Division 9 students have had a busy first week! There are many new rules and systems to learn but we are off to a great start.
As you know, this is the first year students are able to speak, read, and write in English. A common concern amongst Grade 4 parents is that students are unable to spell properly.
Here are my thoughts on this subject:
-Making spelling mistakes is absolutely normal. Don’t worry about it. Writing is very different than speaking. It takes time to get better.
-Don’t correct all the spelling mistakes you see. It can be very discouraging for a kid to realise that everything written is misspelled. I know you really want to help but don’t be too hard on your child. Making mistakes is ok. We learn by making mistakes (I know I do). I will address spelling in school and give students a chance to improve. A child’s self esteem is very precious and the more comfortable they feel about writing, the easier it will be for them in the long term.
-Encouraging your child to read is a great alternative. From experience, good readers are also good spellers. Most students will remember what they read and will be able to apply it to their own writing. In the meantime, read with your child. Read aloud, read before bed time, schedule family reading time, share stories and articles you like, visit the Vancouver Public library, leave books around the house.
Evaluating Students’ Writing
-When evaluating students’ writing I always use rubrics and spelling is the last thing I look at. These rubrics can all be found on this site. Yes, I agree, spelling is important, but without “Meaning”, “Style” and “Form”, a piece of writing isn’t much.
Take a look at one of the rubrics from the BC Performance Standards. You’ll notice that “Conventions” (which include spelling, grammar, capitals, punctuation) is at the very bottom. What’s more important is at the top; the rubric is built like a pyramid.
These rubrics will soon be shared with your child so that he/she understands that writing is more than just spelling. Normally, when evaluating their work, I only focus on one of the criteria. Once students get used to this, they will also be able to self evaluate their work. You will see how far they’ll go. I can guarantee you’ll be impressed!
I hope this information has been helpful to you. If you have any concern, don’t hesitate to come talk to me about it.
Have a great weekend!