Does your child have dyslexia, dysgraphia, use phonetic spelling, or have extreme difficulty with spelling?
What Works as Assistive Technology for Spelling?”
Research shows that weekly spelling tests DO NOT WORK for improving a child’s spelling ability when the child has a specific learning disabilities. Research shows self-correction brings about a significant and permanent improvement in spelling.
“Error self-correction also has proven successful for improving the spelling performance of elementary students with disabilities (Alber and Walshe 2004; Grskovic and Belfiore 1996). The findings of this study indicate that high school students with deficits specifically in written expression also can use error self-correction to improve their spelling performance. This is valuable because individuals’ difficulties with spelling can be more difficult to remediate as they get older (Brice 2004).” (From “Error self-correction and spelling: improving the spelling accuracy of secondary students with disabilities in written expression,” 2007, by Kim Viel-Ruma, David Houchins, and Laura Fredrick).
More information on self-correction in a moment, but I did want to let you know if you’re interested in other strategies for Writing, there is additional information available about other Assistive Technology for Dysgraphia and Writing Disabilities.
How Does Self-Correction of Spelling Work?
Using the self-correction method and assistive technology for spelling is a relatively simple, two-step process.
Step 1: When your child writes a composition of any kind, you simply highlight words which contain spelling errors. If your child is using a Word Processor with Spell Checker, then having the spell checker activated will generally underline misspelled words with a red line.
Step 2: Your child looks up the correct spelling of the word and corrects his own spelling error. When a child has spelling difficulties, looking up the word itself can be difficult, which is where electronic spellers, the assistive technology for spelling, can be a great tool.
How Can a Child with Phonetic Spelling Difficulties Self-Correct?”
Using phonetic spelling is common for children with dyslexia, but often the phonetic spellings they use are widely variant from one spelling to the next. This can make self-correction a very difficult task.
Enter Electronic Spellers, which are awesome assistive technology for helping a child self-correct spelling errors. When a child keys in his phonetic spelling of a word, Franklin Spellers (in particular) are excellent for presenting a list of words that your child probably meant to spell.
For example, your child may type “geumt” (a real spelling of a child with dyslexia) and the speller will present phonetic alternatives, including “jumped,” which is the word the child intended. For each word, the child can select it to be presented with a definition which enables the child to determine if it is the correct word. Some of the electronic spellers have built in text-to-speech capabilities and earphones so your child can still use the electronic speller even if he can’t read yet.
Why Does Self-Correction Work Better than Spelling Tests?”
The reason self-correction works so well is because it is an active, engaged process for your child. Your child has to determine the correct spelling, and make the corrections himself. When your child self-corrects a specific word repeatedly, he builds the neurological memory-recall pathways for that word. The repeated-memory recall process means he’ll eventually be able to remember the spelling with out assistive technology for spelling.
Additionally, when your child repeatedly spells a word incorrectly, and repeatedly corrects the word, over time he will remember that word better. Your child only works on words he doesn’t know how to spell. He quits working on words he has already mastered. Thus, greater efficiency and individualization comes from using the self-correction method for improving spelling abilities.
Self-Correction is the method that worked well for my son when no other method, including years of repetitive weekly spelling tests, did not work. We began using the self-correction spelling method after I researched for the most proven method of remediating spelling difficulties.
We used self-correction of spelling errors throughout high school for both of my boys. In addition to we saw marked improvement in their spelling abilities, including phonetic spelling. My boys became very skilled at self-correcting their own work. The level of skill acquisition my boys achieved is serving them extremely well as college students. 😀
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