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Visual sequential spelling errors but only with digraphs

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by takethatno1fan, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. takethatno1fan

    takethatno1fan New commenter

    She sounds like she is on the dyslexic spectrum.
    Children with dyslexic tendencies often get the order of letters mixed up when spelling. Yes I would suggest teaching her the digraphs cursively, as well as allowing her to practise 'writing' them in sand, in the air, using her finger to trace on different textures e.g. a carpet tile, sandpaper etc. Also give her a 'sound' mat that she can refer to (have a look on communication4all)
    Cursive writing is thought to help dyslexic learners as their motor memory is stimulated by the flow of writing. I don't think you should only teach her the digraphs cursively, she should be taught to join all her letters.
    She also needs to develop her ability to proof read her own work and self correct. This is not easy for dyslexic learners, but is a skill that they do need to develop. To start with you could help her by highlighting words together.
    You may find though that even if you do all the above she will still occasionally get the letters mixed up. It is the way the brain processes language differently in the dyslexic brain.
    I'm sure others will be along to suggest other ideas too, but I hope some of this has been helpful.
  2. michelle99

    michelle99 New commenter

    There are many, many reasons why this little girl is writing this way and it would be ridiculous to persume dyslexia, or and other medical condition for that matter, on such a short piece of information. For instance, is the child left handed? This is a common thing for left handed children to do!
    What ever the reason, I agree that joining the letters in the digraphs will help her. At the age of 6 regular practise is all important so if you have a TA who could send just 5minutes working with her daily (maybe while you are doing the registar) you should hopefully see an improvement. I would suggest working on one digraph a week to begin with.
  3. takethatno1fan

    takethatno1fan New commenter

    You are quite right, there could be other reasons, but I disagree that it 'is ridiculous to presume dyslexia'.
    The earlier that the indicators are noticed and can therefore be acted upon, the better. The earlier that strategies are put in place for any child experiencing difficulties (dyslexic or not!) the better the outcome. Lets not forget that 'dyslexia' is only a label and serves to describe a particular processing difference.
    I'm not sure what you mean by 'any other medical condition'?
    I'm not sure I actually agree with the left handed suggestion either. I have worked with many children, some with specific learning difficulties and lots without, and in my experience, left handed children are no more likely to do this than right handed children. (but very common for dyslexic learners)
  4. As someone more used to older children, I find it hard to sometimes to distinguish between what may simply be a developmental phase and what may be a truly dyslexic trait... When I said that I would teach her cursive for the digraphs, obviously she would be taught to join all letters eventually, but thought this might be a useful starting point for her. She may well turn out to be on the dyslexia continuum, or she may not... but I am of the opinion that we treat all children who experience literacy difficulties as if they may be dyslexic, then we may help some (and, as has been said, catch them early). I am aware that dyslexic children often make visual sequential errors with spelling, but isn't this more common all through the word, rather than simply with digraphs? eg this girl might write 'hcip' for 'chip' but not 'hlep' for 'help' - as she only makes mistakes with digraphs.
  5. takethatno1fan

    takethatno1fan New commenter

    It is hard to distinguish between a developmental issue, or whether it is dyslexia at 6 years old, and I think you are doing the right thing to treat all children with literacy difficulties as if they are dyslexic.
    I deliver training on dyslexia and dyslexia friendly classrooms, and I always say 'what every child benefits from, the dyslexic child cannot manage without.' So in other words, the tweaks to your teaching (for the whole class) and the intervention you provide for those with difficulties, should be the same for the dyslexic children and those experiencing difficulties for other reasons.
    As far as the sequential errors, (which may also be an auditory sequential problem) every child is an individual and thus has difficulties in different areas. I agree, most of the dyslexic children I teach do tend to mix up letters through words, not just digraphs, but I have seen this before. I think it is to do with the fact that a digraph is two letters making one sound, so there is more to think about when spelling (and also a greater demand on working memory).
    As I said before, employ multisensory teaching methods, one digraph at a time. Ensure you not only teach the digraph in isolation, but also within words and in continuous text. Also ensure opportunities for lots of overlearning.
    If you leave your email address I'll send you a copy of a digraph tracking sheet which is easy to alter using Word, that you might find useful.
  6. takethatno1fan

    takethatno1fan New commenter

    Just reading this back, when I refer to 'auditory sequential memory' affecting spelling, I wasn't referring to the digraphs obviously, but to spelling in general. [​IMG]
  7. I am presently on a SpLd course and wondered making the letters with playdough would help as Ronald Davis suggests in The gift of Dyslexia. Make, say, trace with finger. Also keen on cursive writing as soon as you can for this little girl. Another lady on the course who works in a special school said smell also helps...ch-chocolate / cheese/chips!!! Hope you both succeed!

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