My favorite part about teaching spelling with the PRIDE Reading Program is using the Letter Tiles. Each spelling lesson is multisensory since the kids are using both their visual and their kinesthetic modalities moving the tiles around to build words. Spelling with letter tiles is fun, interactive and engaging.
What are Letter Tiles?
In the PRIDE Reading Program, the Letter Tiles are those tiny color-coded squares that have each phoneme of the English language printed on them. They are used by the students when practicing a new concept or skill. The kids are given 10 words to build with their tiles. They say the word, bring down each sound they hear in the word and then blend the sounds together to read the word. Spelling with letter tiles is a step-by-step process.
Why use Letter Tiles?
Because each Letter Tile is a different color, it helps the kids visualize the more abstract concepts. In the PRIDE Reading Program, the consonants are all white, the vowels are all green. Therefore, when the kids are building words, the vowels really stick out. It also gives the kids a visual of manipulating each sound in isolation to create words as well as break apart syllables. For kids that are “hands on” learners, spelling with Letter Tiles are very helpful in building lasting memories to help make those difficult concepts (like learning the ea ) really “stick.”
How do Letter Tiles Work?
You have the option of placing the Letter Tiles in alphabetical order on a table or flat surface, or you can put magnets on the back of them and place them on a magnet board. I use both ways with my students in our Orton-Gillingham tutoring sessions, and the kids don’t seem to have a preference one way or the other.
In the PRIDE Reading Program, the letter tiles are used in every Practice Lesson and every Reinforcement Lesson. So, the kids are given plenty of opportunities to practice their new skills and also review their previously learned skills. Here is a sample video of me teaching a student spelling with Letter Tiles – it’s really short and quick, but gives you an overview.
Letter Tiles are a fantastic learning tool that helps kids learn to apply and use their spelling rules quickly and with accuracy. They are the perfect multisensory, fun and hands-on activity for kids that are visual and kinesthetic learners. Do you use Letter Tiles in your spelling and reading lessons? If yes, please feel free to share what and how you do it with all of us! We welcome your feedback!
Karina Richland, M.A., developed the PRIDE Reading Program, an Orton-Gillingham program for struggling readers, based on her extensive experience working with children with learning differences over the past 30 years. She has been a teacher, educational consultant and the Executive Director of PRIDE Learning Centers in Southern California. You can reach her at email@example.com or visit the PRIDE Reading Program website at https://www.pridereadingprogram.com
Studies from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development have shown that for children with difficulties learning to spell, a multisensory teaching method is the most effective way for these students to learn. Multisensory teaching means the teacher must tap into all learning modalities – see it (visual), feel it (tactile), hear it (auditory) and move with it (kinesthetic). Here are a few suggestions on how to make spelling lessons fun, creative, engaging and multisenrory.
- Trace words with a pencil or pen while spelling the word. Then trace with an eraser. Get up and do 5 jumping jacks. Now write the word and check for accuracy.
- Write the words by syllables in different colored markers.
- Pair up with another student and write words on each other’s back with a finger. Have the partner guess what the word is.
- While sitting on a carpet, write down each word directly onto the carpet with two fingers.
- Trace over each word at least three different times in different color crayons so that the words look like rainbows.
- Pair up with another student and take turns jumping rope while spelling the words out loud.
- Clap your hands to each letter as you spell the words out loud.
- Type each of the words in 5 different fonts, colors, and sizes.
- Bounce a ball to each letter in the word.
- Practice writing the words with neon gel pens on black paper.
- Write the words on individual chalkboards using colored chalk.
- Finger-paint the words using frosting on wax paper or paper plates.
- Spell the words using alphabet manipulatives such as magnetic letters or letter tiles.
Learn more about the New PRIDE Reading Program
Karina Richland, M.A. is the Founder of PRIDE Learning Centers, located throughout Southern California. Ms. Richland is a certified reading and learning disability specialist. Ms. Richland speaks frequently to parents, teachers, and professionals on learning differences, and writes for several journals and publications. You can visit the PRIDE Learning Center website at: www.pridelearningcenter.com
I know many adults who truly believe that they cannot spell, saying “I can’t spell” in the same manner that they would say, “I can’t swim.” But spelling, like swimming, can be taught. However, while most teachers know how to test for spelling, very few know how to teach spelling.
There is a misconception that spelling is a form of dyslexia, a disorder where one is unable to recognize words or sound them out phonetically. The acts of reading and writing occur mainly in the left temporal lobe of your brain – the part of the brain near your left ear. The act of spelling, however, occurs mainly in the occipital lobe of your brain – the visual cortex in the back of your head responsible for forming and retrieving visual memories. So, to remember how to spell a word, you must first store the memory of that word, and then retrieve that “picture” when you are about to write it.
The Three Types of Memory
When I teach spelling to children and to adults, I first talk about the three types of memory. The first type of memory can be called “Blackboard” memory, which lasts from 1-30 seconds. The goal of your brain in Blackboard memory, surprisingly, is to forget what you’ve seen. For example, if you’re driving down the street and see various business signs, “Tom’s Bakery,” “Joe’s Key Shop”, “Chan’s Dry Cleaners,” etc., you certainly don’t want to keep remembering Joe’s Key Shop for the rest of the day. Rather, a “slide” of Joe’s Key Shop is stored in your visual memory, but you’ve made no pathway to consciously retrieve the memory. Occasionally there may be an accompanying smell (such as the bakery next to the key shop) which may remind you of the key shop, but you’ll most likely not remember that the key shop exists. So, when you actually need a key made, you’ll probably have to search the listings for one, and lo and behold, there’s Joe and his key shop right around the corner!
The second type of memory can be called Short-Term Memory, which lasts from 31 seconds to about 2-3 months. Most children rely on Short-Term Memory to recall information for tests, midterms, and final exams, but then forget the information the following year (which explains why kids have to be re-taught “mean, median, and mode” every year from elementary to high school). The third type of memory, Long-Term Memory, is the stored memories of experiences and information that we will always be able to recall, either from connection to an emotional event (e.g., World Trade Center) or from multiple uses (e.g., names, phone numbers, addresses, etc.).
The goal of all learning, then, is to place what needs to be remembered into the student’s Short-Term Memory, so that facts, dates, and the spelling of words can be recalled. Once this information is stored in Short-Term Memory, a pathway is established so that the student is able to consciously retrieve the information for up to 3 months. If there is repeated exposure to the information, this pathway becomes even more established, forming a Long-Term Memory.
Simple Technique for Perfect Spelling
Teaching spelling in school is usually done by having a student copy the words over and over again, which of course does not work at all. By copying the words, their spelling never leaves the student’s Blackboard Memory, so the brain does its job well and dutifully helps the student forget the spelling. The goal, then, is to place the spelling of the word in the student’s Short-Term Memory, so it’s “picture” can be retrieved.
Here is a simple technique that you can do at home to help your child succeed in spelling:
1. Have your child write the spelling word on a piece of paper, then trace the letters with his or her index finger while saying the spelling word out loud. Have the child say the word normally while tracing it, not say or sound out individual letters or vowels.
2. Take the paper away and wait a minimum of 30 seconds (e.g., sing the “Jeopardy!” theme or some other song).
3. Give your child a blank paper, saying, “Now, write the word you traced.”
4. If your child spells the word incorrectly – which is likely to occur at the beginning of this technique – go back and repeat steps 1-3.
Once your child has established a pathway to the Short-Term Memory of a word’s spelling, it’s THERE – the brain has no way of knowing if that pathway was established 31 seconds ago, one week ago, or one month ago. And since the pathway is there, your child WILL remember the spelling of the word.
I’ve used this technique with parents and children for many years, even students with mild traumatic brain injury, and I’ve never come across a student who did not suddenly go from the worst speller to the best speller in the class.
Good luck!………………..Dr. David.
Learn more about the New PRIDE Reading Program
David Raffle, PhD, CBIS, is a credentialed special education teacher, educational specialist, and brain injury specialist who performs neuropsychological and psychoeducational testing for special education services, standardized testing accommodations, and modifications in the workplace for children, adolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities, traumatic and acquired brain injuries, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorders.
Visit Dr. Raffle’s website at: https://www.DavidRafflePhD.com or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org