Classroom Adaptations for Spelling Problems
Individualized Education Programs
- Use the child's individualized education program (IEP) to conduct baseline assessments, set goals, provide tailored instruction, measure progress, and assign tasks. For example, an IEP can set a goal that the student will be able to spell 25 vocabulary words in eight of 10 measured trials during three consecutive, tutored sessions. These goals can be modified, if needed, in collaboration with parents and the teaching team.
- Use the principles of differentiated instruction to take into account variations in students' learning preferences and abilities. Facilitate peer support through in-class partnerships and mixed-ability groups, using support staff and behavioral counselors as needed to strengthen group dynamics and assist with special needs. For example, set up flashcard drills in which more advanced students tutor the less advanced students in recognizing word patterns, or help review their peers' writing assignments.
- Use the strategy of word study to help students investigate and identify spelling patterns. Provide the students with vocabulary lists (matched to their assessed aptitudes.) Help them to identify and group the words into patterns (such as "rat," "rot" and "rut," or "train," "trap" and "trace.") Name the patterns (for example, "consonant/short vowel/consonant") and reinforce them through examples in assigned reading. Add difficult words to a "word wall" posted in the classroom.
Testing and Review
- Assess your students' knowledge with tests that measure their ability to recognize and work with word patterns. For instance, you can ask them to write a sentence using the four consonant diagraphs (ch, sh, th, wh); words with long vowel sounds; or words that start with blends.