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Assessment-based Individualized Learning

Every educational movement needs a catchy new acronym. ABIL will have to do: Assessment-based Individualized Learning. Simply put, it’s the supplemental instruction students need to catch up  while they keep up with grade-level instruction.

What It’s Not

  • ABIL is nothing new. Teachers have been doing it forever.
  • It’s not about creating individual educational plans for every student.
  • It’s not a replacement for rigorous Standards-based, grade-level instruction.
  • It’s not funky differentiated instruction.
  • It’s not one teaching methodology: small groups, lit circles, writers workshop, learning centers, etc.
  • Impossible or unmanageable.

What It Is

  • Foundational content, concepts, and skills that every student needs to access rigorous Standards-based, grade-level instruction.
  • Reliable and valid diagnostic assessments to determine individual student mastery and deficits in those prerequisites. Assessments which are comprehensive and teachable–not random samples. For example, what reading and English-language arts teacher cares about learning that Johnny has some sight word deficits? Good teachers want to know precisely which sight words Johnny kn0ws and does not know to be able to efficiently teach to Johnny’s specific needs.
  • Reading assessments: upper and lower case alphabet, syllable awareness, syllable rhyming, phonemic isolation, phonemic blending, phonemic segmenting, outlaw words, rimes, sight syllables, word recognition level, short vowel sound-spellings, long vowel sound-spellings, vowel digraph sound-spellings, vowel diphthong sound-spellings, silent final e, consonant sound-spellings, consonant blend sound-spellings, consonant digraph sound-spellings. Reading fluency level, word recognition level, instructional reading level.
  • Previous grade-level spelling assessment: Every spelling pattern and conventional spelling rule.
  • Previous grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics assessments.
  • Curriculum which directly corresponds to each assessment item with progress monitoring matrices to ensure student mastery and is conducive to concurrent instruction in grade-level Standards.
  • The key ingredient of RtI (Response to Intervention) besides quality, accessible grade-level instruction.
  • What special ed and ELD students need most.
  • How you would want your own child taught with rigorous grade-level instruction and individualized learning to remediate any relative weaknesses.

The author of this article, Mark Pennington, provides assessments and curricular resources to implement Assessment-based Individualized Learning. Want to check out the curriculum? Click here. Want to download the assessments, answers, and recording matrices described above for your students?

ELA/Reading Assessments

Grammar/Mechanics, Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Six Simple Steps to Teaching Spelling

Grades 4-8 spelling instruction was once relegated to editing stage of the writing process by some Writers Workshop purists. The Common Core authors would seem to concur. From grade 5 on up, the only Spelling Standards read as follows: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.2e ; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.2e Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.2b ; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.2b ; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.2b Spell correctly.

However, many veteran grades 4-8 teachers still teach spelling, especially in terms of spelling patterns, conventional spelling rules, derivational and etymological influences, accent placements and vowel shifts because they know how structural word analysis facilitates proper use of our language, better reading comprehension, and improved writing.

Plus, when you know your students still can’t spell the there, their, and they’re words, someone’s gotta teach ’em!

So, what’s the most efficient, research-based methodology to teach spelling in the fewest number of instructional minutes per week?

Six Simple Steps to Teaching Spelling:

Monday

1. Administer a weekly diagnostic pretest of 20 words based upon a focus spelling pattern: not a silly holidays, colors, or “ed” word themed list. Check out my grades 4-8 spelling patterns instructional scope and sequence for guidance. Briefly explain the weekly spelling pattern with examples. Display the spelling words and direct students to self-correct their spelling errors by circling the misspelled sound-spellings.

Tuesday

2. Have students create their own Personal Spelling List of 10 unknown words. Students complete the Personal Spelling List in this priority order:

  • Pretest Errors: Have students write the spelling words they missed on the diagnostic pretest.
  • Posttest Errors: Have students write the words they missed on the last posttest.
  • Writing Errors: Have students add on teacher-corrected spelling errors found in their own writing.
  • Supplemental Spelling Lists: Students add on unknown words from non-phonetic outlaw words, commonly confused homonyms, spelling demons, and high frequency lists. I provide these in my spelling programs or teachers can simply do a web search to find appropriate lists for your students.

Wednesday

3. Create or purchase (Yes, my program has them) a spelling sort based upon the spelling pattern. Students complete the sort and self-correct to learn from their own mistakes.

Thursday

4. Individualize Spelling Instruction

  • Administer a spelling patterns diagnostic assessment, not a random sample spelling inventory. Feel free to use my 102 word Diagnostic Spelling Assessment and recording matrix for each student, post the matrix and print the number of Spelling Pattern Worksheets according to the results and amount of students in your class. Here’s an audio version to make you really love this assessment 🙂
  • Print the answers to these worksheets in a half-dozen Answer Booklets.
  • Students complete a worksheet, self-correct and edit the practice section, and then complete the formative assessment at the bottom of each worksheet. Want to see some samples? Download the following six Spelling Pattern Worksheets including short schwa, long schwa, “_able,” “_ible,” “_ant-ance-ancy,” and “_ent-ence-ency”  spelling patterns (with answers).

Get the Spelling Pattern Worksheets FREE Resource:

  • Students mini-conference about the spelling pattern focus of the worksheet. If the student has mastered the spelling pattern in the formative assessment, direct the student to X-out the slash on the matrix and assign points. If the formative assessment indicates that the student has not yet mastered the spelling pattern, re-teach the pattern and tell the student to re-do the formative assessment.
  • 5. Students study their Personal Spelling List(s) for the spelling formative posttest for homework.

    Friday

    6. Administer a weekly or bi-weekly posttest. Many teachers elect to give the spelling posttest at the end of the week; others choose to combine two spelling patterns lessons and include these as part of the bi-weekly unit test. I give a bi-weekly test of two Personal Spelling Lists to save class time. There is no law, nor research, saying that you have to test each Friday.To administer the weekly or bi-weekly posttest, direct students to take out a piece of binder paper, find a partner, and exchange dictation of their Personal Spelling List(s) words (10‒20 Minutes weekly or bi-weekly). Students then turn in their posttests for the teacher to grade. I know… you think they’ll cheat. In my experience, very few do. Also… this works with second graders (I’ve done it) on up.

    The author’s Differentiated Spelling Instruction provides quality spelling programs for grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Following are the program components:

    Pennington Publishing's Differentiated Spelling Instruction

    Differentiated Spelling Instruction

    • Diagnostic Spelling Assessment: a comprehensive test of each previous grade level spelling pattern to determine what students know and what they don’t know with Spelling Assessment Mastery Matrix
    • 102 Remedial Sound-Spelling Worksheets Corresponding to the Diagnostic Spelling Assessment (Grade 8… other grade levels have fewer to correspond with grade-level spellings. All grade levels use the same diagnostic assessment.)
    • Weekly Diagnostic Spelling Tests
    • Weekly Spelling Sort Worksheets for Each Spelling Pattern (with answers) formatted for classroom display. Students self-correct to learn from their own mistakes.
    • Syllable Transformers and Syllable Blending formatted for classroom display and interactive instruction
    • Syllable Worksheets (with answers) formatted for classroom display
    • Four Formative Assessments (given after 7 weeks of instruction)
    • Summative Assessment
    • Spelling Teaching Resources: How to Study Spelling Words, Spelling Proofreading Strategies for Stories and Essays, Syllable and Accent Rules, Outlaw Words, 450 Most Frequently Used Words, 100 Most Often Misspelled Words, 70 Most Commonly Confused Words, Eight Great Spelling Rules, Memory Songs and Raps (with Mp3 links), and Spelling Review Games

    Read one of our customer testimonials: “I work with a large ELL population at my school and was not happy with the weekly spelling tests, etc. Through my research in best practices, I know that spelling patterns and word study are so important at this age group. However, I just couldn’t find anything out there that combines the two. We have just adopted RtI at my school and your spelling matrix is a great tool for documentation. The grade level spelling program and remediation are perfect for my students.”

    Heidi

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    The Hard and Soft c and g Spelling Rule

    The Hard and Soft /c/ and /g/ Spelling Rule

    Check out the song! 

    Hard c Sound “c[a,o,u]” , “k[e,i]” , “__ck” , “__c” 

    The hard c sound heard in kangaroo can be spelled “ca” as in cat, “co” as in comb, “cu” as in cut, “ke” as in ketchup, “ki” as in kit, “_ck” as in kick, and “_c” as in basic.

    Hard g Sound “g[a,o,u]”                                      

    The hard g sound heard in goose can be spelled “ga” as in gas, “go” as in got, and “gu” as in gun.

    Soft c Sound “s” and “c[e,i,y]” 

     The s sound heard in seagull can be spelled “s” as in see, “ce” as in receive, “ci” as in city, and “cy” as in tricycle.

    Soft g Sound “j” , “g[e,i,y]” ,  __dge”                 

    The j sound heard in jackrabbit can be spelled “j” as in jump, “ge” as in gel, “gi” as in ginger, “gy” as in biology, “dge” as in badge.

    Hard and Soft CG Blues

    We shout ’em, “Hard /c/! Hard /g/!”

    They come before ao, or u.

    We whisper, “Soft /c/! Soft /g/!”

    They come before ei, or y.

    Oh yes they do.

    The author of this song, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and th

    Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , ,

    New Teacher Resources: 1000 ELA and Reading Worksheets

    Veteran ELA and reading teachers learn to expect the unexpected. After all, things don’t always go as planned in the classroom. But, if you’re new to the profession, it may be helpful to remember the Boy Scout motto: “Be Prepared.”

    For example, a seventh grade ELA colleague ran into our staff workroom a few months back, screaming “Oh s___! They’re done.” Believe me. It will happen to you.

    Students do finish early or take more time than planned. Sometimes students need more practice, while others do not.

    Also, stuff happens. The projector bulb burned out and no one ordered any. It wasn’t supposed to rain today. I just can’t teach with this headache, and there’s no one to cover for me. “Ring, ring. Sorry to interrupt, but Johnny’s mother called and he will be on vacation for two weeks. She wants to pick up his work in an hour.” “Yvette needs more challenging work. Do you have something we could do to support her at home?”

    All teachers need back-up. Wouldn’t it be great to have something ready to go just in case? And something good−not drill and kill like “Circle the 400 nouns in this story”; not lame busy work like a word search or crossword.

    1000 ELA and Reading Worksheets for Grades 4-8 Teachers

    Every teacher needs back-up!

    How about 1000 ELA and Reading Worksheets? Independent content and skill worksheets for grades 4−8 with easy to follow directions, clear definitions and examples, concise practice sections, writing applications, and answers for students to self-correct. Plus a short formative assessment for you to evaluate whether the student has mastered the content or skill in a mini-conference when things get back to normal. Standards-based, quality instruction in grammar, usage, mechanics, reading skills, spelling patterns, writing skills, study skills, and critical thinking. No prep and no correction. Perfect for both veteran and new teachers. Use the free assessments on our website and assign these worksheets to individualize assessment-based instruction.

    Also, new teachers need answers to their questions. And you will have questions! However, at this point, you may not know what you don’t know. Student teaching helps, but every class and teaching situation is new. Talk to any veteran teacher. We all have butterflies about the first day of school. Many of us have a few nightmares as well. Here are a few things you might think of… Don’t get overwhelmed, but it’s good to know new teachers and veteran teachers are in the same boat. Just don’t be up a creek without a paddle. Get those worksheetsJ.

    Matt Davis has put together a great set of new teacher resources on Edutopia:
    New (Middle School) Teacher 911 From MiddleWeb
    : Great for middle school teachers. I’m one of them!
    National Education Association’s New Teacher Resources: Great collection from our collective teacher voice.
    Scholastic’s New Teacher Survival Guides: Something new teachers need for every month of your first year, Check outand the The New Teacher’s Guide to Creating Lesson Plans.
    Teaching Channel’s New Teacher Survival Guide: Plenty of advice and discussion here for new teachers.

    What makes these 1000 ELA and Reading Worksheets so special? Each worksheet has been designed for individualized instruction with formative assessments and most include answers for students to self-correct in order to learn from their own mistakes. Each worksheet has been field-tested in grades 4−8 teacher classrooms as part of the author’s comprehensive programs: Teaching the Language Strand, Teaching Grammar and Mechanics, Teaching Essay Strategies, Teaching Reading Strategies, Essential Study Skills, and Critical Thinking Openers Toolkit. But don’t my word for it. Check out the previews for yourself and what other teachers have to say.

    Written by a teacher for teachers and their students. It shows. You write like I teach.

    Jeanne Alread

    The most comprehensive and easy to teach grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, and vocabulary program. The worksheets are fantastic. I’m teaching each Standard in the Language Strand and remediating previous grade level Standards.

    Julie Villenueve

    Grammar/Mechanics, Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Spelling Scope and Sequence

    For many teachers, spelling instruction has taken a back seat to other instruction, especially in the ELA middle and high school classrooms. Perhaps this has been the case because of so many years in which spelling was relegated to an editing-only issue at the tail end of the writing process. Or perhaps this has been the case because of so many years in which spelling was considered as part to whole instruction rather than in the predominant whole to part instruction of whole language reading and constructivism. Or perhaps this has been the case because of so many years in which spelling was considered as the stepchild of vocabulary. Spelling workbooks, once a staple in both the elementary and secondary classrooms, were removed from supplemental program lists at district and state levels. However, things are changing. Educators who once thought that spelling word check would solve students’ spelling and writing issues are squarely facing the fact that they do have a responsibility to teach spelling patterns.

    In fact, most all teachers support teaching some form of simple to complex instructional order in teaching spelling. For example, students need to be able to spell plurals for singular nouns with an ending prior to learning that nouns ending in /ch/, /sh/, /x/, /s/, or are spelled with “es” prior to learning nouns ending in /f/ are spelling with “ves” prior to learning about irregular plurals such as children and deer prior to learning about Latin plural spellings such as “” and “ae.” In other words, the simple academic language and grammatical instruction should precede the more complex. We have supportive (and recent–as of January 2016) educational research to validate this instructional order:

    Here’s the research to support simple to complex instructional order…

    In a January 2016 article, the American Psychological Association published a helpful article titled Practice for Knowledge Acquisition (Not Drill and Kill) in which researchers summarize how instructional practice should be ordered: “Deliberate practice involves attention, rehearsal and repetition and leads to new knowledge or skills that can later be developed into more complex knowledge and skills… (Campitelli & Gobet, 2011).”

    Of course, spelling instruction (like grammar and usage instruction) is certainly recursive. Once the simple is taught to “mastery” and the complex is introduced, the simple is always re-taught and practiced in other instructional contexts. For example, teachers will need to teach and re-teach the before spelling rule yearly from third grade through high school.

    The Common Core Standards present a simple to complex instructional scope and sequence in the Language Strand Standards… albeit less so in the spelling Standards.

    However, grade-level Language Strand Standards do not include a comprehensive spelling scope and sequence. A few examples from the L.2 Standards prove this out. Again, check out the simple to complex instructional order for the capitalization Standards.

    The Conventions of Standard English (Standard 2) requires students to “Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.”

    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.2.D  Spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.1.2.D  Use conventional spelling for words with common spelling patterns and for frequently occurring irregular words.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.1.2.E  Spell untaught words phonetically, drawing on phonemic awareness and spelling conventions.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.2.C  Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.2.D  Generalize learned spelling patterns when writing words (e.g., cage → badge; boy → boil).
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.2.E  Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness).
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.2.F  Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words.
    •  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.2.D and 5.2.D  Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.2.B, etc.  Spell correctly.
     After grade 3 the Common Core State Standards provide no specific spelling pattern Standards.

    So, to summarize… Both educational research and the authors of the Common Core State Standards validate a simple to more complex mechanics sequence of instruction.

    How Should This Affect My Spelling Instruction?

    The simple to complex instructional order is clearly conducive to spelling patterns instruction. Students need to master the basic sound-spellings and sight words before moving on to more complex spelling patterns influenced by derivational affixes and roots. 

    A spelling program with a comprehensive instructional scope and sequence, aligned to the Common Core Language Standards, College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards, and/or State Standards provides a well-defined instructional order.

    Site levels (and districts) need to plan a comprehensive year-to-year scope and sequence for spelling instruction. The Common Core State Standards provide bare bones exemplars or benchmarks, but educators need to fill in the blanks. Students will not improve spelling by reading and writing alone. Students need more spelling instruction than a weekly pre and post test, a personal spelling errors notebook, or simply being required to spelling content vocabulary words correctly. Spelling instruction is sequential.

    A Model Grades 4-8 Spelling Scope and Sequence

    Preview the Grades 4-8 Spelling Scope and Sequence tied to the author’s comprehensive grades 4-8 Language Strand programs. The instructional scope and sequence includes grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, and vocabulary. Teachers and district personnel are authorized to print and share this planning tool, with proper credit and/or citation. Why reinvent the wheel? Also check out my articles on Grammar Scope and Sequence, Mechanics Scope and Sequence, and Vocabulary Scope and Sequence.

    Also check out the diagnostic spelling assessment and recording matrices on the Pennington Publishing website.

     

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 Programs

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based grades 4-8 Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)  programs to teach the Common Core Language Strand Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics worksheets and includes sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    The program also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the author’s program.

    [pdf-embedder url=”http://blog.penningtonpublishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/TLS-Instructional-Scope-and-Sequence-Grades-4-8.pdf”]

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    Research-Based Vocabulary Worksheets

    The two most often-used methods of vocabulary instruction include passing out a vocabulary list to be memorized for the Friday quiz and pre-teaching a few vocabulary words prior to reading. Each method has its limitations. Retention of rote memorization without reinforced, deliberate practice is minimal. Exposure to a key word in a reading selection without context provides minimal understanding.

    Whereas the Common Core State Standards have been widely criticized in some academic areas, I’ve never heard a parent, student, or teacher criticize the vocabulary Standards detailed in the Language Strand. Whether states re-write, re-name, or simply re-number the Common Core State Standards, the essential components of vocabulary instruction are retained. As an MA reading specialist, both vocabulary acquisition and retention are the keys to the kingdom. But minds are not simply empty vessels to be filled with ACT/SAT vocabulary; minds are also to be trained to acquire and retain words on their own. The latter is not the natural process that some describe (or hope for). Surely the process of vocabulary growth can be made more efficient and accurate with training. That’s where good teaching comes in… and one important instructional strategy is the research-based vocabulary worksheet.

    The educational research provides insight as to what makes a vocabulary worksheet an effective instructional strategy for knowledge and/or skills acquisition.

    In a January 2016 article, the American Psychological Association published a helpful article titled “Practice for Knowledge Acquisition (Not Drill and Kill)” in which researchers distinguish between deliberate practice and “drill and kill” rote memorization: “Deliberate practice involves attention, rehearsal and repetition and leads to new knowledge or skills that can later be developed into more complex knowledge and skills… (Campitelli & Gobet, 2011).”

    “… several conditions that must be in place in order for practice activities to be most effective in moving students closer to skillful performance (Anderson, 2008; Campitelli & Gobet, 2011; Ericsson, Krampe, & Clemens, 1993). Each of these conditions can be met with carefully designed instruction.”

    Most of the Tier II academic (not content-specific) language is gained through widespread reading of challenging text, Reading lots of words matters, but reading at a word recognition level of about 5% unknown words, coupled with context clues instruction and practice maximizes the amount of vocabulary acquisition and retention. According the writers of the Common Core, text complexity really matters. Research-based vocabulary worksheets can help provide deliberate practice in how to independently grow vocabulary.

    The second key to vocabulary development is deep instruction in the words themselves. Passing out the vocabulary list to memorize is not “deep instruction.” Let’s take a look at the Common Core Vocabulary Standards to understand. Following are the eighth grade Standards. Highlights are my own to facilitate skimming and to provide your own vocabulary check-list of “Do that,” “Don’t do that, but need to” self-evaluation. After the Standards follows research-based vocabulary worksheets from my grades 4-8 Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) programs and the grades 4-8 Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit (slices of the aforementioned programs) to see how each of the Language Strand Vocabulary Standards L.4, 5, and 6 are incorporated into weekly classroom practice. The examples are from the fifth grade program. Yes, flashcards and tests are included in each program. Each program follows a grades 4-8 instructional scope and sequence and includes the Tier II Academic Words List.

    Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.4
    Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words or phrases based on grade 8 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.4.A
    Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.4.B
    Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., precede, recede, secede).
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.4.C
    Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.4.D
    Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.5
    Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.5.A
    Interpret figures of speech (e.g. verbal irony, puns) in context.
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.5.B
    Use the relationship between particular words to better understand each of the words.
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.5.C
    Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., bullheaded, willful, firm, persistent, resolute).
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.6
    Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
     [pdf-embedder url=”http://blog.penningtonpublishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Vocabulary-Worksheets.pdf”]

    Check out the research-based grammar, usage, and mechanics worksheet and the research-based spelling patterns worksheets.

    Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary

    Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based grades 4-8 Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)  programs to teach the Common Core Language Strand Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics worksheets and includes sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    The program also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the author’s program.

     
    Here are FREE samples of vocabulary worksheets from this comprehensive program–ready to teach in your class today. Each resource includes directions, four grade-specific vocabulary worksheets, worksheet answers, vocabulary study cards, and a short unit test with answers.

    Get the Grade 4 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

    Get the Grade 5 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

    Get the Grade 6 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

    Get the Grade 7 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

    Get the Grade 8 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

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    Research-Based Spelling Worksheets

    Years ago at the height of the whole language movement in California, a fourth grade teacher began his first year of teaching. Committed to teaching to the individual needs of his students, he consulted his mom for advice. Mom had recently retired after teaching 35 years as an intermediate and upper elementary teacher. She also had waded into the middle school environment for a few years before settling down in fifth grade for the last ten years of her career. Mom suggested that he assess his students and then assign targeted worksheets to address specific deficits indicated by the assessments. Her son had never heard this in his experiential learning teacher training program. He knew how to do role plays and simulations, but not much about teaching (even in his methods classes).

    Mom climbed up into the attic and brought down her neatly packed boxes of teaching files. She dug out hundreds of grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and reading worksheets for her son to check out.

    The rookie teacher was overwhelmed at the treasure trove of resources. Most of the worksheets fit the fourth grade age level and were quite good. As a veteran teacher, mom had carefully weeded out the “drill and kill” worksheets and had saved the ones that students learned from best. Every worksheet had been field tested and had Mom’s seal of approval. Some of the worksheets were from educational publishers long out of business or bought up by huge educational syndicates, but most of the worksheets were Mom’s own–no doubt revisions of store-bought products. Half of these worksheets were on old mimeograph (ditto) paper (Remember the smell?) Half of them were word processed documents after the advent of cheaper school copiers and duplo machines.

    Mom warned her son not to share the worksheets with colleagues. No, she wasn’t worried about the copyright infringements; she was worried that her untenured son would be accused of not solely teaching the district adopted curriculum. She had heard that State Superintendent of Schools, Bill Honig, had removed workbooks from the approved supplemental resource list and was even reported as telling principals to confiscate any spelling workbooks at school sites. Those were the early days of the National Writing Project in which spelling (and punctuation, grammar, and word choice) were relegated to the editing-only stage of the writing process. Teachers regularly told students not to worry about spelling (or anything smacking of language conventions) during the rough draft stage of their writing because they could “clean up” the language for their final draft. If they chose to complete final drafts.

    Of course spelling, grammar, usage, mechanics, and vocabulary scores plummeted during the late 1980s and early 1990s, sparking yet another “Back to Basics” movement. Mom had warned her son about the cyclical nature of educational movements and philosophies. “Been there; done that,” said Mom. “Remember that your first priority is to your students. You will learn what works best. But don’t be dumb. Wait until you’re tenured to share any of these worksheets with your colleagues. They’ll want them… even the ones that have said otherwise.”

    In his fourth grade classroom the new teacher faithfully taught the district adopted curriculum, but he found time to “sneak in” worksheets targeted to individual assessment-based skills and concepts deficits. Students completed assigned worksheets, self-corrected and self-edited any errors from the Answer Book, and brought up the graded worksheet to their teacher for review. Each worksheet had a short test (a formative assessment) to see if the student had mastered the focus skill or concept. The test was a short written application to see if the student understood and could use what was learned correctly. Most of the time the student successfully masted the skill. Students loved completing the worksheets and placing the gold star next to their name on the wall poster.

    The spring test results came in shortly after school started back up in September. The principal called in the now second-year teacher and asked him why his test scores were so much higher than those of his grade level team. “I just followed the district-adopted curriculum and I had great kids,” he replied.

    That night he took Mom out the dinner.

    The educational research provides insight as to what makes a spelling worksheet an effective instructional strategy for knowledge and/or skills acquisition.

    In a January 2016 article, the American Psychological Association published a helpful article titled “Practice for Knowledge Acquisition (Not Drill and Kill)” in which researchers distinguish between deliberate practice and “drill and kill” rote memorization: “Deliberate practice involves attention, rehearsal and repetition and leads to new knowledge or skills that can later be developed into more complex knowledge and skills… (Campitelli & Gobet, 2011).”

    “… several conditions that must be in place in order for practice activities to be most effective in moving students closer to skillful performance (Anderson, 2008; Campitelli & Gobet, 2011; Ericsson, Krampe, & Clemens, 1993). Each of these conditions can be met with carefully designed instruction.”

    As publisher of the grades 4-8 Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) programs and the grades 4-8 Differentiated Spelling Instruction (slices of the aforementioned programs), our company has applied the following research suggestions to create research-based spelling worksheets. Following will state the research suggestions listed as “Dos” in the above article and the specific worksheet applications of the research will follow with the worksheets from the programs listed above. A sample Spelling Patterns Worksheet is provided thereafter.

    1. Teachers should design practice tasks with students existing knowledge in mind. The Spelling Pattern Worksheets are assigned according to the results of the Diagnostic Spelling Assessment (the link connects to the eight grade assessment). Each of the grades 4-8 assessments includes an audio file to make administration simple (great for make-ups as well). Here’s a link to the eighth grade audio file and to the recording matrix for progress monitoring. These whole class assessments perfectly correspond with the targeted worksheets so that students complete only those grade level spelling patterns which students have not yet mastered. When students succeed at practice problems, the benefits of practice are maximized. But when students become frustrated with unrealistic or poorly designed practice problems, they often lose motivation, will not receive the full benefits of the practice they have done, and will be less motivated to attempt future practice problems. Students are motivated to practice by mastering each unmastered concept or skill, marked with an “/” on the data matrix. Once a student has mastered a worksheet, points are assigned and the teacher (or student) changes the unmastered “/” into a mastered “X” on the data matrix. Yes, gold stars work, too!
    2. Provide clear instructions on performance expectations and criteria. Guide students through sample practice problems by using prompts that help them reflect on problem-solving strategies. Break complex problems into their constituent elements, and have students practice on these smaller elements before asking them to solve complex problems independently. Directions are concisely and clearly written so that students can complete the worksheets independently. Each worksheet has been field tested in grades 4-8 classrooms and revised to ensure student success. The applicable spelling rules and examples are provided before the practice section on every worksheet.
    3. Provide students with fully completed sample problems as well as partially completed sample problems before asking them to apply new problem-solving strategies on their own. The Spelling Pattern Worksheets provide samples (examples) of each focus spelling pattern.
    4. Students should have repeated opportunities to practice a task through practicing other tasks like it. Students complete a spelling sort to apply the focus spelling pattern. The practice section also includes rhyme, word search, and word jumble activities.
    5. Students receive the greatest benefits from practice when teachers provide them with timely and descriptive feedbackStudents complete the spelling sort and practice section and self-correct and self-edit from the Answers Booklet to gain immediate feedback and learn from their own mistakes.
    6. Provide plenty of opportunities for students to practice applying problem-solving skills before you test them on their ability to use those skills. Next, students complete a short formative assessment (a brief written application of the focused spelling patterns) at the bottom of each worksheet and bring up the completed worksheet to the teacher for a mini-conference. The teacher evaluates the formative assessment to determine mastery and quickly checks the practice section to make sure that the student has completed and self-corrected. If mastered, the teacher (or student) changes the unmastered “/” into a mastered “X” on the data matrix. If unmastered, the teacher briefly re-teaches and the student completes the formative assessment once more.
    7. Distribute practice over extended periods of time. Students work at their own pace, completing the Spelling Pattern Worksheets. The teacher provides points for each mastered worksheet.

    [pdf-embedder url=”http://blog.penningtonpublishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Spelling-Worksheet.pdf”]

    Check out the research-based grammar, usage, and mechanics worksheets and the research-based vocabulary worksheets.

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based grades 4-8 Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)  programs to teach the Common Core Language Strand Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics worksheets and includes sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    The program also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the author’s program.

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    Research-Based Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Worksheets

    Not all worksheets are created alike. Worksheets need not “drill and kill” students to boredom or busy-work. Good teachers can spot a good worksheet when they see one.

    Research-based worksheets serve any number of important instructional objectives:

    • Worksheets can target practice in a specific skill or help students learn a new concept.
    • Worksheets can serve as excellent independent practice.
    • Teachers can use worksheets to individualize instruction according to the results of diagnostic assessments.
    • Worksheets can also provide purposeful work while the teacher works one-on-one with a student or with a small group of students.

    The educational research provides insight as to what makes a grammar, usage, and mechanics worksheet an effective instructional strategy for knowledge and/or skills acquisition.

    In a January 2016 article, the American Psychological Association published a helpful article titled “Practice for Knowledge Acquisition (Not Drill and Kill)” in which researchers distinguish between deliberate practice and “drill and kill” rote memorization: “Deliberate practice involves attention, rehearsal and repetition and leads to new knowledge or skills that can later be developed into more complex knowledge and skills… (Campitelli & Gobet, 2011).”

    “… several conditions that must be in place in order for practice activities to be most effective in moving students closer to skillful performance (Anderson, 2008; Campitelli & Gobet, 2011; Ericsson, Krampe, & Clemens, 1993). Each of these conditions can be met with carefully designed instruction.”

    As publisher of the grades 4-8 Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) programs and the Teaching Grammar and Mechanics Interactive Notebook, our company has applied the following research suggestions to create research-based grammar, usage, and mechanics worksheets. Following will state the research suggestions listed as “Dos” in the above article and the specific worksheet applications of the research will follow with the worksheets from the programs listed above. A sample Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Worksheet is provided thereafter.

    1. Teachers should design practice tasks with students existing knowledge in mind. The Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Worksheets are assigned according to the results of the Diagnostic Grammar and Usage Assessment and the Diagnostic Mechanics Assessment. These whole class assessments perfectly correspond with the targeted worksheets so that students complete only those concepts and skills which students have not yet mastered. The teacher monitors progress on a data matrix. The publisher’s worksheet do not teach concepts or skills in isolation. Each is properly contextualized to build upon prior knowledge. Each is taught in the context of writing. When students succeed at practice problems, the benefits of practice are maximized. But when students become frustrated with unrealistic or poorly designed practice problems, they often lose motivation, will not receive the full benefits of the practice they have done, and will be less motivated to attempt future practice problems. Students are motivated to practice by mastering each unmastered concept or skill, marked with an “/” on the data matrix. Once a student has mastered a worksheet, points are assigned and the teacher (or student) changes the unmastered “/” into a mastered “X” on the data matrix.
    2. Provide clear instructions on performance expectations and criteria. Guide students through sample practice problems by using prompts that help them reflect on problem-solving strategies. Break complex problems into their constituent elements, and have students practice on these smaller elements before asking them to solve complex problems independently. Directions are concisely and clearly written so that students can complete the worksheets independently. Each worksheet has been field tested in grades 4-8 classrooms and revised to ensure student success. Definitions of key academic language (and grammar lingo) are provided.
    3. Provide students with fully completed sample problems as well as partially completed sample problems before asking them to apply new problem-solving strategies on their own. The Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Worksheets provide samples (examples) of each instructional application of the focus concept or skill.
    4. Students should have repeated opportunities to practice a task through practicing other tasks like it. Students complete a practice section that is not too long, and not too short. The practice sections have been carefully designed to be comprehensive, yet not repetitious. Every instructional component of the focus concept or skill has at least one deliberate practice opportunity.
    5. Students receive the greatest benefits from practice when teachers provide them with timely and descriptive feedbackStudents complete the practice section and self-correct and self-edit from the Answers Booklet to gain immediate feedback and learn from their own mistakes.
    6. Provide plenty of opportunities for students to practice applying problem-solving skills before you test them on their ability to use those skills. Next, students complete a short formative assessment (a brief written application of the concept or skill) at the bottom of each worksheet and bring up the completed worksheet to the teacher for a mini-conference. The teacher evaluates the formative assessment to determine mastery and quickly checks the practice section to make sure that the student has completed and self-corrected. If mastered, the teacher (or student) changes the unmastered “/” into a mastered “X” on the data matrix. If unmastered, the teacher briefly re-teaches and the student completes the formative assessment once more.
    7. Distribute practice over extended periods of time. Students work at their own pace, completing the Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Worksheets. The teacher provides points for each mastered worksheet.

    [pdf-embedder url=”http://blog.penningtonpublishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Grammar-Usage-and-Mechanics-Worksheet-1.pdf”]

    Check out the research-based spelling patterns worksheets and the research-based vocabulary worksheets.

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based grades 4-8 Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)  programs to teach the Common Core Language Strand Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics worksheets and includes sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    The program also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the author’s program.

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    Drill and Kill Worksheets

    Teachers are no different than most people. They say one thing, but often do another. Most teachers (I certainly will include myself) have at one point in their teaching careers derided the use of drill and kill worksheets as a waste of valuable instructional time. We have slandered rote memorization and isolated skills instruction. We have rolled our eyes and whispered derogatory comments in the staff room about lazy and uncreative Mr. Worksheet. Isn’t it time for him to retire?

    However, if you google “grammar worksheets,” you get 2,970,000 hits; if you google “vocabulary worksheets,” you get 8,250,000. Clearly more teachers other than Mr. Worksheet like their worksheets and see the value of deliberate, targeted, independent practice. Thought I’d dig into the educational research a bit to see whether what teachers say or what teachers do makes more sense.

    In a 2016 article titled “Practice for Knowledge Acquisition (Not Drill and Kill)” for the American Psychological Association, researchers present the case for deliberate practice: “It doesn’t matter what subject you teach, differences in students performance are affected by how much they engage in deliberate practice… Deliberate practice is not the same as rote repetition. Rote repetition — simply repeating a task — will not by itself improve performance. Deliberate practice involves attention, rehearsal and repetition and leads to new knowledge or skills that can later be developed into more complex knowledge and skills. Although other factors such as intelligence and motivation affect performance, practice is necessary if not sufficient for acquiring expertise (Campitelli & Gobet, 2011).”

    Although deliberate practice is not solely reserved for worksheets, it would certainly seem that targeted, independent worksheets can certainly provide deliberate practice that involves “attention, rehearsal, and repetition” and need not succumb to rote repetition. Worksheets can also introduce and help students practice “new knowledge or skills that can later be developed into more complex knowledge and skills.”

    Math teacher, Robert Evan Foster, discusses the difference between deliberate practice and rote repetition on math worksheets in an interesting article: “There is a paradoxical problem in teaching math. Students need to know certain mundane facts so they can move on to problem solving. A student who has to look up every multiplication fact on a cheat sheet lengthens their homework algebraically. On one hand, a teacher needs to make sure the students know their math facts. On the other hand, the teacher risks mind numbing boredom on the part of the students doing the homework.”

    “I think that the root of the dilemma is found in the length of the worksheets. I was asked the question, ‘If a student can demonstrate that they know how to divide a three-digit number, by a two-digit number 100% of the time with five problems, why do they have to do an additional 45?’ Teachers don’t have to assign more problems than necessary for the student to demonstrate mastery of the math skill. Five problems will do just as well as 50. You have students who are learning their basic math facts. In turn, they aren’t wilting in the field out of boredom doing the last 45 problems.”

    So, besides deliberate, targeted practice (avoiding rote memorization) of new knowledge or skills, what do the American Psychological Association researchers suggest? I’ve weeded out a few of their suggestions and focused in these key ones. See the article for the entire list.

    Research (Anderson, 2008; Campitelli & Gobet, 2011; Ericsson, Krampe, & Clemens, 1993) suggests several conditions that must be in place in order for practice activities to be most effective in moving students closer to skillful performance. Each of these conditions can be met with carefully designed instruction:

    • Teachers should design practice tasks with students existing knowledge in mind. When students succeed at practice problems, the benefits of practice are maximized. But when students become frustrated with unrealistic or poorly designed practice problems, they often lose motivation, will not receive the full benefits of the practice they have done, and will be less motivated to attempt future practice problems.
    • Students receive the greatest benefits from practice when teachers provide them with timely and descriptive feedback.
    • Students should have repeated opportunities to practice a task through practicing other tasks like it.
    • Distribute practice over extended periods of time.
    • Provide clear instructions on performance expectations and criteria.
    • Break complex problems into their constituent elements, and have students practice on these smaller elements before asking them to solve complex problems independently.
    • Guide students through sample practice problems by using prompts that help them reflect on problem-solving strategies.
    • Provide students with fully completed sample problems as well as partially completed sample problems before asking them to apply new problem-solving strategies on their own.
    • Provide plenty of opportunities for students to practice applying problem-solving skills before you test them on their ability to use those skills.

    Considering these research suggestions, it certainly seems to me that targeted, independent worksheets can provide effective practice if they are “carefully designed” to apply the educational researchSo maybe what teachers do for their students (using worksheets) actually does make sense.

    The author of this article has written English-language arts and reading programs for grades 4-8 teachers and their students which include assessment-based worksheets, designed according to the above research-based suggestions. For examples of worksheets providing deliberate practice according to research suggestions, check out Research-Based Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Worksheets, as well as Check out the Research-Based Spelling Patterns Worksheets and the Research-Based Vocabulary Worksheets for examples. Visit the author’s website for product information.

    Grammar/Mechanics, Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    30 Spelling Questions, Answers and Resources

    In the midst of the 1980s whole language movement, California State Superintendent of Schools Bill Honig strongly encouraged principals to confiscate spelling workbooks from their teachers. Even today, spelling instruction remains a contentious topic. No other literacy skill seems to run the complete gamut of instructional implementation from emphasis to de-emphasis. Following are the 30 spelling questions, answers, and resources to help teachers get a handle on what does and what does not work in spelling instruction.

    Now, with my ambitious goal of providing 30 questions, answers, and resources, I’ve got to be concise. I won’t be going deep into orthographic research (much of which is contradictory and incomplete) or into detailed instructional strategies. Also, a disclaimer is certainly needed: I am a teacher-author of several spelling programs, some of which I will shamelessly promote at the end of the article. But, to be fair, I do have some relevant expertise and experience in spelling to share. I have my masters degree as a reading specialist (in fact I did my masters thesis on the instructional spelling and reading strategies used in the the 19th Century McGuffey Readers). More importantly, I have served as an elementary and secondary reading specialist and have taught spelling at the elementary, middle school, high school, and community college levels. So, enough for the credibility portion of the article and onto why you are reading and what you hope to learn, validate, invalidate, and apply in your classroom.

    Why Teach Spelling?

    1. Why is spelling such a big deal? If Einstein couldn’t spell, why does it matter? Won’t spell check the best way to solve spelling problems? Whether justified or not, others will judge our students by their spelling ability. Spelling accuracy is perceived as a key indicator of literacy. And spelling problems can inhibit writing coherency and reading facility. Spell check programs do not solve spelling issues. They  just takes too long to correct frequent misspellings and cannot account for homographs.

    2. Can you teach spelling? Aren’t some people naturally good or bad spellers? Isn’t it learned through extensive reading and writing? Yes, poor spellers and good spellers can be taught to improve their spelling abilities. No brain research has demonstrated a genetic predisposition for good or bad spelling. There is no spelling gene. No, spelling isn’t learned through reading and writing, but there are positive correlations among the disciplines. They are each separate skills and thinking processes and need specific instruction and practice accordingly.

    Whose Job Is It to Teach Spelling and to Whom Should We Teach It?

    3. Isn’t spelling the job of primary teachers? Please, God, let this be so. Yes and no. Primary teachers are responsible for much of the decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling) foundations, but intermediate/upper elementary, middle school, and high school teachers have plenty of morphological (word parts), etymological (silent letters, accent placements, schwa spellings, added and dropped connectives), and derivational (Greek, Latin, French, British, Spanish, Italian, German language influences) spelling patterns to justify teaching spelling patterns at their respective grade levels.

    4. Should content teachers teach spelling? Yes. The Common Core State Standards emphasize cross-curricular literacy instruction. Upper elementary teachers in departmentalized structures, middle school, and high school teachers should certainly come to consensus regarding spelling instruction and expectations.

    5. Should we teach spelling to special education students? Yes, even though spelling is primarily an auditory skill and many special educations have auditory processing challenges. These students require more practice, not less. Gone are the days when special education teachers said Johnny or Susie can’t learn spelling. however, some visual study strategies do make sense.

    6. Should we teach spelling to English-language learners? Yes. We cripple our English-language learners when we solely focus on reading skills and vocabulary acquisition. Besides, Spanish has remarkably similar orthographic patterns as English.

    How Does Spelling Connect to Other Literacy Skills?

    7. How are spelling and phonemic awareness related? The National Reading Panel stressed the statistically significant correlation. Spelling is an auditory, not a visual skill, and so the connection between phonemic awareness, which is the ability to recognize and manipulate speech sounds is clear. Check out the author’s free phonemic awareness assessments.

    8. How are spelling and reading related? Spelling (encoding) and reading (decoding) are both sides of the same coin. So many of our syllable pronunciations depend upon spelling rules. Check out this relationship in these teachable resources: Ten English Accent Rules, Twenty Advanced Syllable Rules, and How to Teach Syllabication: The Syllable Rules.

    9. How are spelling and vocabulary related? Spelling is highly influenced by morphemes (meaning-based syllables) and language derivations. Read this article on How to Differentiate Spelling and Vocabulary Instruction for more.

    How Should We Teach Spelling?

    10. How much of a priority should spelling instruction take in terms of instructional minutes? I suggest 5 minutes for the spelling pretest (record on your phone to maintain an efficient pace and to use for make-ups); 5 minutes to create a personal spelling list; 10 minutes to complete and correct a spelling pattern sort; 10 minutes of spelling word study (perfect for homework); and 5 minutes for the spelling posttest (every other week for secondary students).

    11. Should we teach spelling rules? Absolutely. Just because the English sound-spelling system works in only about 50% of spellings does not mean that there are not predictable spelling patterns to increase that percentage of spelling predictability and accuracy. Although the sound-spelling patterns are the first line of defense, the conventional spelling rules that work most all of the time are a necessary back-up. Check out the free Eight Great Spelling Rules, each with memorable mp3 songs and raps to help you and your students master the conventional spelling rules.

    12. What about teaching “No Excuse” spelling words and using Word Walls? These can supplement, but not replace, a spelling patterns program. Teaching and posting the there-their-they’re words directly and emphasizing these common misspellings makes sense.

    13. What about outlaw (non-decodable) spelling words? Using these words as a resource to supplement unknown words on the weekly spelling pretest is highly effective. I suggest you “kill two birds with one stone” by giving this multiple choice Outlaws Word Assessment for reading diagnosis and then the same list for spelling diagnosis.

    14. What about using high frequency words to teach spelling? As a supplementary resource to the personal spelling list unknown high frequency words, such as the Dolch List, can certainly be included. But using high frequency words as weekly spelling lists involves learning in isolation. Plus these lists include both decodable and non-decodable words. Parents can certainly assess their own children and provide results to the teacher.

    15. What about using commonly confused words (homonyms) to teach spelling? Some words look the same or nearly the same (homographs) or sound the same or nearly the same (homonyms) and so are easily confused by developing spellers and adult spellers alike. Check about this great list of Easily Confused or Misused Words.

    16. What about teaching spelling through a Spelling Pattern Sort? Extremely valuable and a necessary instructional activity for any spelling patterns program. Closed spelling sorts based upon spelling patterns are certainly more effective than open sorts.

    “Students can… spell words that they don’t think they know how to spell by comparing words through sorts. Knowing how to spell familiar words gives the students reference points for knowing how to begin spelling new words. Here are just a few of the sorts that students can experience:

    • Sort beginning sounds
    • Sort Digraphs from Blends
    • Sort long vowels from short vowels
    • Sort words with closed syllables from words with open syllables
    • Sort words that double the ending consonant before adding –ing with those that do not
    • Sort prefixes and suffixes
    • Sort base words and root words

    Teachers can even combine a sound sort with a letter pattern sort. The list goes on and on.” Sandy Hoffman

    17. How should learning styles inform spelling instruction? Good teachers always use multiple modalities instruction. But, the research and practical application of VAKT is dubious at best and has no application to spelling. Teachers gave up teaching students to trace letters years ago. Spelling is primarily an auditory skill, so if there are auditory processing challenges, special attention and additional practice will be necessary. Check out this article titled Don’t Teach to Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences for more.

    18.Why aren’t the Common Core Standards more specific about spelling instruction? When establishing instructional priorities to address these spelling Standards, many teachers have placed spelling (Standard L. 2) on the back-burner. To wit, the intermediate elementary Standards: (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.2e) “Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.”) and middle school Standards: (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.2b “Spell correctly.”) However, the primary Standards are much more specific and the authors make a solid case in Appendix A for the importance of spelling instruction.

    19. Is spelling a good subject for homework? Yes. Parents can certainly supervise spelling sorts practice, creation of the personal spelling list, and even assist the teacher with diagnostic spelling tests of supplementary spelling word lists.

    What about Individualizing Spelling Instruction?

    20. What about qualitative spelling inventories? Qualitative spelling inventories accurately reflect and diagnose developmental spelling stages or indicate broad spelling strengths and weaknesses; however, their lack of assessing specific sound-spelling patterns make specific teaching applications problematic.

    21. Is there a comprehensive diagnostic spelling assessment? Check out the author’s free diagnostic spelling assessment. This 64 word assessment with recording matrix is comprehensive and based upon the sound-spelling patterns to be mastered in K-3rd grade.

    22. How should teachers individualize spelling instruction? Give a spelling patterns diagnostic assessment. Teach to the indicated individual unmastered spelling patterns. Targeted Spelling Pattern Worksheets with formative assessments help focus instruction on diagnostically determined spelling deficits for each student. Students catch up while they keep up with grade level spelling patterns. Having students create personal spelling lists from the weekly spelling pretest is also excellent individualized instruction. Check out the author’s eighth grade Diagnostic Spelling Assessment and Diagnostic Spelling Assessment Matrix. Now, if you just had the corresponding spelling pattern worksheets to teach to these deficits…

    When Should We Teach What Spelling?

    23. Can spelling instruction be defined by grade levels? Grade levels may not be easily divisible by grade levels, but we do need an instructional scope and sequence for spelling instruction. Here’s a For those grades 4−8 teachers who don’t wish to re-invent the wheel, here is the comprehensive TLS Instructional Scope and Sequence Grades 4-8 of the entire Language Strand (grammar and usage, mechanics, knowledge of use, spelling, and vocabulary)., which includes spelling patterns for grades 4-8

    What is the Best Way to Study Spelling?

    24. What spelling review games are most effective and fun? Check out these Spelling Review Games based upon spelling patterns.

    25. What about writing spelling words over and over again? No. No. No.

    Does the Weekly Spelling Test Make Sense?

    26. Does the weekly spelling test help students learn spelling words? Yes. The research is clear on this one: the test-study-test instructional approach results in spelling achievement. But, the weekly posttest is probably not efficient for upper elementary and older students. Biweekly posttests work well, but only if the teacher adopts a personal spelling list approach based upon weekly diagnostic assessments.

    27. What kinds of spelling tests make the most sense? A Weekly Spelling Test based upon a focused spelling pattern allows the teacher to teach the spelling pattern and provide practice opportunities to their students to apply these patterns in spelling sorts.

    28. Can the weekly spelling pretest be used as a diagnostic assessment to differentiate instruction? Yes. Dictate 15-20 spelling pattern words in the traditional word-sentence-word format to all of your students. After the dictations, have students self-correct from teacher dictation (primary) or display (older students) of the correct spellings.

    Students create personal spelling list in this priority order.

    • Pretest Errors: Have the students copy up to ten of their pretest spelling errors.
    • Posttest Errors: Have students add on up to five spelling errors from last week’s spelling posttest.
    • Writing Errors: Have students add on up to five teacher-corrected spelling errors found in student writing.
    • Supplemental Spelling Lists: Students select and use words from other resources linked in this article.

    What Criteria Should Teachers Use to Pick a Good Spelling Program?

    29. Here’s a nice set of criteria based upon “A BAD SPELLING PROGRAM” and “A GOOD SPELLING PROGRAM.”

    30. Give me an example of a good one!

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 Programs

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 Programs

    DSI-C

    Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and includes sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    As slices of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) programs, Differentiated Spelling Instruction provides quality spelling programs for grades 4-8.

    Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , ,

    Differentiated Spelling Instruction

    Pennington Publishing's Differentiated Spelling Instruction

    Differentiated Spelling Instruction

    Differentiated Spelling Instruction (eBook) provides all the resources teachers need to truly differentiate spelling instruction. If you’re committed to explicit spelling instruction and individualized instruction to meet the needs of each of your students, this program is for you.

    Program Overview

    Everything a teacher needs to know about the program components and how to differentiate spelling instruction is found in the Learn How to Teach This Program in 10 Minutes section. It’s that easy. In brief, students take a spelling pattern pretest, then self-correct, and personalize their weekly spelling list. Teachers explain the spelling pattern. Students complete the spelling pattern word sort for homework and self-correct in class. Students study their spelling lists and take the posttest. After seven weeks of instruction, students take a formative assessment. The teacher records the student data and assigns remediation as needed. Remediation consists of 64 sound-spelling worksheets, each with a short formative assessment. Simple and easy to individualize instruction.

    Program Components

    • Diagnostic Spelling Assessment: a comprehensive test of each previous grade level spelling pattern to determine what students know and what they don’t know.
    • Diagnostic Spelling Assessment Mastery Matrix
    • 104 Remedial Sound-Spelling Worksheets Corresponding to the Diagnostic Spelling Assessment
    • Weekly Diagnostic Spelling Tests
    • Weekly Spelling Sort Worksheets for Each Spelling Pattern (with answers) formatted for classroom display. Students self-correct to learn from their own mistakes.
    • Syllable Transformers and Syllable Blending formatted for classroom display and interactive instruction
    • Syllable Worksheets (with answers) formatted for classroom display
    • Four Formative Assessments (given after 7 weeks of instruction)
    • Summative Assessment

    Spelling Teaching Resources

    • How to Study Spelling Words
    • Spelling Proofreading Strategies for Stories and Essays
    • Syllable Rules
    • Accent Rules
    • Outlaw Words
    • The 450 Most Frequently Used Words
    • The 100 Most Often Misspelled Words
    • The 70 Most Commonly Confused Words
    • Eight Great Spelling Rules, Memory Songs, and Raps (with Mp3 links)
    • Spelling Review Games
    • Formative and Summative Spelling Assessment Mastery Matrices

    Why Other Spelling Programs are Ineffective and Why Differentiated Spelling Instruction (DSI) Makes Sense

    • Others use “themed” spelling word lists, grouping words by such themes as animals, months, holidays, or colors.
    • DSI uses developmental spelling patterns for its word lists, providing sequential, research-based orthographic instruction.
    • Others use practice worksheets that focus on rote memorization, such as word searches, fill-in the-blanks, or crossword puzzles.
    • DSI provides spelling sorts/word parts worksheets to help students practice recognition and application of the spelling patterns.
    • Others de-emphasize structural analysis.
    • DSI emphasizes word study: syllables, accents, morphemes, inflections, spelling rules, pronunciation, and derivational influences.
    • Others do not integrate vocabulary instruction.
    • DSI integrates homonyms, common Greek and Latin prefixes, roots, and suffixes, and other linguistic influences.
    • Others minimize the reading-spelling connection.
    • DSI reinforces the decoding-encoding connection with an instructional scope and sequence aligned with systematic explicit phonics instruction. The DSI program includes five years of seamless spelling instruction (Grades 4 through 8)—perfect for grade-level classes, combination classes, and flexible homeschool instruction.
    • Others ignore spelling irregularities.
    • DSI includes “Exceptions” throughout the program, providing problem-solving strategies that build student (and teacher) confidence in the English orthographic spelling system.
    • Others use spelling tests solely as summative assessments.
    • DSI uses spelling tests as diagnostic and formative instruments to help teachers differentiate instruction. Recording matrices enable teachers to keep track of mastered and un-mastered spelling patterns for each student—simple record-keeping and minimal paperwork.
    • Others provide one-size-fits-all instruction.
    • DSI provides the resources for true differentiated instruction from remedial to grade-level to accelerated spellers.
    • Others use visual-only spelling strategies.
    • DSI uses multi-sensory instructional practice, including songs, raps, games and phonological awareness activities—perfect for students with auditory processing deficits and a “must” for effective Response to Intervention (RtI) instruction.
    • Others have no writing-spelling connection.
    • DSI requires students to develop weekly Personal Spelling Lists that include commonly misspelled words from their own writing.
    • Others provide no review activities for unit spelling tests.
    • DSI provides ample review activities, including Word Jumbles for each sound-spelling pattern, web-based songs and raps, and entertaining games.
    • Others take either inordinate teacher preparation or require too much class time.
    • DSI is “teacher-friendly” and requires only minimal prep time. And the flexible DSI resources will not eat up excessive instructional minutes.
    • Others are overly expensive and require consumable workbooks.
    • DSI requires only one worksheet each lesson, per student—truly economical.

    Differentiated Spelling Instruction is a “slice” of the comprehensive grades 4-8 Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) programs. Please check out the product descriptions here.

    Please check out our introductory video.

    Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grade 4: Preview This Book

    Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grade 5: Preview This Book

    Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grade 6: Preview This Book

    Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grade 7: Preview This Book

    Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grade 8: Preview This Book

    Spelling/Vocabulary , , ,

    Common Core Diagnostic ELA Assessments

    As a teacher-publisher, I get quite a few questions about my products. It is heart-warming to see the recent re-kindled interest in assessment-based learning. Specifically, teachers want diagnostic assessments to determine which of the Common Core ELA/Literacy Standards their students do and do not know to be able to plan effective direct instruction and remediation in prior grade-level Standards. Teachers are particularly interested in diagnostic assessments for the grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, and vocabulary Standards found in the Common Core Language Strand because of the level of instructional rigor required in these Standards. Here’s a set of questions from a potential customer on Teachers Pay Teachers re: my Common Core diagnostic ELA assessments. My answers should provide interested readers with the assessment-based resources they want to meet the needs of their students.

    QUESTION: I notice that Pennington Publishing offers comprehensive whole-class diagnostic assessments with corresponding progress-monitoring matrices in grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling for grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. How many questions are on the tests, and how long do the tests take to administer? I teach sixth grade in a K−8 school. Are the diagnostic assessments different for each grade level? Also, if you don’t mind my asking… Why are you offering all of these assessments for only $3.00 if they are as good as you describe?

    ANSWER: I’m happy to answer your questions. Even the last one. The grade 6 diagnostic grammar and usage assessment consists of 44 multiple choice questions and takes students about 25 minutes to complete.

    The sixth grade mechanics assessment has 8 sentence answers with 32 discreet mechanics skills measured. (Students rewrite unpunctuated sentences.) The test takes about 15 minutes to complete.

    The spelling assessment is comprehensive, not random samples as found in qualitative spelling inventories. It covers each of the sound-spellings students should know up to sixth grade. The assessment has 89 words to be dictated in the word, word-sentence-word format. I just gave the eighth grade spelling assessment to my own class. It has 102 words and it took 26 minutes to administer. We took a short stretch break half-way through. *Suggestion: Record the test on your phone and upload to your desktop, so you won’t have to re-dictate for test make-ups, new students, etc.

    Yes, the grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 diagnostic assessments are different for each grade level in that they build upon each other. The assessments are based upon the Common Core grade level Standards and the recommendations of the Common Core authors in Appendix A of the English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. As you know, Appendix A includes the research base supporting the key elements of the Standards. So, the grade 8 assessment will have more assessment items than the grade 4 assessment.

    Of course, teachers often ask why Pennington Publishing offers these extensive diagnostic assessments with corresponding matrices for only $3.00. There is a method behind this madness.

    Once teachers diagnose the specific deficits, e.g. you as a sixth grade teacher find out precisely which K-5 grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling skills your students know and do not yet know, you and other teachers will want your students to master each of the relative deficits. Although veteran teachers will have some of the resources to remediate these deficits, most will not want to reinvent the wheel. So…

    Pennington Publishing’s Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 programs have corresponding worksheets for each of the assessment items. The worksheets are fantastic with clear definitions, examples, practice, and a short formative assessment in which students apply what they have learned. Notice that these are not “drill and kill” worksheets teaching skills in isolation from the writing context. Answers included, of course. Plus, the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) programs all provide direct instruction lessons for each of the grade-level grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, vocabulary, and knowledge of language Common Core State Standards lessons with both print and digital teacher’s edition and accompanying consumable student workbooks. With the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program, students “catch up” while they “keep up” with the rigorous grade-level Common Core Standards.

    So now I may have talked you out of the $3.00 purchase because the aforementioned programs also include the assessments. What a sneaky upsell! I do guarantee that these assessment-based worksheets will provide ALL the tools you need to teach ALL of your students with diverse needs. For example, the remedial worksheets have been carefully written with your special education and English-language learners in mind with concise and concrete instructional language and practice.

    These worksheets have been written by a teacher for teachers and their students with a built-in management system to keep students productive and to minimize teacher preparation and correction. Different students will be working on different worksheets to practice the concepts and skills each needs to remediate. The students self-correct their own worksheets from the answer booklets to be able to learn from their mistakes (and save the teacher time). Then students complete the WRITE formative assessment in which students are required to apply what they have learned re: the focused concept or skill in a sentence or two.

    Once completed, the student visits the teacher for a 20-30-second mini-conference. The teacher skims the practice and corrections and reads the formative assessment. If mastered, the teacher (or student) marks that mastery on the progress monitoring matrices. Teachers, students, parents, (and, yes, principals) love to see that measurable progress on the matrices. It’s simple and effective individualized instruction with a built-in management system to maintain a productive and orderly learning experience.

    Oh, by the way, teachers are licensed to place the worksheets on their class websites for parents and their children to access at home.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 Programs

    I do hope this long answer addressed each of your questions. Why not check out the instructional scope and sequence and two week test drive found at the end of the grade level product details to see if the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) would be a good fit for you and your grades 4−8 teachers? Also, check out the brief introductory video. Have more questions or wish to place an order? Please contact your educational sales representative for Pennington Publishing.

    Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary, Writing , , , , , ,

    How to Teach Phonics

    Teaching phonics is an essential ingredient to effective reading instruction. Learning the phonetic code teaches the beginning or remedial reader to make efficient and automatic judgments about how words are constructed. Mastery of the basic sound-spelling correspondences will also pay significant dividends once the student begins reading multisyllabic expository text.

    A prerequisite (some would argue a byproduct) of learning the phonetic code is phonemic awareness. Before beginning phonics instruction, it is necessary to diagnose students’ phonemic awareness. If the following six whole-class assessments indicate mastery of only one, two, or three components, it would be advisable to delay phonics instruction until at least three components have been mastered. A terrific batch of phonemic awareness activities is listed here. If four, five, or six of the components has been mastered, it would be advisable to begin phonics instruction and concurrently “backfill” any unmastered phonemic awareness.

    Phonemic Awareness Assessments

    Give the Phonemic Awareness Assessments and record these results on the progress-monitoring matrix. Teach the phonemic awareness activities concurrently with the following phonics instruction. Have your students practice along with the “New Alphabet Song” to solidify their mastery of the alphabet.

    Phonics Cards Introduction and Practice

    Introduce and practice the animal names on each Animal Sound-Spelling Cards by referencing each card on an LCD projector . If you are using an overhead projector, copy the cards onto transparencies, using a color copier. Practice the names until students can rapidly identify each animal on the cards. Unlike many phonics programs, the beginning sound of the animal name perfectly matches the sound listed on each card. For example, the bear card represents the /b/.

    Once the animal card names have been mastered, introduce and practice the sounds represented by the cards. Point to each card and say, “Name? Sound?”

    After the animal card names and sounds have been mastered, introduce and practice the spellings listed on the cards. Point to each card and say, “Name? Sound? Spellings?” Practice along with the catchy NSS (The Names, Sounds, and Spelling Rap) to develop automaticity.

    Phonics Cards Games

    Copy and cut the Animal Sound-Spelling and Consonant Blend Cards for each student. As the following sound-spellings are introduced, select the corresponding sets of cards to play these Phonics Games.

    Sound-by-Sound Spelling Blending

    Students can learn all of the common sound-spellings in just 15 weeks of instruction. Each day, blend 2 or 3 words from the previous day’s blending activity. Then, introduce the 3–6 new words listed in the Sound by Sound Spelling Blending Instructional Sequence. Although some students may already have mastered the sound-spellings, this reinforcement will transfer to unmastered sound-spellings and boost reader confidence. Using a dry-erase whiteboard or overhead projector, write consonant sounds in black marker and vowel sounds in red. Make sure to clip, and not elongate, the consonant sounds. For example, don’t say “bah” for /b/. Follow this script for effective whole-class sound-by-sound spelling blending:

    Sound-by-Sound Spelling Blending Script

    Teacher: Today, I want you to take out the following animal cards from your Animal Sound-Spelling Card decks [Say animal names–not letter names, sounds, or spellings]: “You say and blend the sounds I write to make words. First, I write the spelling; then you say the sound. For example, if I write m [Do so], I will ask, ‘Sound?’ and you will answer ‘/m/.’ Let’s add on to that sound. [Write a on the board after m.] ‘Sound?’” [If students say long a, ask “Short sound?”

    Students: “/a/”

    Teacher: [Make a left-to-right blending motion under the ma.] “Blend.”

    Teacher and Students: /m/ /a/ [Blend the two sounds]

    Teacher: [Write t on the blank.] “Sound?”

    Students: /t/

    Teacher: [Make a left-to-right blending motion under the mat.] “Blend.”

    Teacher and Students: /m/ /a/ /t/ [Blend the three sounds]

    Teacher: “Word?”

    Students: “mat”

    About the Sound-by-Sound Spelling Blending Instructional Sequence

    This instructional sequence has been carefully designed to reflect years of reading research and teaching experience. This is the most effective sequence to introduce the phonics and spelling components. Here are some rather technical notes that make this instructional sequence superior to other instructional designs.

    1. The most common sounds are introduced prior to the least common sounds.

    • Weeks 1-3: Short vowels and consonant sounds
    • Weeks 4-5: Ending consonant blends and “sh” and “th” voiced consonant digraphs
    • Weeks 6-7: Beginning consonant blends, “wh” and “tch” consonant digraphs, “sh” and “th” unvoiced consonant digraphs
    • Weeks 8-9: Long vowel sounds and silent final e
    • Weeks 10-11: Long vowel sounds and r-controlled vowels
    • Weeks 12-13: Diphthongs
    • Weeks 14-15: Vowel-influenced and irregular spellings

    2. Order of instruction separates letters that are visually similar e.g., p and b, m and n, v and w, u and n.

    3. Order of instruction separates sounds that are similar e.g., /k/ and /g/, /u/ and /o/, /t/ and /d/, /e/ and /i/.

    4. The most commonly used letters are introduced prior to the least commonly used letters.

    5. Short words with fewer phonemes are introduced prior to longer words with more phonemes.

    6. Continuous sounds e.g., /a/, /m/, are introduced prior to stop sounds e.g., /t/ because the continuous sounds are easier to blend.

    Mark Pennington, MA Reading Specialist, is the author of the comprehensive reading intervention curriculum, Teaching Reading Strategies. Designed to significantly increase the reading

    Pennington Publishing's Teaching Reading Strategies

    Teaching Reading Strategies

    abilities of students ages eight through adult within one year, the curriculum is decidedly un-canned, is adaptable to various instructional settings, and is simple to use—a perfect choice for Response to Intervention tiered instructional levels. Get multiple choice diagnostic reading assessments , formative assessments, blending and syllabication activitiesphonemic awareness, and phonics workshops, comprehension worksheets, multi-level fluency passages recorded at three different reading speeds and accessed on YouTube, 586 game cards, posters, activities, and games.

    Also get the accompanying Sam and Friends Phonics Books. These eight-page decodable take-home books include sight words, word fluency practice, and phonics instruction aligned to the instructional sequence found in Teaching Reading Strategies. Each book is illustrated by master cartoonist, David Rickert. The cartoons, characters, and plots are designed to be appreciated by both older remedial readers and younger beginning readers. The teenage characters are multi-ethnic and the stories reinforce positive values and character development. Your students (and parents) will love these fun, heart-warming, and comical stories about the adventures of Sam and his friends: Tom, Kit, and Deb. Oh, and also that crazy dog, Pug.

    Everything teachers need to teach a diagnostically-based reading intervention program for struggling readers at all reading levels is found in this comprehensive curriculum. Ideal for students reading two or more grade levels below current grade level, English-language learners, and Special Education students. Simple directions and well-crafted activities truly make this an almost no-prep curriculum. Works well as a half-year intensive program or full-year program, with or without paraprofessional assistance.

    Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Phonics Games

    Learning phonics is the key to reading automaticity (fluency) for beginning and remedial readers alike. The research is clear that teaching the alphabetic code explicitly and systematically is an essential component of effective reading instruction. Now, this is not to say that there isn’t a place for some sight word and word family (onset and rime) instruction, but the primary means of reading instruction must be the sound-spelling system.

    Plenty of phonics-based programs do a fine job of providing that systematic instruction. However, some do the basic job, but will bore both students and teachers to tears. Learning to read is hard work, but it should also be fun. Reading instruction that is interactive and enjoyable will teach positive associations with reading to both beginning and remedial readers. Simple drill and kill exercises simply will not.

    These phonics games use the free Pennington Publishing Animal Sound-Spelling Cards. Of course, other phonics game cards such as the S.R.A. Open Court® or Breaking the Code® ones will do nicely. You will also need the set of free Consonant Blend Sound-Spelling Cards once the Animal Sound-Spelling Cards have been mastered. The phonics games are divided into Easy, Medium, and Difficult levels to allow teachers to effectively differentiate instruction. Using effective whole class diagnostic assessments such as the Vowel Sounds Phonics Assessment and the Consonant Sounds Phonics Assessment will inform the teacher’s choice as to which levels of games will be appropriate for each of their students.

    Teachers may also wish to purchase the Reading and Spelling Game Cards from the publisher. Printed on heavy duty cardstock in business card size, these game cards will help your students master phonics, spelling, and sight words.

    Each game card set includes the following:

    • 43 animal sound-spelling vowel, vowel team, and consonant cards
    • 45 consonant blend cards
    • 60 alphabet cards (including upper and lower case with font variations)
    • 90 rimes cards with example words
    • 108 sight-spelling “outlaw” word cards
    • 60 high frequency Greek and Latin prefix and suffix cards with definitions and example words
    • 60 vowel and vowel team spelling cards
    • 90 consonant and consonant blend spelling cards
    • 30 commonly confused homonyms with context clue sentences
    • 60 most-often misspelled challenge word cards

    Download and Print: Phonics Cards (Animal Sound-Spelling Cards and Consonant Blend Cards) Phonics Games (Easy, Medium, and Difficult Level Phonics Games) NSS (The Names, Sounds, and Spelling Rap)

    Mark Pennington, MA Reading Specialist, is the author of the comprehensive reading intervention curriculum, Teaching Reading Strategies. Designed to significantly increase the reading

    Pennington Publishing's Teaching Reading Strategies

    Teaching Reading Strategies

    abilities of students ages eight through adult within one year, the curriculum is decidedly un-canned, is adaptable to various instructional settings, and is simple to use—a perfect choice for Response to Intervention tiered instructional levels. Get multiple choice diagnostic reading assessments , formative assessments, blending and syllabication activitiesphonemic awareness, and phonics workshops, comprehension worksheets, multi-level fluency passages recorded at three different reading speeds and accessed on YouTube, 586 game cards, posters, activities, and games.

    Also get the accompanying Sam and Friends Phonics Books. These eight-page decodable take-home books include sight words, word fluency practice, and phonics instruction aligned to the instructional sequence found in Teaching Reading Strategies. Each book is illustrated by master cartoonist, David Rickert. The cartoons, characters, and plots are designed to be appreciated by both older remedial readers and younger beginning readers. The teenage characters are multi-ethnic and the stories reinforce positive values and character development. Your students (and parents) will love these fun, heart-warming, and comical stories about the adventures of Sam and his friends: Tom, Kit, and Deb. Oh, and also that crazy dog, Pug.

    Everything teachers need to teach a diagnostically-based reading intervention program for struggling readers at all reading levels is found in this comprehensive curriculum. Ideal for students reading two or more grade levels below current grade level, English-language learners, and Special Education students. Simple directions and well-crafted activities truly make this an almost no-prep curriculum. Works well as a half-year intensive program or full-year program, with or without paraprofessional assistance.

    Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Reading Readiness

    Big topic for a small article. With big topics, such as world peace, global warming, or the problem of evil, authors usually find it expedient to narrow things down a bit. Not so with reading readiness. With few exceptions, the following big picture advice applies equally to teachers of four-year-olds, fourteen-year-olds, and forty-year-olds. Of course, there are differences that need to be considered for each age group. Preschool/kinder/first grade teachers, intermediate and middle school reading intervention (RtI) teachers, and adult education teachers know how to teach to their clients’ developmental learning characteristics. Similarly, English-language development teachers and special education teachers know their student populations and are adept at how to differentiate instruction accordingly. But, my point is that the what of reading readiness instruction is much the same across the age and experience spectrum.

    So in keeping with this big picture advice, let’s begin with a definition of reading. More specifically, what is reading and what is not reading.

    What is Reading

    Reading is making and discovering meaning from text. It involves both process skills and content. It is both caught and taught.

    What is Not Reading

    Reading is not just pronouncing (decoding) words.

    Reading is not just recognizing a bunch of words and their meanings (memorizing and applying sight words).

    Reading is not just content.

    Reading is not just applying the reader’s understanding of content by means of prior knowledge and life experience.

    Reading is not just a set of skills or strategies.

    How Reading is Caught

    Plenty of studies demonstrate a positive correlation between skilled readers and their literate home environments. However, because it would be impossible to isolate, we will never be able to determine precisely which features of a literate environment positively impact reading and which do not. From my own experience as a reading specialist and parent of three boys, I offer these observations:

    Reading to and with your child or student certainly makes a difference. Yes, reading pattern books, picture books, and controlled-vocabulary books are advisable. But having your child or student read to you (and others) is more important than you reading to them. Apologies to the read-aloud-crowd, but the goal is not to build dependent listening comprehension. The goal is to build independent readers with excellent silent reading comprehension. By the way, although it is nice for children, adolescents, and adults to have warm and fuzzy feelings about reading, it is certainly not necessary. All three of my boys hated reading and being read to at points, but my wife and I still required plenty of reading. All three are now avid and skilled adult readers.

    Modeling reading as a reading readiness strategy is highly overrated. Having your child see you read and discuss text will be a by-product of a literate environment. Reading a newspaper in front of your child will not create an “ah-ha” connection in your child that will turn that child into a life-long reader. Similarly, having a teacher read silently for thirty minutes in front of a group of students doing Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) or Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) will not improve student reading. The students would be better served if the teacher spent that time refining lesson plans or grading student essays. Or more importantly, shouldn’t students be doing the bulk of independent reading at home? Charles Barkley was right to this extent: Role models are overrated for some things in life, and reading is one of them.

    Turning off the television is not a good idea. There is no doubt that we gain vocabulary, an understanding of proper and varied syntax, and important content by watching the tube. Now, of course, a Rick Steeves travel show or the nightly news does a better job at oral language development than does Sponge Bob, but silence teaches nothing.

    Talking with your child or students is a huge plus in reading development. A ten-minute conversation exposes children and students to far more vocabulary and content than does a video game. Of course, reading is the best vocabulary development, but we are talking about reading readiness here.

    Word play, such as nursery rhymes, verbal problem-solving games (Twenty Questions, Mad Libs®, I See Something You Don’t See), board games, puzzles, jokes, storytelling, and the like teach phonological awareness, print concepts, and important content.

    How Reading is Taught

    Preschool (home or away), but preferably with other children and a trained teacher, has no easy substitute. A tiered approach to reading intervention, based upon effective diagnostic data is essential for struggling pre-teen or adolescent readers. The social nature, structure, and accountability of a reading class for adult learners has a much higher degree of success than does independent learning or tutoring.

    Phonological (Phonemic) awareness must be taught, if not caught. In my experience, most struggling readers do not have these skills. Effective assessment and teaching strategies can address these deficits and even jump-start success. The mythical notion that reading is developmental or that a child has to be cognitively or social ready to read has no research base. The earlier exposure to sounds and mapping sounds to print, the better. Children simply cannot learn to read too early.

    Don’t teach according to learning styles and beware of bizarre reading therapies. There just is no conclusive evidence that adjusting instruction to how students are perceived to learn best impacts learning. Focus the instruction of what readers need to learn, less so on the how. 80% of reading process and content is stored as meaning-based memories, not in the visual or auditory modalities.

    Teach according to diagnostic and formative data. Build upon strengths, but especially target weaknesses. Even beginning reader four-year-olds can benefit from effective assessment.

    Teach a balance of reading approaches. Certainly sound-spelling correspondences (phonics), explicit spelling strategies (encoding), sight syllables, rimes, outlaw words (irregular sight words) are time and experience-tested. Despite what some will say, learning sight words will not adversely affect a reader’s reliance upon applying the alphabetic code. Work on repeated readings, inflection, and fluidity to develop reading fluency. Teach comprehension strategies and help your child or students practice both literal and inferential monitoring of text, even before they are reading independently.

    Take a close, hard look at expensive reading intervention programs such as READ 180 Next Generation and Language!® Live. These expensive programs promise the moon but what reading intervention students need most is solid assessment-based reading resources. Playing video games and creating cool avatars does not trump good old-fashioned assessment-based reading instruction. Check out Comparing READ 180 and Language! Live for a biased comparison of these programs to the author’s own Teaching Reading Strategies.

    Mark Pennington, MA Reading Specialist, is the author of the comprehensive reading intervention curriculum, Teaching Reading Strategies. Designed to significantly increase the reading

    Pennington Publishing's Teaching Reading Strategies

    Teaching Reading Strategies

    abilities of students ages eight through adult within one year, the curriculum is decidedly un-canned, is adaptable to various instructional settings, and is simple to use—a perfect choice for Response to Intervention tiered instructional levels. Get multiple choice diagnostic reading assessments , formative assessments, blending and syllabication activitiesphonemic awareness, and phonics workshops, comprehension worksheets, multi-level fluency passages recorded at three different reading speeds and accessed on YouTube, 586 game cards, posters, activities, and games.

    Also get the accompanying Sam and Friends Phonics Books. These eight-page decodable take-home books include sight words, word fluency practice, and phonics instruction aligned to the instructional sequence found in Teaching Reading Strategies. Each book is illustrated by master cartoonist, David Rickert. The cartoons, characters, and plots are designed to be appreciated by both older remedial readers and younger beginning readers. The teenage characters are multi-ethnic and the stories reinforce positive values and character development. Your students (and parents) will love these fun, heart-warming, and comical stories about the adventures of Sam and his friends: Tom, Kit, and Deb. Oh, and also that crazy dog, Pug.

    Everything teachers need to teach a diagnostically-based reading intervention program for struggling readers at all reading levels is found in this comprehensive curriculum. Ideal for students reading two or more grade levels below current grade level, English-language learners, and Special Education students. Simple directions and well-crafted activities truly make this an almost no-prep curriculum. Works well as a half-year intensive program or full-year program, with or without paraprofessional assistance.

    Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Visual Spelling Strategies

    Spelling is primarily an auditory, not a visual skill. Visual cues should never be applied to phonetically regular words. Spelling strategies such as tracing letter shapes in sand or outlining the letters in a spelling word have long been discredited. Although visualization strategies such as picturing the spelling word and spelling it backwards may have some short term benefit, there is no transfer to other spellings. Indeed, relying on visual memorization of each individual spelling word is highly inefficient.

    For example, written languages such as those used in Asia take much longer to learn. Elementary age students spend enormous amounts of time memorizing and practicing the logographic symbols/pictographs that will enable them to write their own language. In contrast, using the English sound-spelling system (the alphabetic code) which relies upon only 45 speech sounds is highly efficient. About half of English spellings exactly match their sounds.

    At this point, many will be thinking “Yes, but half of English spellings do not match their sounds. True enough, but abandoning the half that works is akin to throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Instead of bemoaning the English sound-spelling irregularities and jumping ship to ill-advised spelling strategies which rely upon purely visual strategies, we need to build upon the solid foundation of the English sound-spelling system. To mix metaphors, I like to think of spelling in terms of how a batter should face his or her opponent—the pitcher. Good batters train themselves to look for the fast ball, then adjust for the curve. Good English spellers do likewise; they look to use the sound-spelling system and syllabication skills to problem-solve spellings and then adjust, as needed, to other strategies.

    About 30 % of the phonetically irregular words can be taught by combining and applying the eight conventional spelling rules with the ten syllable rules. The conventional spelling rules, such as the i before e rule cover a huge amount of ground. Syllabication skills that apply the  common English, Greek, and Latin morphemes (meaning-based syllables) with grammatical inflections, such _ing cover still more ground.

    The remaining 20% require rote memorization. Unfortunately for beginning spellers, many of the most common words in the top 100 most frequently used words are derived from Old and Middle-English spellings. These spellings do not match their sounds and are often referred to as Outlaw Words. Although the term conjures up images of bad guys in black hats, the term is quite accurate. These irregular spellings live outside the law of the sound-spelling system. Some of these words are pure Outlaw Words, such as once, which derives from Old and Middle-English. Other words incorporate foreign word parts that may be phonetically regular in another language, but not in English.

    Common single-syllable Outlaw Words, such as once, should generally be memorized by repetitive practice. Old school game cards do the trick as do drill and kill software programs. Careful diagnosis makes sense. A good Outlaw Words Spelling Assessment is just as important to use as is an Outlaw Words Reading Assessment. After all, students should be learning what they do not know, not rehearsing what they do know.

    When Visual Spelling Strategies Do Make Sense

    However, troublesome multi-syllabic words that are used less frequently, such as colonel, need special treatment. Of course, many of these words are essential components to an academic vocabulary. With these words, visual spelling strategies do make sense. After all, Confucius did say a picture is worth a 1000 words.

    When using a visual strategy with an unknown multi-syllabic word, the speller needs to focus on the troublesome part of the spelling. For example, with the French word colonel, the letter “c” and the ending “nel” are not the spelling difficulties. The “c” is phonetically regular, i.e., the spelling exactly matches the sound and it follows the conventional spelling rule that the initial /k/ sound followed by an “o” is spelled with a “c.” The “nel” is a common suffix covered by the syllabication rules and is also phonetically regular. Thus, the speller should build upon the known and adjust to the unknown “olo.” It is important to boost the confidence of  struggling spellers y reminding them that they know most of the word and that there is just a small bit that needs to be memorized.

    Applying a colorful picture to the unknown portion of a multi-syllabic word can aid the long-term spelling memory. When associated with the vocabulary (meaning of the word), a picture can be especially memorable. For example, to memorize the “olo” in colonel, the speller could draw a head on top of the “l” with a plumed helmet and a uniform onto the “o’s,” which serve as epaulets (the colorful shoulder decorations designating military rank). Introduce this “picture spelling” with simple multi-syllabic words such as principal, in which the “pal” is incorporated into a friendly principal’s face or dessert, in which the “ss” is incorporated into a lighted birthday cake with the “s’s” serving as candles.

    When used as an appropriate instructional component of a comprehensive spelling program, visual spelling strategies, such as these “picture spellings” do make sense. For example, a weekly Personal Spelling List of unknown words, derived from an effective spelling pre-test, could have a Memory Key column that requires the speller to make note of the spelling rule, syllabication rule, or “picture spelling” that will help best in word study.

    Students enjoy creating these memorable Memory Keys, including the “picture spellings.” Of course, students will find the troublesome “pp” spelling in disappointment and go wild with the picture, but what is memorable for a student is not always memorable for a teacher :).

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

    Spelling/Vocabulary, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Top Twelve Spelling Trends and Fads

    Spelling instruction certainly has had its share of crazy instructional trends and fads. As an author of two spelling books, a reading specialist, and a teacher of elementary school, middle school, high school, and community college students, I have seen my fair share of them over the last thirty years.

    For example, during the height of the whole language movement of the 1980s, California stopped adopting spelling programs and refused to fund the purchase of spelling workbooks. Principals were even encouraged to confiscate spelling workbooks from veteran teachers.

    In the spirit of factcheck.org, I have listed and rated a dozen of the most popular instructional spelling trends and fads over the last thirty years as “TRUE” or “FALSE,” in terms of recent spelling research.

    1. Tracing letters in sand helps students remember how to spell words. Advocates feel that this practice stimulates the visual memory.

    FALSE Spelling is not a visual or graphic skill that relies upon visual memory.

    2. Spelling can be improved via neuro-linguistic programming in which pictures and letters of words are impressed in one’s head and the student learns words by spelling them backwards.

    FALSE While picturing whole words may provide short term benefit, such as memorizing for the weekly spelling test, it is not an efficient strategy for long term conventional spelling acquisition.

    3. Spelling is a natural skill that improves with wide exposure to and practice in reading.

    FALSE Although there is a positive correlation between high reading comprehension scores and conventional spelling ability (Stanovich and Cunningham 1992), there is no established causal connection.

    4. Spelling is hereditary.

    HALF-TRUE “The relatedness of reading and spelling may be understood in terms of differences in underlying underlying verbal ability, which in turn may be partly determined by hereditary factors (Pennington 1991).”

    5. Spelling ability is related to phonics ability.

    TRUE Once students have sufficient practice in how words work at the phoneme level and are able to blend and segment words verbally, they can apply this knowledge at the symbolic level for both reading and spelling.

    6. Inventive spelling helps students learn how to spell.

    TRUE Good spellers problem-solve which letters and combinations best represent sounds. Spellers who practice application of the sound-spelling connections and the rules of spelling become less teacher, dictionary, and spell-check dependent. Too much focus on spelling correctness on rough drafts may inhibit word choice. Spelling correctness on final drafts is a must.

    7. Spelling instruction should be differentiated according to learning styles or modalities.

    FALSE Such instructional strategies as recording spelling words for auditory learners, practicing with magnetic letters for kinesthetic learners, and rehearsing with flash cards for visual learners do not enhance spelling acquisition more for some learners than others.

    8. Spelling is a developmental skill that can be categorized into cognitive spelling stages. Advocates feel that students can be challenged to progress through these spelling stages with differentiated instruction and word play.

    TRUE Popularized by the authors of the popular Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction (Bear et al, 2000) and the widely distributed Qualitative Spelling Inventory, the authors advocate spelling sorts, word study and games and de-emphasized the traditional pretest-study-posttest form of spelling instruction.

    9. Studying the shapes of letters and grouping letters for memorization by letter shape aids long-term memory. Advocates claim that this instructional approach is beneficial for students with visual processing challenges.

    FALSE Because spelling is primarily an auditory skill of matching letters to sounds, the shapes of the letters are irrelevant to spelling acquisition.

    10. Left-right brain strategies help spelling. Advocates feel that the right hemisphere can be stimulated and spelling improved by using wrist bands or looking up and left to memorize spellings.

    FALSE There is no evidence that cueing the brain will improve spelling or linguistic ability.

    11. What works for one student to develop conventional spelling ability does not work for every student. Not all students learn how to spell in the same way.

    FALSE     Effective spelling instructional strategies work for every student. Differentiated instruction should derive from diagnostic assessment data.

    12. Spelling is basic memorization. Using pictures can help students memorize spelling words.

    HALF-TRUE Although some words must be mastered as “sight spellings” because they are phonetically irregular, and although many words do not follow the conventional spelling rules, it is still beneficial to apply the alphabetic code to spelling. At least 50% of spellings directly match their sounds.

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

    Spelling/Vocabulary, Writing , , , , , , , , ,

    Effective Spelling Practice

    My last post discussed the role of the diagnostic pre-test as part of a balanced spelling program. I provided links for spelling word lists, including Vowel Sound-Spelling Patterns (for primary or remedial spellers), Outlaw Words (non-phonetic words), Dolch High Frequency Words, Commonly Confused Words, and the Eight Conventional Spelling Rules . I suggested that summer would be the best time to assess the spelling of your children to prepare for fall instruction and offered an essential resource: the comprehensive Diagnostic Spelling Assessment.

    As I previously mentioned, each of the six posts will begin with a brief reflection about the instructional spelling component, follow with a rationale for teaching that component, and finish with some free instructional spelling resources. The components of each of the six posts are as follows:

    1. Diagnostic Assessment 2. Sound-Spellings 3. Spelling Rules
    4. Spelling Lists and Tests 5. Spelling Practice 6. Integrated Spelling and Vocabulary.

    This week we explore how to use appropriate spelling practice as part of a balanced spelling program.

    Reflection

    □ I provide opportunities for students to practice words missed on the diagnostic pre-test.

    □ I provide both memorization and writing practice for spelling words.

    □ I connect spelling practice to structural analysis of the words.

    □ I integrate spelling and vocabulary instruction in our practice.

    Rationale

    Effective spelling practice is not exclusively memorization. Good spelling practice connects to language development, vocabulary, structural analysis, auditory processing, and writing.

    Language Development

    The ways that words are spelled are determined by etymological influences. For example, the British spell the /er/ as “re” in theatre, while Americans spell the /er/ as “er” in theater. The ways that words are spelled are also determined by derivational influences. For example, the “ch” spelling in Greek has a hard /k/ sound, so the word chorus is spelled accordingly.

    Vocabulary

    The ways that words are spelled are often determined by the morphemes (words parts with meaning). For example, we spell emigrate because the prefix e means “out of,” while we spell immigrate because the prefix means “in or into.”

    Structural Analysis

    The ways that words are spelled are further determined by structural issues. For example, we spell begin with one n, but beginning with two n’s because of the consonant doubling rule. We pronounce unaccented vowels with the schwa sound in multi-syllabic words.

    Auditory Processing

    Spelling is an auditory skill, not a visual one. We “encode” the sounds we hear into the written alphabetic code. Good spelling practice involves syllabication rules, oral blending, and word fluency.

    Writing

    We spell in order to write coherently. Students need to practice effectively proofreading to catch inadvertent spelling errors.

    Spelling Resources

    Language Development

    http://www.etymonline.com/ and http://www.yourdictionary.com/

    Vocabulary

    http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/reading/how-we-learn-vocabulary-from-word-parts-part-iv/

    Structural Analysis

    http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/tag/syllable-division/

    Auditory Processing

    http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/reading/how-to-do-sound-by-sound-spelling-blending/

    Writing

    http://www.dailywritingtips.com/8-proofreading-tips-and-techniques/

    In next week’s How to Teach Spelling Part VI, we’ll deal with the fifth P-Post-test and have more resources to integrate spelling and vocabulary instruction.

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Spelling Lists and Tests

    My last post, “Spelling Rules,” discussed why teachers should teach the eight conventional spelling rules as part of a balanced spelling program. I provided links for each of the eight free downloadable spelling rules with accompanying MP3 files of raps and songs to help your students memorize each of these rules. I also offered an essential resource: the comprehensive Diagnostic Spelling Assessment.

    As I previously mentioned, each of the six posts will begin with a brief reflection about the instructional spelling component, follow with a rationale for teaching that component, and finish with some free instructional spelling resources. The components of each of the six posts are as follows:

    1. Diagnostic Assessment 2. Sound-Spellings 3. Spelling Rules
    4. Spelling Lists and Tests 5. Spelling Practice 6. Integrated Spelling and Vocabulary.

    This week we explore how to use spelling lists and tests as part of a balanced spelling program.

    Reflection

    □ I use developmentally appropriate word lists as my spelling pre-tests.

    □ I use the spelling pre-test as a diagnostic tool and adjust student practice according to the results of the assessment.

    □ I have supplemental spelling word lists that are developmentally appropriate and I use these to differentiate spelling instruction.

    □ I don’t use the exact same spelling test for my pre and post-tests because the spelling post-tests vary from student to student.

    Rationale

    Developing a weekly spelling-vocabulary plan that differentiates instruction for all of your students is a challenging task for even the best veteran teacher. Teachers truly want to individualize spelling instruction, but the materials, testing, instruction, and management can prove overwhelming to even the most conscientious professional. After years of experimentation and teacher trial and error, this plan has earned a track record of proven success in combining spelling individualization and vocabulary word study with sensible amounts of teacher preparation and class time.

    Spelling Resources

    Five Steps to Differentiating Spelling-Vocabulary Instruction: The Five Ps

    1. Prepare

    Select twenty spelling pattern words from your grade-level spelling workbook. If you don’t have a spelling workbook, check out Grade Level Spelling Lists.

    2. Pretest

    Dictate the twenty words grade-level spelling pattern words in the traditional word-sentence-word format to all of your students. After the dictations, have students self-correct from teacher dictation of the letters in syllable chunks. Tell students to mark dots below the correct letters, but mark an “X” through the numbers of any spelling errors. Of course, double check the corrections of any students who have difficulty following directions or listening.

    3. Personalize

    To effectively differentiate instruction, students personalize their own spelling word lists for study and for their post-tests. Assign 15-20 words for practice and testing per week. Students complete their own Personal Spelling Lists with the 15-20 words in this priority order:

    • Pretest Errors: Have the students copy up to ten of their pretest spelling errors onto their Personal Spelling-Vocabulary List. Students will need to refer to the spelling workbook or your own spelling list to correctly spell these words. Ten words are certainly enough to practice the grade-level spelling pattern. Tell students to pick spelling errors from both the top and the bottom of their pretest to ensure that all spelling patterns are practiced because many workbooks teach two patterns per week.
    • Posttest Errors: Have students add on up to five spelling errors from last week’s spelling posttest.
    • Writing Errors: Have students add on up to five teacher-corrected spelling errors found in student writing. Oops…this commits you to mark strategic spelling errors in your students’ writing-an essential component of improving student spelling.
    • Supplemental Spelling Lists: Students select and use words from the following resources  to complete their list:

    Vowel Sound-Spelling Patterns (for primary or remedial spellers), Outlaw Words (non-phonetic words), Dolch High Frequency Words, Commonly Confused Words, and the Eight Conventional Spelling Rules.

    But, how do the students select the right words from the supplemental lists?

    Parents can be integral partners in helping their children select appropriate words for the Personal Spelling List. After completing the weekly Personal Spelling List, the student must secure a parent signature on the list to verify that each of the selected words is an unknown spelling for the student. This is to prevent students from writing down words already part of the student’s conventional spelling word bank.

    Early in the school year, send home a parent letter explaining the role of the parent in individualizing spelling instruction. Parents can pretest their son or daughter on the words from the appendices a little at a time to determine which words are un-mastered and need to be included as part of the weekly Personal Spelling List. For those parents who will not complete the pre-assessments, the teacher can have a parent, instructional aide, or another student complete the pretests.

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Spelling Rules

    Conventional Spelling Rules

    Eight Great Spelling Rules

    Teachers should teach the sound-spelling system as part of a balanced spelling program. To determine the individual needs of your students, teachers need the comprehensive Diagnostic Spelling Assessment to diagnose students and plan effective instruction.

    As I previously mentioned, each of the six posts will begin with a brief reflection about the instructional spelling component, follow with a rationale for teaching that component, and finish with some free instructional spelling resources. The components of each of the six posts are as follows:
    1. Diagnostic Assessment 2. Sound-Spellings 3. Spelling Rules
    4. Spelling Lists and Tests 5. Spelling Practice 6. Integrated Spelling and Vocabulary.

    This week we explore how to teach the spelling rules.

    Reflection

    • I know the key eight conventional spelling rules that work most all of the times.
    • I have an instructional plan in place to teach these spelling rules.
    • I have formative assessments in place to analyze their progress.

    Rationale

    Just because the English sound-spelling system works in only about 50% of spellings does not mean that there are not predictable spelling patterns to increase that percentage of spelling predictability and accuracy. Although the sound-spelling patterns are the first line of defense, the conventional spelling rules that work most all of the time are a necessary back-up.

    Spelling Resources

    Here are the Eight Great Spelling Rules with links to memorable MP3 songs and raps to help your students (and you) remember them. TURN THEM UP!

    1. The i before e Rule

    Usually spell i before e (believe), but spell e before i after a c (receive) and when the letters are pronounced as a long /a/ sound (neighbor).

    http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/spelling_vocabulary/the-i-before-e-spelling-rule/

    2. The Final y Rule

    Keep the y when adding an ending if the word ends in a vowel, then a y (delay-delayed), or if the ending begins with an i (copy-copying). Change the y to i when adding an ending if the word ends in a consonant, then a y (pretty-prettiest).

    http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/grammar_mechanics/the-final-y-spelling-rule/“>

    3. The Silent e Rule

    Drop the e (have-having) at the end of a syllable if the ending begins with a vowel. Keep the e (close-closely) when the ending begins with a consonant, has a soft /c/ or /g/ sound, then an “ous” or “able” (peaceable, gorgeous), or if it ends in “ee”, “oe”, or “ye” (freedom, shoeing, eyeing).

    http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/grammar_mechanics/the-silent-e-spelling-rule/

    4. The Double the Consonant Rule

    Double the last consonant, when adding on an ending (permitted), if all three of these conditions are met: 1. the last syllable has the accent (per / mit)  2. the last syllable ends in a vowel, then a consonant (permit). 3. the ending you add begins with a vowel (ed).

    http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/grammar_mechanics/the-double-the-consonant-spelling-rule/

    5. The Ending “an” or “en” Rule

    End a word with “ance”, “ancy”, or “ant”  if the root before has a hard /c/ or /g/ sound (vacancy, arrogance) or if the root ends with “ear” or “ure” (clearance, insurance). End a word with “ence”, “ency”, or “ent” if the root before has a soft /c/ or /g/ sound (magnificent, emergency), after “id” (residence), or if the root ends with “ere” (reverence).

    http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/grammar_mechanics/the-ending-“an”-or-“en”-spelling-rule/

    6. The “able” or “ible” Rule

    End a word with “able” if the root before has a hard /c/ or /g/ sound (despicable, navigable), after a complete root word (teachable), or after a silent e (likeable). End a word with “ible” if the root has a soft /c/ or /g/ sound (reducible, legible), after an “ss” (admissible), or after an incomplete root word (audible).

    http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/grammar_mechanics/the-“able”-or-“ible”-spelling-rule/

    7. The Ending “ion” Rule

    Spell “sion” for the final zyun sound (illusion) or the final shun sound (expulsion, compassion) if after an l or s. Spell “cian” (musician) for a person and “tion” (condition) in most all other cases.

    http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/grammar_mechanics/the-ending-“ion”-spelling-rule/

    8. The Plurals Rule

    Spell plural nouns with an s (dog-dogs), even those that end in y (day-days) or those that end in a vowel, then an o (stereo-stereos). Spell “es” after the sounds of /s/, /x/, /z/, /ch/, or /sh/ (box-boxes) or after a consonant, then an o (potato-potatoes). Change the y to i and add “es” when the word ends in a consonant, then a y (ferry-ferries). Change the “fe” or “lf” ending to “ves” (knife-knives, shelf-shelves).

    http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/grammar_mechanics/the-plurals-spelling-rule/

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Ten Components of a Successful Spelling Program

    Developing a weekly spelling-vocabulary plan that differentiates instruction for all of your students is a challenging task for even the best veteran teacher. Teachers truly want to differentiate spelling instruction, but the materials, testing, instruction, and management can prove overwhelming to even the most conscientious professional. Using this Spelling Program Checklist can help teachers re-focus  to improve their spelling instruction.

    Spelling Program Checklist

    1. Instructional Challenge-Diagnostic Spelling Assessments

    “Each year it’s always the same. I have good spellers and bad spellers. It takes a few weeks to find out who they are. Sometimes students will get 100%s on their Friday spelling tests, but they can’t spell anything in their writing. Unlike some of my colleagues, I do teach spelling, but I just use word lists I borrowed from a few old spelling workbooks, the Rebecca Sitton ‘No-Excuse Words,’ and words from our grade level spelling bee that we have to do in the spring. I assign spelling homework, because for some reason, spelling is about the only curricular area that parents ever ask about.”

    Instructional Strategies

    □ I administer, score, analyze, and differentiate spelling instruction according to a comprehensive assessment which diagnoses sound-spelling strengths and weaknesses.

    □ I administer, score, analyze, and differentiate spelling instruction according to a comprehensive assessment which diagnoses sight-syllable strengths and weaknesses.

    □ I administer, score, analyze, and differentiate spelling instruction according to a comprehensive assessment which diagnoses non-phonetic “outlaw word” strengths and weaknesses.

    □ I administer, score, analyze, and differentiate spelling instruction according to a comprehensive assessment which diagnoses high frequency words strengths and weaknesses.

    2. Instructional Challenge-Remedial Spelling Students

    “Rafael is one of my brightest students, but poor spelling inhibits his writing. He just can’t get down on paper what he wants to say. Rafael continually makes the same spelling mistakes in his writing, now matter how many times I red-mark them. Memorizing the list of weekly spelling words has never helped Rafael improve his spelling; year after year, he has lagged further and further behind his classmates.”

    Instructional Strategies

    □ I know exactly what Rafael’s spelling deficits are, according to diagnostic data.

    □ I have an instructional plan in place to remediate Rafael’s deficits.

    □ I pull aside groups of remedial spellers that share a common spelling deficit for practice and spelling dictations regarding that spelling deficit at least twice per week.

    □ I have formative assessments in place to analyze Rafael’s progress.

    3. Instructional Challenge-Accelerated Spelling Students

    “Kenny is a precocious student who clearly has a knack for spelling. On his Monday pretest, Kenny rarely misses any words. I give him the challenge words from the spelling workbook, but Kenny usually knows how to spell these too. Kenny rarely makes spelling mistakes in his writing because he selectively avoids using difficult spelling words.”

    Instructional Strategies

    □ Beyond the grade level spelling curricula, I know exactly what Kenny’s spelling deficits are, according to diagnostic data.

    □ I have an instructional plan in place to remediate Kenny’s deficits.

    □ I assign advanced spelling practice for accelerated spellers like Kenny.

    □ I have formative assessments in place to analyze Kenny’s progress.

    4. Instructional Challenge-Spelling Tests

    “On Monday’s spelling pretest, one-third of my students get most all of the words right; one-third of my students get most all of the words wrong; and one-third of my students get about half of the words correct. I give the same test on Friday. Those who study, get an easy A; those who don’t wind up getting about the same score as on their pretest.”

    Instructional Strategies

    □ I use the spelling pretest as a diagnostic test and differentiate instruction from that data.

    □ My spelling pretest has clear sound-spelling or syllable-spelling patterns and I analyze diagnostic data according to these patterns.

    □ My spelling posttests are all individualized because they are designed according to the diagnostic data of the spelling pretest and other diagnostic assessments.

    □ My spelling posttest includes words that students have misspelled in their own writing.

    □ My spelling posttest includes words that student have misspelled on their last spelling posttest.

    □ My spelling posttest includes non-phonetic “outlaw words” that are unknown to the students according to diagnostic data.

    □ My spelling posttest includes conventional spelling rules.

    5. Instructional Challenge-Spelling Practice

    “I use a few workbook pages that I’ve found that go with the word lists. Sometimes I use “Puzzlemaker” to create a word search. Sometimes I have the students quiz each other on their word lists. I’ve tried spelling sorts, but they don’t work with the random word lists that I use. I assign spelling practice for homework because the parents like it, and because I can save time in class for other instructional activities.”

    Instructional Strategies

    □ I give my students different spelling practice, according to their diagnostic strengths and deficits.

    □ I teach parents (elementary school) how to help their students practice their spelling.

    □ I have students practice their spelling deficits in the context of real writing.

    □ I teach students how to memorize spelling words for the spelling posttest.

    □ I teach students how to use mnemonic devices to memorize difficult spelling words.

    6. Instructional Challenge-Spelling Rules

    “The only spelling rule my students know is the ‘i before e’ rule and the one about ‘change the y to i and add “es”,’ although they get the rules mixed up a bit. Oh, and they also know some of the plural spelling rules. Frankly, I’m not sure I could name any others. I don’t know which ones are worth teaching and which ones are not.”

    Instructional Strategies

    □ I teach students the most-useful eight conventional spelling rules.

    □ I have students memorize the most-useful eight conventional spelling rules.

    □ I have students practice the most-useful eight conventional spelling rules.

    □ I hold students accountable for correctly spelling words in their own writing that follow already-introduced spelling rules.

    7. Instructional Challenge-Writing

    “I was taught not to red-mark any spelling mistakes because this would irreparably damage a student’s self-esteem. I’ve also heard that spelling is just an editing skill that should be reserved until the last step of the Writing Process, if there’s time. Sometimes, I do make the students write out their spelling words in complete sentences. I’ve also make them write out each word twenty times. Practice does make perfect.”

    Instructional Strategies

    □ I have a plan in place to hold students accountable for correctly spelling already tested words in their daily writing.

    □ I mark spelling errors in student writing, according to the abilities of the individual student and hold students accountable for correcting, practicing, and applying words that I mark.

    □ Students keep track of unknown or challenging spelling words that they use in their writing.

    □ I teach spelling editing skills in the context of authentic writing tasks.

    8. Instructional Challenge-Integrated Spelling and Vocabulary

    “I usually have students define their spelling words or put the vocabulary words that I pre-teach before each short story on their weekly spelling test. Sometimes I use “Puzzlemaker” to create a crossword puzzle.”

    Instructional Strategies

    □ I integrate spelling and vocabulary by using derivational spellings.

    □ I integrate spelling and vocabulary by using etymological spellings.

    □ I integrate spelling and vocabulary by using homophone (sounds the same, but spelled differently) spellings.

    □ I integrate spelling and vocabulary by using homograph (spelled the same, but sounded differently) spellings.

    □ I integrate spelling and vocabulary by using Greek and Latin prefixes, suffixes, and roots.

    9. Instructional Challenge-Integrated Spelling and Reading

    “Most of my good readers are good spellers, but this isn’t always so. Some of my students say that they learned to read with phonics instruction; some of them say that they just memorized a lot of the words; others can’t remember how they learned to read. Maybe by being exposed to lot of correctly spelled words in reading, students will pick up spelling skills by this modeling.”

    Instructional Strategies

    □ I show how the phonics rules and help inform spelling decisions.

    □ I teach students that spelling is an auditory skill, and not a visual one.

    □ I teach phonics rules to those who demonstrate diagnostic deficits.

    □ I teach structural analysis skills, including syllable rules and accent placement.

    10. Instructional Challenge-Instructional Time

    Elementary: “My administrator says we all have to teach spelling, but we have to have two hours of reading, one hour of math, one hour of social studies and science, and a few minutes of physical education. There just isn’t room for spelling-not to mention art, music, or critical thinking skills.”

    Secondary: “My administrator says that spelling is a state and district standard and so we all have to teach it in our ELA classes to prepare for the high school exit exams. I didn’t become an English teacher just to teach spelling. There’s not enough time for novels as it is. Something just has to go and, frequently, it’s spelling. ”

    Instructional Strategies

    □ I spend at least one hour on spelling-vocabulary word study per week, in addition to vocabulary-in-context reading activities.

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

    Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Vowel Team Spelling Games

    Developing spellers often struggle in the “Within Word” stage of spelling development. The key challenge for spellers within this spelling stage involves the vowel sound-spellings. The vowel combinations are especially challenging. Both vowel digraphs (two vowel spellings producing one sound), such as “aw” as in hawk, and vowel diphthongs (two or more vowel spellings producing more than one sound, such as “ow” as in towel, are frequently called vowel teams.

    The following three spelling games will help your developing spellers both recognize and practice these vowel team spellings. First, learn which vowel sound-spellings that your students don’t know with an effective diagnostic spelling assessment. The games should not be played until the vowel team spelling pattern has been introduced with plenty of examples. Students should also have some practice in spelling the vowel team spelling pattern in the context of dictations and sentence writing before play because the games are designed as reinforcement and practice. The games will help your remedial readers discriminate among similar vowel sound-spelling patterns. Oh, by the way… the games are fun!

    Word Jumbles

    -Overview/Object of the Game

    Each vowel team sound-spelling pattern has a multi-syllabic word jumble. The jumble is a word that includes the vowel sound-spelling with all the letters re-arranged. The object of the game is to make as many words as possible out of the word jumble and then to try and guess the entire word.

    -Materials/Preparation

    Write out the unscrambled word on one side of a 3 X 5 card and the jumbled word on the other. All students need to play is a sheet of binder paper and a pencil.

    Divide your spellers up into small groups of three or four students, clustered around a desk or table. The students must be seated, in order to write.

    Directions

    Place the card on the desk or table, jumbled side facing up. Give a three minute time limit for students to write down as many words as they can find within the word jumble. Instruct the players to turn over the card.

    Students take turns sharing their list, spelling each out loud. Award ten points for the whole unscrambled word, if spelled correctly. Additionally, add on one point for each correctly spelled word and  two points for a word that no one else in the group finds. Students total their points to see who is the winner.

    For example, for the “_ay” vowel team long a spelling, the word payment has the word jumble, APETNYM. The jumble includes these words:

    ape              ten            tap       yet       map     man     pay      pat       many   mane    meant  tape

    Word Jumble List

    Sound-Spelling   Word              Word Jumble

    Long a Sound

    “a__e”                         carefully          yluflarec

    “ai__”                          straining          ginianrts

    “__ay”                         betrayal           tylaaebr

    “ei”                               freighter          hefrgiret

    Long e Sound

    “__ee”                         meetings          mtsgniee

    “ea”                            teachers           srehcaet

    “__y”                           leisurely           ylurelies

    “i__e”                          tambourine      neuriboamt

    “[c]ei”                          ceiling              ginclie

    Long i Sound

    “i__e”                          provided          dideprvo

    “__igh”                        frightened       tndeehgirf

    “__y”                           beautify           fyiauetb

    “__ie”                          untied              teunde

    Long o Sound

    “o__e”                         hopeful            plefuoh

    “__oe”                         mistletoe         stelimeot

    “oa__”                         groaned           anodegr

    “ow”                            ownership        phisernow

    Long u Sound

    “u”                               musical            csualim

    “u__e”                         usefulness       uefessflns

    “__ew”                        curfew             furcwe

    “_ue”                           fueling             inufegn

    oo as in food Sound

    “oo”                             toothache        eooatthch

    “u”                               cruising            rciuisgn

    “u__e”                         attitude            tttiadeu

    “__ew”                        unscrewed       dweenuscr

    “_ue”                           barbecued        ecduberab

    oo as in foot Sound

    “oo”                             understood      ouorsdtden

    “__u__”                       sugarless          ragulsses

    oy Sound

    “oi__”                          poisonous        oponsiuos

    “__oy”                         enjoyment       nemtnojey

    aw Sound

    “aw”                            awesome         ewaosme

    “au”                             auditorium       tduaoiumir

    “al”                              almost              malsto

    “all”                             smallest           lamsselt

    ow Sound

    “__ow”                        downtown       wnownotd

    “ou__”                         doubtful          tbduoluf

    ur Sound

    “er”                              partnership     ntphrapresi

    “ir”                              birthday           hdyabitr

    “ur”                             urgency           nygceur

    ar Sound

    “ar”                              calendar          leacnrda

    or Sound

    “or”                             thunderstorm   rmostdrenuht

    The next two spelling games help your students review a targetted vowel sound-spelling pattern, alongside other spelling patterns. Both The Quick Picks Game and Vowel Concentration are small group games that use the Spelling Sort Cards.

    The Quick Picks Game

    -Overview/Object of the Game

    This spelling game is designed to help your students review a targetted vowel team spelling pattern, alongside other spelling patterns. The object of the game is to pick up the most number of cards that have words that use the designated vowel team spelling.

    -Materials/Preparation

    Click the link to download these Spelling Sort Cards from the Pennington Publishing website. These cards are formatted to cut into individual cards for word sort games. Simply run off the pages on tag board and laminate for each group.

    -Directions

    Divide your spellers up into two groups, clustered around two desks or tables, and spread out some, or all, of the vowel team spelling cards that you have already introduced (the same set to each group). Have the two groups spread out their cards spelling side up and then race to pick up the cards that have words that use the designated vowel team spelling.

    For example, pass out the long a and long e cards. Then, announce “Find  ‘a__e’ cards.” After picking up all of the “a__e” cards, tell students to take turns, saying each of their words and their spellings. The speller from each group with the most word cards that match the vowel team spelling that you announced is the winner.

    Vowel Team Concentration

    -Overview/Object of the Game

    This spelling game is designed to help your students review  targetted vowel team spelling patterns. The object of the game is to pick up the most two-word matches  of the same vowel team spelling.

    -Materials/Preparation

    Click the link to download these Spelling Sort Cards from the Pennington Publishing website. These cards are formatted to cut into individual cards for word sort games. Simply run off the pages on tag board and laminate two sets for each group of students.

    -Directions

    Pass out some, or all, of the vowel team spelling cards that you have already introduced from one set of the laminated cards face up.  Pass out some, or all, of the second set of vowel team spelling cards face down. Have the students spread them out, being careful not to turn any over.

    Students take turns turning over two cards at a time to find a vowel sound-spelling match. For instance, the boat card would match the oak card. If the student finds a match, he or she picks up the cards and gets another turn. The winner is the student who collects the most cards.

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

    Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Why Teachers Have Failed Their Students in Spelling

    During the 1975 to 1995 “whole language” era, teachers complied with conventional wisdom and threw out their spelling workbooks, the traditional weekly spelling and/or vocabulary test, and direct vocabulary instruction. Spelling was relegated to the role of an editing skill to be incidentally “caught, but not taught” through peer editing or, perhaps, the scientific process of osmosis. Since editing was the second-to-last chart on the teacher’s writing process bulletin board, the spelling “mini-lessons” were frequently omitted because the picture re-takes or sugar cube missions ate up all available class time. Similarly, direct vocabulary instruction was considered “rote learning” and was usually limited to pre-teaching a few, usually obscure, words before launching into the next piece of literature. Most vocabulary instruction was left, exclusively to the individually-played, implicit game of context clues “hunt and peck.” Teachers hoped that teacher read-alouds, pajama-reading-days, and the Scholastic® Book Faire would naturally develop student vocabularies.

    The results of this grand experiment have clearly been disastrous in the areas of spelling and vocabulary development. Standardized spelling and vocabulary test scores are down. A significant number of students are now graduating high school and college without having mastered conventional spelling. College professors complain about having to “dumb-down” instruction to be able to communicate with a new generation of rap-talking, IM (Instant Messaging), mono-syllabic freshmen. It may be unfair, but society judges poor spellers and wordsmiths quite harshly, and we have not done a service to our students by shortchanging effective spelling and vocabulary instruction.

    How Teachers Teach Remedial Spellers

    Rafael is one of my brightest and more creative eighth grade students, but poor spelling inhibits his writing. He just can’t get down on paper what he wants to say. Rafael continually makes the same spelling mistakes in his writing, now matter how many times I red-mark them. Memorizing the list of weekly spelling words has never helped Rafael improve his spelling; year after year, he has lagged further and further behind his classmates.”

    How Teachers Should Teach Remedial Spellers

    Clearly, students like Rafael are not receiving any real spelling  instruction. Teachers should assess their students, using an effective diagnostic spelling inventory. Then, teachers need to use worksheets, word lists, word sorts, and small group instruction to teach to these diagnostic deficits in the “Within Word” consonant and vowel sound spelling stages.

    How Teachers Teach Accelerated Spellers

    “Kenny is a precocious fifth grade student of mine who clearly has a knack for spelling. On his Monday pretest, Kenny rarely misses any words. I give him the challenge words from the spelling workbook, but Kenny usually knows how to spell these too. If I give him the sixth grade spelling workbook, next year’s teacher won’t have anything for him at all. Kenny rarely makes spelling mistakes in his writing because he selectively avoids using difficult spelling words.”

    How Teachers Should Teach Accelerated Spellers

    Clearly, students like Kenny are not receiving any real spelling-vocabulary instruction. Kenny and your other grade-level or accelerated spellers need to be challenged at the “Syllable-Juncture” and “Derivational Constancy” stages of spelling-vocabulary development. These are the stages in which spelling instruction should become spelling-vocabulary word study.

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

    Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary, Writing , , , , ,

    The Plurals Spelling Rule

    The Plurals Spelling Rule

    Check out the song! The Plurals Spelling Rule

    Plurals Had a Little Lamb

    (to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”)

    1. If there is a vowel before the letters o or y,

    Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb.

    “Add an s onto the end and to most nouns,” said I.

    Mary had a little lamb. Its fleece was white as snow.

    2. If there is a consonant before the o or y,

    And everywhere that Mary went, Mary went, Mary went.

    “Add “e-s” onto the end, but change the y to i.”

    Everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go.

    3. “Add “e-s” onto an xto /ch/, /sh/, /s/, or z.

    It followed her to school one day, school one day, school one day.

    Also add onto an f, but change the f to v.”

    It followed her to school one day, which was against the rules.

    The author of this song, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

     

    Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , ,

    The Ending “ion” Spelling Rule

    The Ending “ion” Spelling Rule

    Check out the song! The Ending “ion” Spelling Rule

    Exceptions to the rule: The “mit” root changes to “mis” and adds on “sion” instead of “tion.” Examples: commit-commission, permit-permission

    Ending “ion” Twinkle

    (to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”)

    1. If the /shun/ sound you do hear

    Twinkle, twinkle little star,

    And it follows l or s.

    How I wonder what you are.

    Or if you, hear a /zyun/

    Up above the world so high,

    For both spell “s-i-o-n”.

    Like a diamond in the sky.

    Both these rules will serve you well,

    Twinkle, twinkle little star,

    Learning all the ways to spell.

    How I wonder what you are.

    2. When a person you describe,

    Twinkle, twinkle little star,

    You should spell “c-i-a-n.”

    How I wonder what you are.

    In most every other case,

    Up above the world so high,

    Simply spell “t-i-o-n”.

    Like a diamond in the sky.

    Both these rules will serve you well,

    Twinkle, twinkle little star,

    Learning all the ways to spell.

    How I wonder what you are.

    The author of this song, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

    Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , ,

    The “able” or “ible” Spelling Rule

    The “able” or “ible” Spelling Rule

    Check out the song! The “able” or “ible” Spelling Rule

     

    End a word with “able” if the root before has a hard /c/ or /g/ sound (despicable, navigable), after a complete root word (teachable), or after a silent e (likeable). End a word with “ible” if the root has a soft /c/ or /g/ sound (reducible, legible), after an “ss” (admissible), or after an incomplete root word (audible).

    Exceptions to the rule: collapsible, contemptible, flexible, formidable, indomitable, inevitable, irresistible, memorable, portable, probable

    John “able” or “ible” Schmidt

    (to the tune of “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt”)

    Base words add “able” to the end,

    John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,

    As do word parts,

    That’s my name, too.

    That end in silent e

    Whenever we go out-

    Or with hard c or g

    The people always shout,

    But for all others add “i-b-l-e”.

    Saying, “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.”

    The author of this song, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and th

    Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , ,

    The Ending “an” or “en” Spelling Rule

    The Ending “an” or “en” Spelling Rule

    Check out the song! The Ending “an” or “en” Spelling Rule

    End a word with “ance”, “ancy”, or “ant”  if the root before has a hard /c/ or /g/ sound (vacancy, arrogance) or if the root ends with “ear” or “ure” (clearance, insurance). End a word with “ence”, “ency”, or “ent” if the root before has a soft /c/ or /g/ sound (magnificent, emergency), after “id” (residence), or if the root ends with “ere” (reverence).

    Exceptions to the rule: assistance, different, perseverance, resistance, violence

    This Old “an” or “en”

    (to the tune of “This Old Man”)

    If you see, “e-a-r”, or there is a “u-r-e”,

    This old man, he played one, he played nick-nack on my thumb

    In the root, or if you hear hard c or g,

    With a nick-nack paddy-whack, give a dog a bone,

    Then spell “ant”, “ance”, or “ancy”.

    This old man came rolling home.

    If you see, “id” like “fid”, or there is an “e-r-e”

    This old man, he played two, he played nick-nack on my shoe

    In the root, or if you hear soft c or g,

    With a nick-nack paddy-whack, give a dog a bone,

    Then spell “ent”, “ence”, or “ency”.

    This old man came rolling home.

    The author of this song, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and th

    Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , ,

    The Double the Consonant Spelling Rule

    The Double the Consonant Spelling Rule

    Check out the song! Double the Consonant Spelling Rule

    Double the last consonant, when adding on an ending (suffix)(permitted), if all three of these conditions are met: 1. the last syllable has the accent (per / mit) 2. the last syllable ends in a vowel, then a consonant (permit). 3. the ending you add begins with a vowel (ed).

    Exceptions to the rule:

    acquitted, busing, cancellation, crystallize, equipped, excellence, excellent, gases, handicapped, questionnaire, transferable, transference

    Consonant Doubling Doodle

    (to the tune of “Yankee Doodle”)

    Double the last consonant

    Yankee Doodle went to town

    When adding on an ending

    ‘A riding on a pony

    If these three do all agree

    Stuck a feather in his cap

    On this you’ll be depending.

    And called it macaroni.

    Is the accent at the end?

    Yankee Doodle keep it up!

    With a vowel, then consonant?

    Yankee Doodle da-an-dy

    Does the ending you must add

    Mind the music and the step

    Begin with a vowel?

    And with the girls be handy.

    The author of this song, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and th

     

    Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , ,

    The Silent e Spelling Rule

    The Silent e Spelling Rule

    Check out the rap! The Silent e Spelling Rule

    Drop the e (have-having) at the end of a syllable if the ending begins with a vowel. Keep the e (close-closely) when the ending begins with a consonant, has a soft /c/ or /g/ sound, then an “able” or “ous” (peaceable, courageous), or if it ends in “ee”, “oe”, or “ye” (freedom, canoeing, eyeing).

    Exceptions to the rule: acknowledgment, acreage, argument, awful, duly, judgment, mileage, ninth, noticeable, outrageous, simply, truly, wholly, wisdom

    Final e Memory Rap

    Drop the final e

    When adding on an ending

    If it starts with a vowel up front.

    Keep the final e

    When adding on an ending

    If it starts with a consonant.

    Also keep the e

    When you hear soft c or g

    Before “able” or “o-u-s”

    Mostly keep the e

    When the ending is “y-e”,

    “e-e”, or even “o-e”. YEO!

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

    Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , ,

    The Final y Spelling Rule

    The Final y Spelling Rule

    Check out the song! The The Final y Spelling Rule

    Keep the y when adding an ending if the word ends in a vowel, then a y (delay-delayed), or if the ending begins with an i (copy-copying). Change the y to i when adding an ending if the word ends in a consonant, then a y (pretty-prettiest).

    Exceptions to the rule: daily, dryly, dryness, paid, said, shyly, shyness, slyly, slyness

    Hickory Dickory Y

    (to the tune of “Hickory Dickory Dock”)

    If a root ends in a vowel,

    Hickory, dickory dock,

    And after that a y.

    The mouse ran up the clock.

    Just keep the y—and then said I,

    The clock struck one—the mouse ran down,

    “Add on the suffix to end.”

    Hickory dickory dock.

    But if a consonant then

    Hickory, dickory dock,

    A y should end a word,

    The mouse ran up the clock.

    Just change the y into an i

    The clock struck two—the mouse ran down,

    Except if the suffix has i.

    Hickory dickory dock.

    The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

    Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

    Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
    Grades 4-8 Programs

    The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

    Grammar/Mechanics, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , ,