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The author's experience with helping his granddaughters learn their spelling words led to a review of the literature on spelling theory and instruction. The purpose of this review was to answer the following questions: How should spelling words be chosen? Should spelling words be taught and tested in the list format? Is there a problem with using the same word list for all students? And, finally, what strategies should be taught to develop more effective spellers? By examining and responding to these questions, the author delineates a list of key characteristics to effectively teach spelling.

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