Friday, February 4, 2011

Is Spelling Really That Important?

I've talked a lot in the past about how my son struggles with reading. I recently bought a program called All About Spelling to see if this would help his reading ability. But you know what? I don't like it. And you know how it is if you don't like something, you don't use it. So it sits here unused. And we still struggle with reading. So what do you think of the importance of spelling? Is this something you spend a lot of time on? Do you spend any time on it? I know most of us do our writing on a computer. And every computer has a spell checker, right? So why do we even bother with spelling?

My father only had a third grade education. His father became ill when he was in third grade so he had to drop out of school and go to work to help support his eleven sisters and his brother. But my father was an excellent speller. To him, it was extremely important that we learned to spell well. He would quiz us on spelling words until he was sure we knew them. But that was a different time. I wonder if he would still feel this way today.

I think it's important to be able to spell. When I was sick and the drugs were making my brain fuzzy, I had trouble spelling. I even had trouble coming up with enough of the word to be able to use spell checker. One of the ways that I knew that the chemotherapy drugs were working their way out of my body was because I could spell again. It was a great relief to me to be able to spell. I also think it does help you read better.

I don't know what I'm going to do with my little one. I know he will eventually be a fluent reader. I can see improvement in his ability all the time. For a while I was considering tutoring for him. But I think he will get it when he's ready. Whenever I begin to have doubts, I just come back here and read my old blog posts. I remind myself again that it is important to let his mind develop as he is ready and not to push him beyond what he's ready for.

So dear reader, how important is spelling to you?


  1. Thank you for sharing this Kathi. I've bought so many different spelling curriculums(AAS, Sequential Spelling, Spelling Workout) not really because we needed to, but because I thought I was supposed to. I don't use any of them. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of spelling curriculums. My brother was a horrible speller, but brilliant all around. I could go on and on.... As for reading, have I shared that I found phonics computer games, songs, DVD's(Leapfrog!), etc to work the best. I also love Raymond Moore(Moore Foundation)who encourages better late than early. I totally agree with your last paragraph. BTW-my boys dislike school work. I have found they learn a ton when doing something that they love(computer/favorte show etc) I hope this encourages you!

  2. Sooner or later, he will know how to spell, by rote, the 1,000 or so most commonly used words, and that is probably enough to get by with for most people.

    Yes, spelling as part of vocabulary will come up as part of SAT or ACT tests. So? There are ways to deal with such things, at that time.

    Meanwhile, getting used to seeing and spelling the common words should be enough.