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Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas

Getting Started with Spelling

I have my SHS students study 20 words, as well as two sentences that will then be dictated to them on test-day. Students are expected to be able to write the dictation sentences with perfect spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Two extra-credit bonus words are also provided. Their words and sentences should be written correctly in cursive handwriting.

Administering Spelling Tests:

I have the students number a piece of paper 1-20 and then read the words and bonus words aloud to the students. Often, the words are given out-of-order from the study list. I usually say the word, use it in a sentence, and repeat just the word again, before moving on to the next word. Each of the words is also repeated after the entire list has been given. Then, I dictate the two sentences that come with each spelling list by saying the entire sentence once, then repeating it phrase-by-phrase until the students have it all written out. I repeat the entire sentence so the students can check that they have all of the words, and so they check the beginning and ending of their sentences.

Scoring Spelling Tests:

When scoring the test, each of the 20 words are worth one point. Each sentence is worth five points, so even if a student makes 6 or more mistakes in a single sentence, the student only misses five points for that sentence. Each mistake in spelling, capitalization, and punctuation counts as one missed point. Each test has a total of 30 points possible.

Challenge/bonus words will be counted separately towards the end-of-quarter extra credit.

Below are links to general resources that will enhance your spelling.

*Note: It is VERY important that students learn good dictionary skills with the printed dictionary and thesaurus. Limit online or electronic dictionary and thesaurus use to no more than 50% of a student's dictionary use.