A few months ago, I told the story of Tania, a girl I met as a parent volunteer for the Literacy program at my daughter’s high school. For a maths teacher, I place a seemingly unusual high importance on literacy and know that for some, numeracy problems stem from literacy issues.
Today I met James (not his real name), a boy in year 7. I’ll see him once a week for just under an hour and hopefully help improve his literacy. The set program involves going through spelling words, a bit of drill on mistakes and then on to reading (aloud) and comprehension.
James obviously struggled, particularly with the words ‘again’ and ‘another’. He had a few goes and finally got ‘another’ right. I gave him the correct spelling for ‘again’ which he eventually verbalised as ‘a – gain’ with the long a in gain, as if to make a mental note of how it should be written. James struggled to string words into sentences; his perseverance was truly awesome. This was when we got on to ‘another piece of cake’ and he stumbled on ‘piece’. I suggested ‘piece of pie’ and his face lit up and he said, “oh, that’s a good way of remembering it.” Little did he realise that he thought up ‘a-gain’ all by himself!
Like Tania, James is lacking but keen to learn literacy strategies and skills. So, I thought I’d compile a list of spelling tips (Google doc), at least, and share it with him and perhaps the other kids in the program.
I’m not a literacy specialist so I’m hoping my PLN can help either by leaving a tip as a comment below or adding on to the Google doc of spelling tips. Links to resources would be good, too, though I really have to follow the set program as a volunteer.
Tips for teaching literacy improvement are welcome too, of course!
One could argue, I suppose, that technology can help with auto-correct thereby minimising the importance of learning to spell correctly. I am not in a position to argue either way though biased towards correct spelling. Anyway, all I want to do is to support the program and help James. If you can help in any way, it would be much appreciated.