The purpose of Spelling Analysis is to guide students as they apply phonograms and spelling rules in specific words. Traditional spelling lists, which many of us are more used to, present words to be copied and memorized. Logic of English® spelling lists and dictation have an entirely different purpose: developing reading fluency, strengthening spelling, and helping students analyze why words are spelled the way they are through Spelling Analysis.
- Foundations - For Foundations students, Spelling Analysis focuses on developing reading skills.
- Essentials - For students in our Essentials program, there is an additional focus on understanding how and why words are spelled the way they are to build spelling mastery.
What Spelling Analysis is Not
Generally, Logic of English does not encourage traditional spelling tests. Having students write words, dictation phrases, and sentences using phonograms and spelling rules is a more effective way to assess what students have learned. These assessments demonstrate true mastery of spelling skills and focus on real-world application, as the words are not being used in isolation
Spelling Lists are not Spelling Tests
- The purpose of the Spelling Analysis lists is to learn how English spelling works rather than to memorize the words by rote.
- Students and instructors work together to apply the phonograms and spelling rules.
- The instructor is expected to give prompts to students to ensure students are spelling words correctly.
- Learning how to spell is a process that develops over time, so words that have been previously taught may still be misspelled at times.
As students are introduced to a word through spelling analysis, they develop skills that will enable them to read and eventually spell thousands of words. The process of understanding and developing spelling skills is the goal, not memorizing words soon to be forgotten for a weekly test.
Assessments in Foundations and Essentials
- Our Foundations program includes a review lesson after every five lessons. The review lessons in Foundations help identify areas that need more review or practice. This is the primary focus in using the reviews, and instructors should provide additional instruction and practice as needed. Practice ideas can be found after the Foundations review lessons.
- The spelling lists in Foundations lessons are used for spelling analysis, a learning activity, and not for spelling tests.
- Foundations D includes short, casual spelling checks in the assessments. Complete mastery of the words in the D assessments is not required before moving on.
- Our Essentials program includes a Check Your Understanding assessment in each unit. Students will apply the phonogram, spelling rule, and grammar knowledge they have learned by that point in the curriculum and demonstrate mastery of words from previous units.
- Each Check Your Understanding assessment includes phonogram dictation, in which the teacher says phonogram sounds aloud and students write the phonograms with no visual reference.
- The Essentials unit assessments give teachers a much better sense of the student's progress in developing strong spelling skills than simply checking whether or not they have memorized a list of words.
Traditional spelling tests are typically not a practical assessment of actual spelling ability or an effective way to build students' long-term mastery. Most students care greatly about grades and will feel pressure to focus on being graded. If the focus is on memorizing how to spell a list of words, students may miss mastering the concepts and skills needed to apply to other spelling words.
Though we do not recommend giving weekly spelling tests, giving a weekly quiz is not going to hurt the student as long as you consider the following:
- Consider the Student. Give spelling tests only to students making substantial progress in mastering the phonograms and using them successfully for reading.
- Teach the Words First. Only include words you have taught through spelling analysis and practiced in-class activities. If there are additional words you want to include, teach the phonograms/rules used in the new words through spelling analysis. Include the extra words in spelling games and dictation activities throughout the week.
- Create Dictation Phrases. If possible, create a group of dictation phrases rather than individual words, and include words from past lessons. This will better assess students' actual ability and significantly impact the long-term mastery of words.
- Partial Credit. Give partial credit for misspelled words in a way that correctly applies all phonograms and rules. Make sure that your measure of success rewards the progress they have made and reflects the understanding they have gained. A student who writes owt for out, or unresunable instead of unreasonable, demonstrates spelling concept knowledge, despite not remembering the correct phonograms.
- Not Just Spelling Tests. Consider the spelling test a minor factor in students' spelling grades for your class. Other lesson activities, phonogram drills, and dictation sentences should factor in spelling grades.
To learn more about spelling analysis and how to use it in our curriculum or to help strengthen any student's reading and spelling skills, see our Free Spelling Analysis Tutorial.