For a start, weekly spelling tests do nothing at all for children's ability to spell. At best they memorise the spellings, get ten out of ten for the test and then forget them (unless they already had them secure in their internal 'spelling bank'! So I wouldn't worry about her falling behind. Plenty of her classmates will be doing much the same! It would be interesting to know how spelling has been taught. Has the child been taught to break words into their component sounds and spell each sound in sequence? Phonics should, right from the start, be taught for spelling as well as for reading, but it is amazing the number of children who don't seem to have grasped the concept that the letters they are writing down represent (or are supposed to represent) the sounds in the word they are writing. Whether this is a difficulty within the child or just poor teaching is a moot point. Do the word lists that this child is meant to learn relate to any phonic principle, such as having words which all contain the same sound, but with different spellings, or even, just one spelling of a focus sound. Or are they just a random list? I would suggest that your friend buys in the Apples & Pears spelling programme (from the Promethean Trust) and takes the child through it. Also, that letter names are banned when learning spellings (some children find it difficult to remember the correct order of a letter string) and the focus is always put on how the sounds are spelled and the order in which they come in the word. One major problem with correcting poor spellings is that spelling is affected by kinaesthetic memory; an association of a word with the 'feel' of spelling it. This is very strong and once the *wrong* kinaesthetic memory of a word is embedded it is very hard to alter. Of course, ultimately spelling is more difficult than reading as there is no letter 'prompt' to help (unless the child is amazingly good at mentally visualising whole words). Good phonetic spelling is better than random letter strings.