As we start this year together, I want to take a moment to share some of my plans for helping your scholar grow in their abilities to spell conventionally. I have been assessing your scholar's spelling during this first month of school, and I've come to believe that some children in the class are choosing only "easy" words to write because they are worried about whether they can spell the more advanced words correctly. My first goal, then, will be to make sure that every child is a fearless and inventive writer and that every child is willing to write enormous rather than sticking with big even if that child cannot spell enormous conventionally. You will see that I do not expect perfect spelling in children's first draft writing. The second thing I have noticed is that many scholar's in this class haven't yet learned to spell some of the most important high frequency words- words like because, said, although- correctly. So, each week I will directly and explicitly teach children a list of high frequency words. Children will bring that list home on Mondays, they will be quizzed on those words on Fridays, and more important, they will be expected to incorporate those spellings into their writing whenever they write. I 'll help them do this!
Meanwhile, there are a few children who will need extra help with spelling. We all know that there are great thinkers who will struggle with spelling (Einstein was one of them). I'll be meeting with a few children to let them know that they will need to put extra time and receive extra help in spelling, and that together, we can make huge progress. Meanwhile, these children need to be reminded that although their progress in spelling matters and merits attention, they need to also work toward other goals as well. Like all children, I'll encourage these scholars to write a lot and to write with voice and detail. I look forward to supporting and studying your children's progress toward writing more correct and more effective pieces of writing!
Attached is Fry's list of the 1000 most common words starting with list 1 (most common). According to Fry, 50% of the words children write and read come from the first 36 words on the list. So helping children master these words has a tremendous payoff!!