My kids know better than to ask me how to spell a word.
Me: If you can say it...
Them: ...you can write it.
When they can finish my sentence, you know they've heard me say this a time or two... or a hundred. This is not to say that spelling isn't important. Official spelling starts in November. It might be official, but it's not traditional by any means.
Everyone gets their own individual list.
There are no spelling tests.
Yep, each child gets their own words. Why not? While one child needs "actually" another needs "have." The words come right out of their daily writing. What better place to find the words they don't know. In fact, their writing is their test. It's the ultimate test of how well they've learned the words. If they truly know the words, they should be able to spell them correctly in their own writing on a daily basis and not simply for one moment in time (ie. Friday test). Here's the lowdown...
Each child's spelling words live in a small memo book like this, which is updated every two weeks and always stays at school.
I write the words on the left. The child copies the words onto the right side of the page after creating a crease down the middle.
Then I cut on the crease. The child reads each word to me, and I highlight the part that I think will be tricky or that I want to reinforce for that particular child. I ask, "What do you notice?" and we have a quick discussion about what they notice concerning the highlighted chunk.
Finally I staple the list to a short note for parents, so they're reminded of what to do with this list at home.
I shall leave you with a little something from Sandra Wilde who says it better than I ever could. "The first component of a good spelling and punctuation curriculum is extensive, daily reading and writing."