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Is Spelling Important?

Is Spelling Important?

Yes! Yes! Yes! But what about spell checkers? Can’t my child just rely on the computer? The short answer is ‘No’. Spell checkers are great, a very useful tool, particularly for those of us who are already fairly knowledgeable when it comes to spelling. However, in order to use a spell checker, you already have to have a reasonable idea of how to spell the word you are using. You need to be able to pick the right word from a list of options. What if the word is a homophone (sounds the same but looks different)? Will you know which word you are trying to spell? Spell checkers can only tell you if the word is spelled correctly but they can not tell you if the word is used correctly. For example have you chosen the right ‘there’, ‘their’, or ‘they’re’? Which witch? What about your ‘you’re’?

I’m often asked about the importance of spelling by parents of children in primary school. Spelling may seem like an unimportant chore on the homework chart. However when I remind parents that children need to be able to spell for their written exams in senior school, where no spell checkers are on hand, they suddenly grasp how important the skill of spelling really is. Yes spelling is a skill, and like all skills it can be learned, developed and honed.

Spelling, reading and writing are immensely complex processes, which many of us can just ‘do’ and rarely remember learning. However they are clear rules and systems which need to be ‘unlocked’ for many children. Before spelling, reading and writing comes speech and language. This involves the understanding and processing of speech sounds, making connections and adding meaning to sounds. Speech Pathologists have a very comprehensive knowledge of the foundational skills which are fundamental to literacy. We are able to guide a child through these early stages of literacy learning and to help a student understand the complexities of spelling, matching letters to spoken sounds in organized patterns.

Alison at Newcastle Speech Pathology has a special interest in literacy development. Having home educated her own children, she is passionate about seeing children excel in education. Call Newcastle Speech Pathology today to find out how we can support your child’s literacy development.

Read more about Dyslexia and Speech Pathology here. Check out Alison’s conversation about dyslexia with Michelle Morrow from Homeschooling Down Under here.

Written by Alison Speech Pathologist Newcastle Speech Pathology

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