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    Joined: Sep 2011
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    Quote
    My DD8 aces her spelling tests with very little effort, but then misspells easy words when she sits down to write. This is, I am sure, because her school encouraged "inventive spelling" at the very beginning, and she's still falling back on that habit, due to laziness.

    I also wouldn't assume this is due to the approach of letting early writers use inventive spelling - the act of writing involves so many more brain-steps than the act of writing down one word at a time on a spelling test.

    How easy are the words she misses when she's writing? Are they words that follow spelling rules and are able to be phonetically sounded out, or are they sight words with odd spelling and pronunciations? Does she mispell the same words all the time, or are the misspellings random and she gets the same words correct sometimes?

    Are you wondering why I asked all of that? I would just watch this a little bit rather than assuming it's laziness or lack of trying or being 8 and having been intro'd to writing through inventive spelling. Chances are it's *not* what's up, but acing spelling tests yet having difficulty spelling while writing *can* be a symptom of an LD.

    It can also mean she's just not naturally a good speller smile Or it can mean she's just 8 and she's just learning and her brain is swamped with the ideas she's writing about or with figuring out punctuation or grammar etc.

    I'll also add that all three of my kids had teachers with very different approaches to early writing - one was with teachers who were very into inventive spelling; one was in a school where proper spelling and spelling tests were emphasized; and dysgraphic ds did his best to never put pencil to paper in early elementary when the other kids were being encouraged to use inventive spelling. None of my children were able to spell well while writing at 8. Most of them still can't without spell-check smile

    Best wishes,

    polarbear

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    And to be fair, I'll add that my DD is an anomaly even in her GT magnet (I've seen all the kids' writing when I helped in class, so I know). Only one or two other kids can spell as well. Some had really terrible spelling and mechanics despite writing nice complex sentences with interesting ideas.

    I typed some of these papers up, and it was instructive to note how differently some papers read with spelling corrected and with handwriting out of the picture. It made me realize how we are influenced by these not terribly important factors.

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    Originally Posted by ultramarina
    Quote
    My DD8 aces her spelling tests with very little effort, but then misspells easy words when she sits down to write. This is, I am sure, because her school encouraged "inventive spelling" at the very beginning, and she's still falling back on that habit, due to laziness.

    I don't know if I'd blame your DD either. It STILL seems to be the case that no one cares about DD9's spelling (maybe this will change this year in 4th), and yes, she was encouraged, sometimes almost forcibly, to use invented spelling. But she's a great speller. In other words, despite the school failing to instruct her, this is a very strong skill for her.

    I think it is inborn, almost like perfect pitch. I do think you can improve it, though. And no, I don't think not having it means that you're dumb.


    Exactly. DD and I both have it. DH doesn't. DD and I also have the pitch gene, too-- not "perfect" per se-- but very very good naturally.

    I've noticed that my natural spelling skills have atrophied significantly since coming to rely upon automatic spell-checking, actually.



    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.
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    Fair points, polarbear.

    In my DD's case, I tend to be led by my own experience, primarily because DD has demonstrated time and time again that the way she learns is identical to my own processes. Because she has parents who are far more involved, and she lives in a much more stimulating environment, she hits mental milestones well ahead of where I did. So, anywhere that she's behind where I was at the same age, it stands out... and there's usually a reason behind it.

    The only other time something like this caught my attention, she had just turned five, and was still not reading an entire (age-appropriate) book aloud, or silently to herself. DW and I knew she was capable, because she'd read words/short phrases on signs or menus, some of them pretty impressive. I appealed to her pride... "You're ahead of me in every way, except one... I was reading aloud to my mom when I was 4." She read aloud to her mom within the week. By the time a month had passed, she was reading daily to her pre-K class. That clinched it... there was no issue of ability at play, just perfectionism and fear of failure, which she finally overcame.

    So, with that in mind... when I was 8, I won a district award for an essay. I still remember what it was about. And I remember that I didn't have any problems with spelling.

    In DD's case, what's different is the amount of written output beginning in K. We did not journal every day, beginning in K. We wrote letters, then words, then simple sentences, and then paragraphs, in K-2. They were graded for grammar and spelling. We progressed to short stories in 3rd.

    As I've said, DD learns the same way I do, which has caused me to joke that I have the user's manual to her brain (she says, "That's creepy"). The act of writing something down practically inscribes it into my brain (for instance, I find great value in taking notes, and then never again looking at them). In her place, if I were writing using inventive spelling, I would be inscribing that spelling into my brain... and it takes far more effort to unlearn an incorrect thing than to learn it correctly in the first place. This method would be toxic to me. In her output, I'm seeing exactly what I would expect to see, had I been put in her place.

    In her place, I would be ANGRY, because something that should have been easy, had it been taught correctly, will now be something difficult. At some point, someone is going to hold her accountable for spelling correctly. And given her perfectionist personality, that likely won't go well. I would really hate to see her decide she's a bad writer based on this, because in every way except spelling, she's a natural.

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    I can see where both polarbear and dude are coming from with this. I am one of those whose hands are much harder to control when handwriting than typing, handwriting IS a barrier to spelling for me. Conversely I see the damage done to my kids through the "anything goes" approach to writing in early grades here "because we just want them to write SOMETHING".

    My handwriting problem is genetic, I have a connective tissue disorder, all three of my kids have it, due to LDs my eldest didn't start meaningfully writing until about 3rd grade, when her school were also finally heavily focused on handwriting. Her handwriting is ok. Second child was encouraged to do the "anything goes" from 3.5-4, and she also loved to write, she wrote before she could read, she's required intensive therapy to correct her handwriting, it's kind of worked, she's made astonishing progress with her output, but her grip is still a disaster and she's probably going to need keyboard use quite young. Youngest child is 3.5, despite my warnings about her hands her Monti preschool have gently taught her the most beautiful grip and she's learning to write correctly from the start.

    I don't yet know if my eldest will cope with producing volumes of writing at speed without pain, or if my youngest will continue to develop well with handwriting, I don't know if their hand problems will be equal or different in adulthood. But right now I am deeply resentful of the way middle child's preschool and early teachers approached handwriting because I suspect she's going to have the worst outcome despite possibly not having any greater physical disability.

    It's hard for me to judge how handwriting and spelling intersects for my kids as the eldest is severely dyslexic and the middle child is not AND has 20 points on the eldest in verbal IQ, and way more than that in WMI, which shows. The youngest cant read so I can hardly judge her spelling.

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    Originally Posted by Dude
    As I've said, DD learns the same way I do, which has caused me to joke that I have the user's manual to her brain (she says, "That's creepy"). The act of writing something down practically inscribes it into my brain (for instance, I find great value in taking notes, and then never again looking at them). In her place, if I were writing using inventive spelling, I would be inscribing that spelling into my brain... and it takes far more effort to unlearn an incorrect thing than to learn it correctly in the first place. This method would be toxic to me. In her output, I'm seeing exactly what I would expect to see, had I been put in her place.

    YES!!

    Right down to the "creepy" part. I think DD phrases it as; "Get... out.... of... my.... head..." grin

    I feel very fortunate that because DD wasn't placed into a classroom setting at 5-8yo, she never learned "invented spelling" as a thing. She simply wasn't ever told that it was an option.

    Because I have the user's manual to her brain, see... wink


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    Just clarifying what I mean by "anything goes as long as they write something", my state's schools not only encourage inventive spelling but also feel kids should write however they like and on blank paper for the first few years. Teaching pencil grip or using lined paper makes it "too hard" to get started and its most important that they "just write something"... So handwriting AND spelling are ignored. And grammar, punctuation and everything else of course. As long as they write something....

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    Originally Posted by MumOfThree
    Just clarifying what I mean by "anything goes as long as they write something", my state's schools not only encourage inventive spelling but also feel kids should write however they like and on blank paper for the first few years. Teaching pencil grip or using lined paper makes it "too hard" to get started and its most important that they "just write something"... So handwriting AND spelling are ignored. And grammar, punctuation and everything else of course. As long as they write something....

    Yes, this is what DD's schools have done to her, as well.

    I guess the point of the exercise is a feel-good experience.

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    Sounds like anything-goes spelling is a candidate for HK's rogue's gallery of bad educational practices.

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    We learned that our school was pushing for $$$ to get an iPad into the hands of every 4th/5th/6th grade student. Arghh.

    I've worked in & around technology, including the computerization of untold number of accounting & p.o.s. systems for small businesses. I'm definitely pro-tech... but the idea of spending the $$$ on the iPads? Not liking it.

    YES, kids can benefit from access to computers in school, especially those who have difficulty as many here have shared. But I have trouble believing that kids can benefit from having this device plunked in their lap for most or all (!) of the day.

    After the announcement from our school that included an outline of the various fundraisers that would contribute to the project, I recalled a lecture by Clifford Stoll that I saw on C-SPAN 20+ years ago. Short version: he's not a fan of the idea! Couldn't find the original, but this is an interview on the same topic:
    http://vimeo.com/20384187
    The topic really gets going at 2:26

    I tried talking with the lead teacher and principal but they are not interested in hearing any dissent. Just for fun, I asked what measurable goals they expect to achieve as a result of the expenditure. "Goals? What are these things you call goals?"

    Meanwhile, the music program is still broke and is only open to 6th graders with the money to buy/rent their own instruments. The library has very limited hours ever since the union forced the school to prohibit parent volunteers. The school grounds are in a constant state of disrepair because... the same cheerful union balked at the horrible parent volunteers stepping in to fix up the joint. Simply amazing.

    But by all means, lets get the gadgetry in the hands of every child.


    Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house. - Fran Lebowitz
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