Kelly KingsleyTEAC 991Annotated BibliographyGentry, J. R. (1987).
Spel...Is a Four-Letter Word.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire:Heinemann.
: Gentry has written a parent/teacher guide to children’s learning of spelling. He
separates spelling myths with spelling realities. Gentry states that too much that is known about
how to teach spelling isn’t being put into practice (p. 7). Some of the
realities of spelling notedby Gentry are: (1) some smart kids have trouble with spelling, (2) too much focus on
is bad for spelling: spelling requires complex thinking and copying is an exerciserequiring simple mechanical ability with little brain power, (3) copying words and focusing on
mechanics don’t ensure the development of correct spelling, (4) kids learn to spell by inventing
spelling: when kids invent spellings, they think about words and generate new knowledge, (5)purposeful writing is a key to learning to spell: purposeful writing when combined withinventive spelling are reciprocal ways to promote learning, and (6) spelling is a constructivedevelopmental process: spelling follows a similar pattern to learning to speak.Gentry looks into answering questions teachers ask. The author comments that in his view, theimportant questions center on an understanding of how children learn, and the important answersplace children, not methods, at the center of the spelling program (p.27).
What method for teaching spelling works best?
Gentry suggests allowing children the freedom to take risks intheir own writing as the best technique. So in order to teach kids to spell, teachers need to getkids to write. They need to break down the inhibitions and unpleasantness surrounding spellingand allow kids the chance to be wrong (p. 27).
What teaching strategies will help create aneffective program?
There are five general guidelines for creating an effective spellingcurriculum: (1) Teach spelling as part of the whole curriculum. (2) Have children writefrequently and make the writing activity purposeful. (3) Encourage children to invent spellingsfor words they may not have learned to spell. (4) De-emphasize correctness, memorization, and
writing mechanics. (5) Respond to children’s writing in ways that help them discover more
about spelling (p. 28).
For our spelling lessons, what procedures can we use that are supported by research?
Gentry suggests six procedures that receive research support: (1) allot sixty toseventy-five minutes per week to formal spelling instruction, (2) present the words to be studiedin a list or column form, (3) give the children a pre-test to determine which words in the lessonare unknown, have then study the unknown words, and administer a post-test, (4) have thechildren correct their own spelling tests under your direction, (5) teach a systematic technique forstudying unknown words, and (6) use spelling games to make spelling lessons more fun (p. 28-29).
What is the single best strategy for a formal spelling lesson?
The author doesn’t believe
there is one; he comments that what works best for one child may not work well for another. Hedoes suggest having each child correct their own spelling errors immediately after taking aspelling test. This is effective because it gets children to examine their spelling errors visually(p. 29).
Shouldn’t invented spelling
be corrected? If errors aren’t corrected won’t misspellings
Teachers shouldn’t correct spelling to the extent of making children afraid to
spell. As spellers mature, the emphasis on correctness should be increased. It \is best to only