Who Needs to Know How To Spell? Everyone

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When my daughter was about 12 she started a habit of hanging signs on her door.

You know the kind, “No Boys Allowed”, “Girl Zone … Keep Out!”. Not surprising in light of the fact that she is the single daughter with five brothers. Well, one day I went by my youngest son’s room and he had decided to follow suit. There on his door hung a sign that said, “Do Not Disterv”. That was not a typo. I have learned from moments like that to simply take note of what I need to address when we are working on his spelling.

How Do we react?

As parents/ teachers we can have varying reactions when we see things like that “Do Not Disterv” sign. Sometimes we feel discouragement. We wonder if they will ever learn the things we are trying to teach. Or we can look at the mistake and be grateful that we have become aware that we need to do some auditory exercises to help him be able to consistently recognize the difference between the sounds for “b” and “v”, or that we also need to  review the ways to spell  r controlled syllables. I could also be glad that he spelled the words “do” and “not” correctly or that he even tried to spell anything in the first place. So, how do I handle these moments? It usually goes something like this:

  • I don’t say anything about the mistake right then.
  • I take mental note of the mistakes until I can make a written note to review it.
  • I try to work the remedial lesson into our study time as soon as possible emphasizing the ” b and ur” sounds. Giving multiple words like blur, curb, slur . Then I would add in words like recur then finally disturb. At this point he may remember his sign and decide to fix it himself. If he doesn’t than …
  • In this case, while our review was fresh in his mind, I would get out a piece of paper and tell him he is going to make a sign.  I would add that it will have a message for people to see. Then I would say, “Write these words”, and I would dictate“Do Not Disturb”
  • By this point my son would most likely have figured out what was happening and would go replace the old sign. But if he didn’t, I would take him to his door and have him compare the signs, then encourage how good he did on the new sign. That he spelled it correctly all by himself.

Why go to all of this work over one sign? Because it is a real life situation and why else do we learn to spell except for real life situations. We write so that we can put down thoughts and communicate messages properly. We write for our ideas to be understood. I for one believe we owe it to our children to help them be able to share their thoughts and ideas well.

guy writing

Knowing how to spell helps us communicate well.


What do you think? How important is spelling? Should we just let struggling spellers rely on spell check? Does spell check always get it right?


Share how you work with your child when they make a spelling error and help us all become better at helping our awesome kids.

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Robin Liner is a wife, and veteran homeschool mom with over twenty years experience. She has written two picture books and actively blogs about homeschooling with an emphasis on teaching dyslexic children at crazygoodreaders.wordpress.com. and athomewithdyslexia.com Feel free to contact her at robin@crazygoodreaders.com

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