Welcome to our spelling page! Below is the text from the spelling letter that was sent home at the beginning of the school year, which explains more about how spelling will work in 4th grade.
August 20, 2018
Dear Fourth Graders and Families,
This is a question we get at the beginning of every school year: Where are the weekly Spelling Lists?! Fourth grade uses Rebecca Sitton Spelling, an approach to spelling instruction that increases student transfer to their authentic writing. Remember when we were kids? On Monday, we’d get the list for Friday’s test. The following Monday, we’d get a whole new set of words. What if we got tested again on words from five weeks ago? Chances are we wouldn’t remember them!
Our typical Spelling week looks like this:
- Each day, students work on activities that introduce many of the words that will be on the Friday test (more on the test itself in a moment). The activities include word sorts, sentence expansion, editing, word association, and other skills good writers need.
- Throughout the week, we teach a specific skill, which is often tested on Friday as well. Students will have a Spelling worksheet related to this skill to work on in class (not every week, but often!). Skills taught include homophones, syllable rules, vowel patterns, irregular spellings, silent letters, and suffixes, to name a few. The sheet should be taken home and reviewed for Friday.
- Friday is test day!
- The Word Test (see example on the back of this page) portion is known as a cloze test, where words are left out of a paragraph. We’ll read the paragraph aloud three times (first for understanding, second with time for them to write in their words, and third as a double-check). Several of the words come from activities used during the week, some apply the spelling skill from that week, and many are repeats from previous weeks. The repeats are often homophones that fourth graders confuse (there/their/they’re, it’s/its, your/you’re) or words that they use frequently in their writing (certainly, English, friend).
- The Skill Test portion covers the skill from the week. Students have to apply the skill to new words and to new situations.
- Once the tests are graded, students will get them back with the misspelled words marked. They will record the proper spelling in their planners. The planner becomes a valuable word bank, full of words that you and your student can study. Chances are these words will come up again!
- If your child continues to struggle with the tests as the year progresses, accommodations may be made.
Our fourth grade team firmly believes that this teaching and testing method provides better information about a child’s spelling skills. There’s a bit of a learning curve at first for students, but once they get the hang of it, their scores properly reflect their level of proficiency. Additionally, if students are studying the words they missed every week, their scores will naturally increase throughout the school year.
Please let us know if you have any further questions!
Joe Bartko, Nicholle Hays, and Shawn Solon
Fourth Grade Team
What Should I do if my child is a struggling Speller?
Spelling and reading go hand and hand. More than likely, if your child is struggling with spelling, they are also a struggling reader. One way to begin tackling this is with sight words. Sight words can/should be implemented both at school and home. Talk to me if you are not sure whether or not I am going over sight words with your child.
Even though it can seem a little easy at first, www.starfall.com is a great website to help with both reading and spelling skills, because it breaks down learning into rules, such as consonant blends, vowel teams, silent e, and suffixes. They have other areas also, but below is the link specifically to the learning to read page:
Other websites may also provide fun interactive spelling practice for your child, such as:
Additionally, there are a few apps on smart phones out there. I haven't done a lot of research, but I know some are free and some are pay. It might be worth it to purchase if you feel it will help! This could be a great thing for your child to do on a smart phone instead of classic time-wasting games on phones, such as Angry birds, etc.
See me if you would like additional on-paper practice resources!
This is a list of all of the words that will be on the weekly Sitton Spelling tests this year. If your child is struggling with spelling this year, I recommend printing this out, quizzing your child (by having them spell the words, not just say them) and creating flash cards for the ones they miss.