Tests do not spell success

29th September 2000 at 01:00
YOUNG children are more likely to become accurate spellers if teaching about words is linked to their writing, according to the Centre for Language in Primary Education.

A study of children in three London primary schools suggests those who pick up spelling at an early age tend to have a particular interest in both the sound and shape of words.

Learning lists by rote and spelling exercises appears to be the least effective way of improving children's spelling. Teachers who intervened in children's writing and discussed with them the points they could develop, produced greater improvements.

The study was carried out before the introducation of the National Literacy Strategy, which also emphasises direct involvement in children's writing, rather than the marking of completed work.

Ministers are concerned about poor standards of writing in primary schoos and spelling tests are included in the key stage 1 and 2 national tests taken by seven and 11-year-olds.

Schools are also provided with spellings that children should be able to tackle by particular ages.

The researchers, Olivia O'Sullivan and Anne Thomas, say teachers find it more difficult to create time for children to write at length or in depth because of the demands of the curriculum.

In some case studies, children's progress faltered or regressed when writing lessons were too narrowly focused.

The study suggests that fluent readers who spell badly benefit from direct teaching of spelling patterns. The children needing most help are those who also have difficulty in reading.

'Understanding Spelling' is available from the Centre for Language in Primary Education, Webber Street, London, SE11 8QY

Opinion, 17

Letters, 18


Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now