It is difficult to for children these days to imagine communicating without the help of a spell check or auto-correct on whatever device they are “writing” on, specifically the media today’s students at private schools in Orlando encounter via instant messages and texting. When students acclimate to text spelling, words no longer function beyond a series of letters with few vowels and minimal capitalization or punctuation. How is a student expected to learn the spelling of a word when it is constantly written in a context foreign to standard English? This “shorthand” English is not necessarily newfangled; signs have warned of “No Thru Traffic” for decades. How can a parent segue between “text” English and traditional English to ensure they are proficient spellers as adults?
Preparing students for real-world applications of correct spelling should begin with fundamentals, such as pointing out signs with misspelled words and asking how different words should be spelled when a text shows more inarticulate spelling. Once a child understands that many people use lax spelling skills for casual writing, they may be stimulated to bring the corrections to light without your prodding. When fundamentals have been realized, the next step is to focus on prefixes and suffixes, recognizing when to drop the “e” at the end of a word before a suffix is added and when it should remain, for instance. Depending on the age of the child and the strength of the spelling words, it may be advisable to delve into etymology, determining if a word is of Arabic, Latin, or another descent. Knowing the etymology of words will strengthen spelling skills of any learner, even if the word listed is new to the reader.
The end result should always be a strengthening of the English language, so while you study with your small scholar, lighten up the mood by using simple games or cues. Give your child the confidence necessary to spell accurately.
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