So there are two different parts to this section.  Many people ask how we should teach and/or test spelling words.  Others want to know about all the spelling rules (most of which we were never taught).  So let’s talk about both!

How should we test spelling words?

There is a lot of talk about spelling tests.  Should we use them or not? I think what is important here is to think about the WHY.

What is the purpose of your spelling test?  If it is simply to have kids memorize words for the week and then move on, does that really serve your students? (To be clear, I do not think this is ever the intention of the teacher but some programs teach this way).

I realized that my kids would memorize their words just for the test and then guess what? Within the next few days, they forgot them!  This goes back to how our brains store words and the orthographic mapping process.

For most of us, the goal is for kids to really learn these words right?  And to learn words, kids need skills.  So why not test skills rather than words?  Let me show you what I mean by that.

So, if the skill you are working on is Short A, practice that skill, map words with short A… you can even send home a practice list for parents to use (grab the freebie in the library!). Then when it comes to the test (I like to call them word challenges to alleviate test anxiety), use different short A words.  Again, we are checking the skill, not the words!

What about all the Spelling Rules?

I have to admit, I was one of the loudest voices always complaining that English didn’t make any sense. However, since learning about the Science of Reading and all the rules (no one ever taught me), I have to admit, it actually DOES make sense!

If you are looking for a list of the rules, I highly recommend these 2 books:

Here are some videos that explain some lesser known rules as well!

Stay tuned for spelling rules resources coming soon!

How to teach the kids when to use ER, IR, or UR. This same idea applies to EA/EE words as well!

Why does CH make different sounds?

DR & TR Blends (It’s tricky!)

The 3 sounds of ED

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