There is a myth that English spelling is unnecessarily complex. It is spread by those who don’t understand the writing system. Spelling for Life offers lucid, accessible tools which help to reveal that, when explicitly and systematically taught, spelling is scientific, law-abiding and even elegant. It takes hard work and it takes much thought to ‘look under the bonnet’ of the writing system and that’s why it can be preferable for teachers to issue random word lists for memorisation in the hope that some children will learn to spell. Many people struggle to spell due to coping strategies developed in place of explicit instruction. Often, students who can read and express themselves competently nevertheless find spelling difficult. False assumptions about spelling only perpetuate their difficulties. Spelling for Life enables teachers and students to:
- learn what the common spelling coping strategies are
- gain insights into undoing poor spelling habits
- work together to reveal patterns not only in regular spelling, but also in words which on the surface seem to break the spelling rules
- practise successful spelling strategies, progressing from simple to complex words rapidly and with confidence.
Who is Spelling for Life for?Below are some comments from teachers, speech and language professionals and educational psychologists who have attended the workshops/bought the text:
- ‘I am going to be teaching this to my ESL (English as a Second Language) students.’
- ‘I am looking forward to trying out this programme on my small groups in Special Programs.’
- ‘I love it and think it will work, especially for children in middle years.’
- ‘I am able to use these strategies throughout the whole school (K-6).’
- ‘I have been working with some lower-functioning grade 5 students and my new skills will help me to help them.’
- ‘If these techniques were taught at primary level, there would be a world of terrific spellers. Well done!’
- ‘I have found it particularly useful for year 7 students having difficulty.’
- ‘Very relevant to the work I am doing with students (school age and adult).’
- ‘The Spelling For Life Program has given me tools to help my two teenage sons with dyslexia.’
- Spelling for Life students need to have appropriate phonological awareness. If not, they need prior work on this before beginning the program.
- They need to be able to write legibly and reasonably quickly. Children just starting school typically do not have the vocabulary and motor skills required of the program. Once the third year of school has begun, children can start the program.
- Spelling for Life is a particularly popular addition to the secondary school English syllabus.
- Adults who have difficulty spelling respond very positively to Spelling for Life.
- Spelling for Life is used with great success in many English as a Second Language classes.