Sunday, October 15, 2017

Writing and Vocabulary

Is it impossible to be a good writer with a poor understanding of vocabulary? I think so. I think it's also nearly impossible to be a good writer without a certain proficiency in spelling. Why?

Becuase when someone writes, they should be thinking about what they are trying to say and how they are trying to say it.  It's hard to imagine someone without basic spelling skills having the spelling automaticity required to write well.

Or, the cognitive load of trying to spell each word can prevent someone from thinking about what they are trying to write. But if their spelling is automatic, they can think about their writing.

Schools and students develop spelling and writing automaticity largely through practice.  Here's some great resources for practicing for each grade level.  For second grade spelling, third grade spelling, fourth grade spelling, and fifth grade spelling

In second grade, and I quote:  Second grade spelling word lists include Dolch and Fry sight word lists and word structure lists (compound words). Second grade students can build sight word fluency and phonics mastery through the use of VocabularySpellingCity’s interactive online games. Second grade games feature both audio and visual elements, an effective learning tool for all maturing readers and writers, specifically English Language Learners (ELLs).

And quoting from the 5th grade materials:

Fifth grade teachers can find hundreds of free vocabulary and spelling word lists on VocabularySpellingCity‘s website. Word lists can be paired with engaging, interactive games to practice fifth grade English language arts concepts. In addition to online learning games, VocabularySpellingCity offers printable worksheets on topics including hyperbole, personification, and metaphors to help make planning fifth grade vocabulary lessons easy.
Fifth grade-level word lists support reading and literacy programs like Journeys and Wonders. Teachers can use lists to supplement fifth grade language arts lesson plans. VocabularySpellingCity can also administer and assess spelling tests and vocabulary tests. Fifth grade teachers can create their own lists to accommodate more advanced spelling patterns that include affixes and multisyllabic words, as well as remedial word lists that include high frequency words and commonly misspelled words.
Maybe the traditional spelling practice really is the way to learn these words and the whole CCSS thing of just read read read is not going to develop the skills needed for writing. No duh!


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