By Margaret Lee Peters
'With admirable readability, Mrs Peters sums up what determines competence in spelling and the normal and new ways to its teaching.' -Times Literary complement
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Extra info for Caught or Taught? A New Look
Further evidence is in the number of intelligent and even literary adults who are poor spellers who almost universally report that they learned to read early in life, often ‘at their mother’s knee’. Their poor spelling stems from their just not having needed to look closely at words as they read. They happily skipped along as they read with their mother, anticipating rather than reacting to the print. This, in school, is what used to be called learning to read by ‘Look and Say’, and as Dean (1968) stated, learning to read by ‘look and say’, is an approach unlikely to promote close examination of words.
Words must be found in the sequence of the presented letters of the word. We must, therefore, teach children to look for ‘ten’ in ‘Tottenham’, ‘sea’ in ‘Chelsea’, ‘and’ in ‘Wanderers’, ‘right’ in ‘Brighton’. Football results are fertile ground for this useful activity. g. ‘Some of the women will come home from Rome’. The teacher who knows what spelling is like can do this quickly and relevantly and it is a most valuable skill and asset. The dangers of syllabification When learning a word by Fernald’s multi-sensory method or by any Look, Cover, Write, Check technique it is tempting for teachers to break words up into syllables.
A short message like this, written out on the board and removed, and written again in short exposures, is making all the demands of looking with intent, interest and intention to reproduce that are basic to spelling Teaching the catching of spelling 48 and in a practical and short-lived situation. There are many variations on this kind of technique. Some teachers write the word they wish to teach on paper which, when held up to the light, reveals the word. When put down on the table, the child cannot see the word and can, therefore, not copy it.
Caught or Taught? A New Look by Margaret Lee Peters