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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Drop that E!

A few days ago I was on a "social" website and saw where a young lady wanted a babysitting job for the summer. She mentioned she was in the high school club for future educators. I found this rather scary. Every other word seemed to be misspelled. Now, I am not so anal as to nit pick on a typo here and there and an occasional misspelled word but after seeing the word "hopeing" appear several times in her texts I wanted to pull my hair out. Why can't these kids spell?

My sophomore year in college I had to take a culture class. The name of the class escapes me at the moment. The instructor was younger than me. There may have been two other nontrads in the class other than me but I really didn't know them. The class was full of young students that were pretty fresh out of high school in the age of KERA. One day the instructor came in fit to be tied. He said he did not know how some of us had gotten through high school let alone got into college. I just knew he was talking about me because these KERA kids had extensive training in writing with all their open responses and portfolio pieces they had done since elementary school. He handed out the papers of which he was referring and to my surprise I had a good grade. Later on in the class we were put into groups for critiquing. I saw what he was talking about. Through the years KERA has under went many changes. I think for the better. So how come these kids could not write a simple essay and spell correctly?

I remember first grade well. It was a traumatic year for all involved and that is all I will say about that. Back then that is when you learned to read. I was in the Red Bird group. That was the highest group. I was always determined to read just like my older siblings and cousins. I do not remember having spelling tests in first grade like they do now but we had quite a bit of phonics to do throughout the day. One book was orange with hot air balloons on it and the other was red and black plaid. I loved those books. I wanted to sit down and do them all at once. Even the "lower" students did well with these books. First we worked on the simple short vowel sounds then we went on to the long vowel sounds. By third grade we knew most spelling rules such as when to drop the "e" to make hoping and when to drop the "y" to add the suffix. 

Every school I've been at in the last few years uses Scott Foresman Reading Street series. I believe this is an excellent program and it focuses on phonemic awareness. Also there are tons of excellent resources on the web that go along with this series. So why can't these kids spell? Laziness or perhaps they do not care. It seems after a certain age the focus of correct spelling is put on the back burner. I admit I am not the speller I used to be thanks to spell check but I do try. I fear that many of these kids will be denied excellent opportunities because they cannot or will not spell correctly. This is the times that are before us. With this thought I ask you to remind your kids of simple spelling rules.

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