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Decline in spelling standards?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by tennyson, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. I am a Y3 teacher and have noticed a definite decline in spelling standards - it seems to be the high frequency words especially words like come said when eyc. Is this just our school or has anyone else got the same problem? Has the focus on phonics caused this? What do you do in your school to promote spelling?
  2. I could send you many picture mnemonics for learning some of these high frequency words. Children can then use the different methods to make their own once they have the idea. I also have instructions for making Spelling Folders out of card to help the children learn the spellings by the Look Say Cover Write Check method
    email: margaret2612@btinternet.com

  3. I have to agree that there is a severe decline in spelling competancy when they arrive at secondary school. As an English teacher I find myself constantly correcting spellings of very simple words, even at KS4; the pupils just don't seem to realise how important it is.

    Mags2612, your resources sound great, would you mind if I emailed you also for the resources? (Cheeky, I know)

  4. Hi
    I'm writing this from a parent's point of view, so I hope that's ok!
    My daughter started school last September and turned five the next day.
    The reception class which she is in has a fantastic teacher who is very strict regarding children trying their best at school as well as working at home.
    My daughter received homework from the first day - sound practice. She was given a book and every day had a new sound in it. She had to practice writing both the upper and lower case letter. Once all the single letter sounds had been covered she moved onto oo, ee, ai etc.
    She was also given 'pot words' - a little tupperware tub with half a dozen laminated high frequency words in it to learn. These are added to each week if she can read the words she has already got without sound talking.
    Once she had completed all the letter sounds, she was given a spelling book and a 'look, cover, write, check' sheet. The list of words are all ones she has been given in the pot word tub, and she must write them neatly and correctly. Three times a week.
    She also has a reading book.
    Every day when she enters class she must write her name on a wipe board and show it to the teacher. Once able to do her first then first and second name she had to write 'I am five years old.'as well. Now she must add a sentence about what she had for breakfast. All before the register is even done!
    She is doing very well at school and all the children are coming on in leaps and bounds and she can read unfamiliar words by sound talking it out and can spell words correctly.
    School handwriting / cursive writing has not even been broached yet which I am pleased about.
    In contrast, I volunteer at two schools, an infant and a junior on the same site, as I am applying for primary teacher training.
    Children are not given homework in reception and children are only given key words to learn once they reach year 1. They are taught cursive school handwriting from reception. I have checked children's key words on a number of occasions and found that the majority, when asked to read words which they had recently learnt and been checked off as knowing, they were unable to, some even unable when sound talking. With the emphasis to learn only the current six words they have they don't spend any more time on previous words, and so forget them.
    This is clearly apparent in their spelling as well.
    By the time the children reach year 3 and move up to the junior school, many cannot write clearly or spell basic words correctly. In fact some of the children's handwriting is little more than one continuos line of scribble for each word as they desperately try to write in school handwriting, foregoing the fact it is often spelt wrong and mostly unreadable!
    I have spoken with one of the year 3 teachers and they have said that by the time they get into their class it is so ingrained there is little they can do.
    These two schools by the way are excellent, both with recent outstanding Ofsted results.
    So perhaps it is the way these elements are taught and the level of importance given to one thing over another that needs looking at.
    I would argue that surely knowing how to write letters correctly and ledgably in the first place should have precidence over cursive writing. Also high frequency words should be practised continually not just a set few at a time.
    Just my thoughts!

  5. Very interesting last post which sums up the difference in philosophy of the Foundation Stage, some teachers are very much 'let them play as theyre too young' and that is literally all they do all day every day whilst teachers walks round with a post it note making pointless comments
    whilst other YR classes use this enthusiasm to teach them the sounds, key words, number bonds to 10, teach them to read, write simple setences etc-
    I would personally fire any YR teacher who ran the class in the first way and would suggest they get a job in a nursery school on £7 an hour with a NVQ3 as that is what theyre doing but on a teacher wage
    No Y1 teacher I have ever met thanked the YR profusely for sending up kids who just wnat to play all day, who cant read or write a letter and cant add to 10
  6. A legible cursive style should be taught from reception. I have always found it very difficult to encourage and teach cursive handwriting to older children who have printed letters with ascenders and descenders.
  7. Whilst I agree with you, it is incredibly difficult when this is a whole Local Authority expectation. Our school was heavily criticised for not having enough child initiated play in Reception because the Reception teachers were seen to be 'teaching' children rather than 'letting them play'.
  8. Oh I agree with you...and Ive seen a charming young girl promoted within the county for this kind of approach, the children couldnt even sit down for a register or an input as it was seen to 'wasting their playtime'
    The FSP is ****, the approach is non sensical, Y1 teachers want children can read, write add up and sit and listen for more than 2 minutes, the FSP encourages the opposite-when I was in YR I did what I wanted and actually taught them and hey guess what every child is line to get at least a 1A at the end of Y1 in reading and writing, funny that
  9. We have definitely had a decline in standards across the board by the time they are in Year 2. This has been noticeable since the introduction of the new EYFS.
  10. This is why I lack the faith that teachers have much common sense, teach them to read, write and add up in YR and theyll fly for the rest of KS1 and beyond. Theyll get more confident, their self esteem will rise they will be able to access more of the world
    ensure they can ride a scooter, build a tower of lego and splash water around all day shrieking 'its wet'
  11. Indeed. As English has at least 3700 common words which contain some unpredictable letters
    (as listed on http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com ), it takes at least 10 years to learn to spell them all correctly.
    Many pupils don't manage it even then. The learning burden is just too overwhelming for them. Spelling was a huge component of the 11+ and only 1 in 5 children passed that. Good spellers of English have always been rare.

  12. I provide teacher-training in the synthetic phonics teaching principles and how to integrate synthetic phonics teaching with the wider curriculum.
    There is a definite anti paper and pencil culture in the teaching profession starting, I suggest, at advisory level.
    In many schools, teachers find me a 'breath of fresh air' and I give them much 'food for thought' because I state that it is fit-for-purpose to use paper and pencils and to sit at desks with good posture to teach reading, spelling and handwriting.
    Schools vary in their approach to teaching joined handwriting - but I suggest that children are better served to be taught in print writing before they are expected to join their letters in words.
    Also, writing in print is closer to printed fonts - and it works well with the common routines of teaching children to orally segment spoken words, to tally sounds to fingers, to write sound-dashes for each sound tallied, then to write graphemes from left to right to spell the word.
    I don't dictate 'when' teachers should start using a thorough and systematic synthetic phonics programme and have no problem with teachers playing around with some phonics prior to the moment when they start a rigorous programme.
    Then, however, teachers should focus on the core skills with explicit teaching and direct practice without the need for fishing word cards out of the sand pit before reading them.
  13. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Oh dear.
  14. sindypurr
    Yes, of course you can email me!

  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    We've seen a significant improvement over the past 6 years
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Having just read a thread on writing in reception I can now understand why some people are worried
  17. Ramjam

    Ramjam New commenter

    Don't you find it strange that although promoting speaking and listening needs good modelling and constant practice, good writing can be acquired by lots of practice of doing it wrong - and a little modelling every now and then.
    Some children aren't ready,and need lots of motor control based activities. Others waste a whole year doing play writing,with little teacher input when they already have the fine motor skills and the capability of learning to write.
    Teaching a group of enthusiastic 4 year olds to read and write outside school hours makes me wonder what we are doing to those chidren who are ready to move on in school.
  18. Ramjam

    Ramjam New commenter

    But if you put the words into sand, some children might choose to find them whilst role playing a treasure hunt - thus making the activity child initiated, the current holy grail of EYFS.
  19. In my experience this sort of thing is a box filler not something which anybody living on planet earth actually works..The children here will play in the sand and ignore the words although it sounds great in jargon to call it child initiated
    The water tank set up for the sinking and floating topic will be used to splash water around as it always has been and the scooters/bikes et up for forces and pushes and pulls will be hooned around on at speed without much thought of science Im afraid
  20. Ramjam

    Ramjam New commenter

    So true - and I increasingly find that children don't know how to express what they have learned unless they have the vocabulary input from an adult. So Fred, initiating his own investigation ( not really his own because I put the boats there) will happily say 'that one went to the bottom and mine stayed at the top - great for an initial observation, but being from a non-verbal background, my ' Which one floated? is greeted with"'Uh".
    Carla on the other hand isn't interested in boats, she's just child initiated a water investigation with a new book. She's about to learn 2 things - 1. paper goes soggy and 2. the teacher isn't wearing a happy face anymore - good PSCHE!

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