Friday, December 3, 2010

Spelling and Special Needs

Many people have questioned the importance of teaching spelling in an age when our computers and our phones often have spelling checkers and suggested words always available. Of course, these gadgets can suggest and approve words that are totally inappropriate to the context, frequently with comical results. There is an underlying question about the significance of spelling skills for literacy, reading comprehension, reading fluency, and writing skills. This article summarizes the research underling the question of how spelling skills, such as automaticity, build reading fluency and comprehension. It addresses the question of the research base for the activities provided by

The article is reprinted with permission by Diane E. Nies, Manager of Professional Development and Publications, The International Dyslexia Association. Granted in writing, April 9, 2009. Original source: the International Dyslexia Association quarterly newsletter, Perspectives, Winter, 2002, vol. 28, no. 1, pages 9-14. Signed SpelliingCity Mayor.




In addition to acquiring phonic word attack strategies, prosodic features at the word level such as stress on syllables are important. At times, poor readers can accurately decode a word but true recognition of the word eludes them because they have not correctly accented one of the syllables. Dyslexic students often have difficulty hearing the accented syllables in a word, so teachers should first determine if a student is able to discriminate and identify through listening alone. If a student cannot hear differences, lessons should begin with listening practice and then move to oral production. Visual and tactile/kinesthetic strategies can be incorporated with listening if necessary. 

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