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Wonderings:

Will developing spelling fuency raise the writing achievement


in students from Room1 , Yr 1 / Yr 2 students?
How can I get children to transfer their knowledge of HFW in
reading into their writing?

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Research available around the transfer of high


frequency words into childrens writing.
http://www.righttrackreading.com/howtospell.html
http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED496700

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What the research says:


Spelling, although a small piece of the writing process, is of great
concern to teachers, parents, and the general public (Laminack,
Lester, & Woods, 1996, p. 10). Many educators, both locally and
nationally, have noticed a common trend in students lack of ability to
transfer the correct spelling of high frequency and commonly used
words into their daily work and writing. Shah and Thomas (2002)
wrote according to the 1989 Gallop Poll, the United States placed last
in spelling behind Australia, Britain, and Canada. In addition, on the
Iowa Test of Basic Skills, elementary school scores have dropped
steadily since 1990 (p. 31). Shah and Thomas provide evidence that
spelling is of national concern and is indeed in need of attention.
Johnston (2000) stated English spelling has traditionally been
considered a trial and tribulation to those who teach it and those who
must learn it (p. 372). Gentry (2004) discussed a possible
explanation for the difficulty of learning to spell the English language.

What the research says:


But in English, the alphabetic principle is complex, with a plethora of foreign
spellings, myriad spelling combinations, a huge vocabulary, and sometimes arbitrary
spelling patterns (and) this complex system of English spelling makes it more difficult
to spell than an alphabetic language such as Italian (Gentry, 2004,p. 13).
As educators, we find it difficult and frustrating to teach spelling because the English
language has so many inconsistencies and words that do not follow spelling rules.
It is our opinion that many students can correctly spell high frequency and spelling
words in isolation, such as on a weekly spelling test, but they cannot correctly spell
these words in their daily work and writing. We believe that students may not see a
purpose or reason to make correct spelling a priority in their writing. Thus, many
students simply spell words phonetically, even when the word was a word that they
had been taught and had already been mastered on a weekly spelling test. Yet
correct spelling is not only important on a Friday spelling test, but in all areas of the
curriculum (Murphy, 1997, p. 18).

What the research says:


In addition to teachers teaching spelling simply for mastery on the weekly spelling test, we
believe that teachers are not using the current research on spelling in their daily instruction.
According to Gentry (1987)
Too much that is known about how to teach spelling isnt being put into practice. I can think
of no subject we teach more poorly or harbor more myths about than spelling. In spite of
volumes of research, teachers still use the same unsubstantiated teaching formulas (p. 7).
Teachers must help students understand that spelling is important and is a refection of the
students reading and writing ability. As sighted in Brecher, Gray, Price & Sayles (1998) The
focus for spelling needs to be shifted from rote memorization to communication between
writer and reader (p.i). The words that we expect our students to spell correctly are high
frequency words that are seen daily in reading and writing, and thus students need to know
how to spell these words correctly.
We believe that spelling is an area that needs to be addressed in the primary school years.
We believe that with effective spelling strategies, students ability to transfer spelling into
their written work will be enhanced. Phenix and Scott-Dune (1991) wrote that we need to
strike a balance in our teaching so that students understand the place of spelling, and have
enough confidence as spellers that they are not inhibited as writers (p. 17).

Resources used:
Joy Allcock Switch onto Spelling instructional techniques and strategies
Jolly Phonics- letter/ sound links practise
Measured Mom- practice games related directly to the instruction
Previous knowledge gained form my ALL Writing Inquiry 2014
Support sourced from Sharon Merry RTLB Lit
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Why is this necessary?


The children in my class have great ideas to write with but lack
the phonological knowledge required to assist them to spell. This
is evidenced through the Pseudo word test, testing of the Essential
Word Lists and by classroom observations.
Children appear to know most letter sound links but are not using
this knowledge to assist them to spell fuently when writing.
Children are not using the word mats effectively to assist their
independent attempts at writing.
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The Inquiry!
Term One implemented Jolly Phonics to build letter sound links
Created a wall of words- to copy and use in writing- providing a
correct model builds memory for text in readers and writers
Developed writing word banks- to build writing fuency and memory
for high frequency words
Essential word lists in home books for parents to assist children to
learn these.

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Baseline data!
I selected the pseudo word test to determine letter / sound links for the
inquiry of all students- Joy Alcock
I tested the prior knowledge of Essential Word Lists of all students because
these are referred to in the National Standards- Learning Media
UWS were taken across the class to determine what students could do
without teacher support
DECISION: In order to meet the needs of my students I elected to apply my
inquiry to all the students in the class I needed to incorporate all the learners
into the inquiry and report on the selected students. A factor in this decision
was that I needed to keep my teacher aid time for reading because I firmly
believe that reading levels impact on writing ability. PTC
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The data says this

The actions
All students were assessed and the data recorded
All students were taught how to use the word mats in the classroom
revisited from Term 1
All students were taught the difference between letters and words/
sentences and long and short vowel sounds.
All students were encouraged to use word associations to assist spelling
e.g. if I can spell bat then I can spell hat, fat, mat, sat and cat.
Word building and blends were also explicitly taught during guided
reading sessions appropriate to the text level of the book.
Writing apps for HFW, story sentences, silly sentences , cut up sentences,
word ladders and practice opportunities for spelling were part of the
reading tumble as well as reading practice.

The Inquiry!
Term 2
Sourced word matching bingo games around short and long vowel
sounds and spelling patterns
ROAD BLOCK- Children not used to managing learning using games
Solution- DAT s around sharing, turn taking and respect for
equipment.
U-TURN: Laminated cards with high frequency words practice and
word ladders from a RTLB Lit friend.
ROAD BLOCK: Children not used to using tumble boards
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U_TURN: Explicitly teach children how to manage materials and equipment
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learners with high needs.
U-TURN: Enjoyment of games were made difficult due to the childrens
reading age and stage. So focus on accelerating progress in reading, teaching
word families and word building skills and link to spelling through imaging.
With all the management skills in place it was time to collect baseline data for
the inquiry.
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The Inquiry!
Term 3:
Re established routines quickly now and introduced a tumble
board for spelling groups .
Set activities up the night before as we only had a 20 minute
window of time to get through two teaching groups per day. Busy!
Continue to make explicit links between reading the word and
imaging the word to assist children toward correct spelling.
At the end of Week 5 retest children based on Essential Word List
and Pseudo Word list to establish performance over the inquiry.

What this looks like


Modelling books- Reading
Modelling books- Spelling
Taskboard- Spelling

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The data says

The target students


progress!

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The target students


progress!

Every child has made


gains in their spelling
ability based on pre
and post- test data
from the intervention.
The conclusion to be
drawn from this
intervention was that
it was indeed
successful as a
spelling intervention.
We need now to
determine that it
was successful as a
writing intervention.

May
WL

May
EWL

August
WL

August
EWL

Child 1

Year 2

Below

39

At

88

Child 2

Year 2

Below

26

At

53

Child 3

Year 2

At

34

At

66

Child 4

Year 2

Atfragile

31

At secure 52

Child 5

Year 1

At- low

14

At secure 34

Child 6

Year 1

At

49

Above

96

Has this transferred into


their writing?
For all of the students involved in the inquiry I would certainly
conclude their spelling of HFW has improved from the intervention
and their willingness to attempt other words has been noticed and
identified through results in their UWS pre and post intervention.
I have noticed the ability in more students to their writing fuency
(the ability to add length to their writing).
Given the age of my students I believe the intervention has had a
positive effect on their ability to transfer the learning into their
writing.

Recommendations:
I believe this intervention could be applied across the school with adaption for
differing levels of the curriculum.
Develop a school wide spelling programme that meets the needs of most students
Develop similar routines across the school in order to ease children into new
classrooms (research shows that children can loose up to 3 months of instruction
settling into a new teacher and classroom). This is especially relevant to our high
needs and highly dependent learners.
Share my decisions and concerns with the leadership team and work with them to
create a functional spelling programme/s for school wide use that feed into each
other to reduce the fall off in spelling instruction when students change rooms.
For example: Jolly phonics vs Early Words. Should we be using one or the other?
Will having two similar but different programmes confuse students? How much has
the school invested in resources and knowledge that will be lost?

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Students voice:

Parent voice: Initially wondered why home spelling was not part of
formal homework. Delighted with her childs progress.

Where to from here?


Parent education about spelling.
Share my learning with my colleagues and encourage them to try
these interventions and with the support of the leadership team
research, identify and test spelling programmes that could be
used to raise student achievement in spelling

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Barriers identified:
Target students regular absence from school.
Timetabling constraints- very narrow window of time to implement the
learning 25 mins
Parent interruptions to the programme by lateness to class, needing
assistance between 8.55am and 9.10am.
No specific budget for the photocopying of resources to assist the
Inquiry.
My own absence from class due to leadership professional
development and bereavement.

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Post intervention
observations:
Reflections

In the last few weeks of the term the children have fully engaged with the
tumble-board activities now and I shall keep this up, as it is becoming a
normal routine in the class.
My thoughts for next year will be to introduce it earlier perhaps the second
half of the first term.
Junior children need longer time to adjust to tumble boards and need time to
settle into the routines required.
After taking the UWS it is clear to me that the spelling approximations and
level of transfer of correct use of HFW is beginning to take place August
2015
Do we need to have a common use of a spelling programmes across the
school to minimise the drop off effect that occurs between different teaching
programmes?