, alternative medicine and organic living. You can also find Maryann as a guest writer on Jenny McCarthy’s autism foundation, Generation Rescue.
My oldest son, Matthew, is in first grade this year, and boy has first grade changed since I was a child. I remember having spelling tests in first grade, but I recall words like “you” and “are”, not “afternoon” and “argue”. As a matter of fact I remember one particularly traumatic spelling test containing the word “are” and for the life of me I could only produce the letter “R”. I felt so ashamed because I was a terrible speller.
When Matthew started bringing home his spelling lists, and I saw words such as “vacation” and “answer” I was a bit taken aback. These seemed to be such big, complex words; words that couldn’t be easily sounded out. I was concerned for him. He does very well with words that can be sounded out, but sight words, or words that have silent letters seemed much harder. I figured we may need to become a bit more creative with the learning process.
When I was little I learned to spell “Saturday” by listening to the song Saturday Night by the Bay City Rollers. The song starts out with “S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night”, sung to this catchy beat. To this day I still sing that song when I need to spell Saturday. So I tried the same method with some of Matthew’s more difficult words, spelling them to easy-to-remember beats. It worked! A-N-S-WER. Then we tried breaking apart other words to see if there were smaller, more manageable words inside, that he could work with. For the word “point” my husband explained to him that the word “poi” is a Hawaiian food. That was interesting to Matthew and it was something he could remember, so all he had to do was add the “nt” to the end and he was spelling the word.
These silly methods have really worked and he has been coming home with 100% on his last 3 tests. So, do you have any unique methods for teaching spelling? I’d love to hear them. Stay Well.