Therapy 101: Can YOU spell these words?

Spelling is part and parcel of a child’s academic life. I totally agree that everyone must know how to spell and not rely on spell-checks or auto-corrects. It is hard to define what is in the spelling list for a regular 6 year old and a 10 year old. I mean a word like “Requirement” looks so easy, but it may be a challenge to a lower primary kid, yet terribly simple for an upper primary student. (for the matter, some adults have to take a second to figure out if there’s a “e” before “ment”!)

For now, I’m having a lot of problems with Nadine’s spelling list. If you recall, we chose a school that’s less academically inclined so that there would be lesser stress in her school life. Alas, this school seems to really love spelling!! I expected something simple since it’s the start of the year, the start of primary school education. Something like the famous 100 Sight Words:

100 Sight Words

But oh no… it’s not what you see above. Below is her WEEKLY spelling list. Note: It happens weekly, and all 10 words are tested. 

Primary 1 Spelling 2015

For her Week 1’s spelling, it wasn’t so bad. She could read most of the words, and we had two weeks to prepare for it. So we read and went through about 8 words with her. (there was no way she could prepare 10 words!!) Well, she didn’t do too badly. Out of the eight words she revised, she had 6 words correct! We were really very happy.

Then came Week 2. And it came very quickly. I mean, Spelling is on Tuesday. So we took a break on Tuesday and Wednesday. I picked up the list again on Thursday, I had a night meeting on Friday, and since we don’t study over the weekend, it was soon Tuesday again! We tried for 8 words again, but it was just a read through.

Oh well… as expected, she couldn’t spell all 8 words perfectly. She came back with a 3/10. And a short note to say there’s a RETEST!

Why oh why is there a retest? The teacher contacted me to explain that the retest was a one-off for those who failed their spelling. She wanted to understand the reasons behind them doing badly. I sure hope after she understands, my girl doesn’t get retested for all subsequent spellings!

And Week 3 was the Tuesday that passed. And I nearly cried. Look at the list again. Primary 1 Spelling at Week 3 of their academic life: “cooperation”, “kindergarten”, “together”, “partners”. What happened to “Monday”, “October”, “rainy” or “happy”???

Well, this time, I just focused on 4 words. Yes, I realised that’s what we can manage if spelling is going to be weekly. And I am aware even if she gets all 4 words correct, she will still fail her 10-word spelling. But that’s how it would be. We’d just focused on four words.Four words each week, and each time, we will look for patterns in the word, find a fun way to remember the spelling.

Her teacher told me that Nadine has a great attitude towards learning. She doesn’t give up, has great resilience and keeps trying. And I agree!! For Nicole and Nathan, when they don’t know the word during spelling, they would usually leave a blank, or just scribble some letters. On the other hand for Nadine, she really tries to “spell” out the words. Do remember that she only learnt 4 out of the 10 words. Look at her script!

Spelling List 2015

Isn’t it amazing? She tried so hard for all 10 words. With her dyslexia, it’s extra effort for her to sound out the words. I’m so proud of her for sounding out every word! There were no blanks! She really tried them all! (and i think, her phonics ain’t that wrong!) I mean “frand”, “togathe”, “timwec”, “giph and tack” do sound like how it’s spelt, ya? 🙂

My prayer for Nadine used to be for her to be able to adapt to the academic rigours in school. But now, my prayer is just for her to remain confident and assured, that God protects her self-esteem and self-image.

Side note: I spoke to her teacher for Dyslexia and found out this is something that would be the norm at least till Primary 3! So we are now working closer than ever before to help Nadine, I’m going to research more online and at the library. 

Side Side note: I am not blaming the school for a difficult spelling list. Nor am I complaining about their lack of understanding. I chose this school for Nadine, and I’m prepared to take on whatever that comes. Perhaps the tough spelling list would be compensated by really easy Math worksheet and super easy peasy Chinese tests. I’m ok to take them on. But I pray Nadine can continue building her resilience to keep trying and patiently work out her words and complete her work. 

This is part of a series I’ve started – Ther­apy 101, to doc­u­ment Nadine’s devel­op­men­tal strug­gles and vic­to­ries, and to jour­nal my own learn­ing expe­ri­ences as she goes through hers.

Therapy 101