A Perfect, Imperfect Lesson in Spelling

Happy Monday, everybody! Did y’all have beautiful fall weather in your area? We sure did in Texas! My dogs were spoiled with longer walks, dinners with the Hubs each evening on the patio and I just felt so relaxed all weekend ~ something about cooler weather that renews your soul deep down!!

Today, I’m sharing a video of a lesson last week with one of my sweet 5th grade nuggets of love ~ it was a perfect, imperfect lesson…

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About twice a week I meet with a 5th grade student who has completed the Dyslexia program at my school.
Dyslexia is life-long. Even in the best dyslexia programs – which I consider my school district’s to be – most dyslexic students need continuing instruction in application after two & a half years in an Orton-Gillingham, systematic, multi-sensory, not to mention, intensive intervention.
Strategies and skills are taught in OG-based programs, but as with any child’s brain at age 9 or 10, it is still growing and processing how to use information learned.
My sweet, very intuitive 5th grader, did not feel very confident about leaving the program last year. She had a great memory for the strategies she’d learned since 2nd grade; however, the application was not happening on a regular basis.
So, we decided to meet twice a week this year to ‘build’ a spelling notebook.  This is a notebook students and I build together to learn spelling rules for all of the 44 English sounds in every position of a word.

~ Seems overwhelming, but anyone can teach this information to their students.  I have showed classroom teachers and parents the basics and they are now using this notebook for their struggling students and children.  One of my passions is that classroom teachers have easy to use materials in order to provide students effective & differentiated spelling and reading instruction. There are a lot of materials out there for spelling & reading  ~I have experienced success using the Spelling Notebook to reinforce spelling strategies and rules with students.

~all levels of students.  This is not being taught in the classroom.  Only about 1% of 1% of the students have a natural ability to spell.  Students need to have direct, effective spelling instruction if they are going to become successful readers.

The video below shows part of our lesson last week.  I picked this particular part to share because it shows how to work through the unexpected that is sure to come up throughout teaching the spelling rules in the Spelling Notebook.

Prior to the Final Stable Syllable section of the spelling notebook, students are introduced to at least 3-4 of the 6 Syllable Types – Open, Closed, VCe, and VCCV.  You will see the importance of applying these patterns to build confidence in spelling for a dyslexic student as my 5th grader attempts to spell a word with Final Stable Syllable [fle.  She quickly corrects herself, but as any teacher, I wanted to make sure she understood, thus the questioning ~leading her to verbalize why she corrected her initial, automatic spelling of the word.  This ultimately lead me to understand her thought processes.  Having her verbalize her steps allows her to become more aware of her thought processes when spelling.  It helps me understand how to guide her in correct application of spelling rules & strategies.

Here is a Free Download of Teaching 6 Syllable Types  – it includes a teacher guide and posters to help with instruction. This is important to incorporate in teaching the short and long vowel sections of the notebook.

If you would like to view more videos on how to teach the Spelling Notebook, click the tab “Teaching Videos” and “Educational Resources” for links.

~sherri     31 Days


  1. Kudos to you for helping out traditional classroom teachers and parents so they can truly advocate and assist their children’s reading struggles.

    1. Thank you! I appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

  2. Very interesting – I am NOT a teacher! And I never had to deal with dyslexia with any of my children. I really enjoyed reading today’s post and watching the video as you were guiding your student through this process! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Barbara!

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