Joplin schools opt for word study over spelling tests & get new - KOAM TV 7

Joplin schools opt for word study over spelling tests & get new reading program


 Spelling tests are no longer part of the regimen at Joplin schools which are  now using a different approach to vocabulary building.   But other private schools still take the testing approach.

Joplin schools cut the spelling test two years ago, incorporating word study into literacy time with reading and writing. The curriculum director Sarah Stevens says, "Kids memorizing it just puts it in the short term memory and to put it in the long term memory you have to apply it." 

Joplin elementary students are being screened now for reading and vocabulary levels. Then teachers will  begin using a new reading program called Good Habits,  Great Readers. The curriculum director says word study is embedded, even  when it comes to homonyms. She says, "Those are patterns, spelling rules,  we teach kids. The  teacher will  do mini lesson where she will explain there's three different  versions of  the word there and then she'll show them in mentor texts,  in a reading book or library book.  She'll show how those three types of words all sound the same  and mean different things. Then the kids will apply it in their own reading."

The word wall still exists for sight words that don't follow rules and that  kids learn through exposure. How well students spell will be something Joplin teachers assess reviewing students writings.

St Mary's elementary students  still tackle spelling as a subject which includes spelling tests.  Teachers there believe its effective.  %5th grade teacher Emily Lone says, "The benefit of using spelling words in the classroom is the expansion of a students vocabulary.  And then that  relates in their speaking skills and translates to their writing skills."

 St. Mary's teachers say spelling is  not simply memorizing and  spelling words are often connected to other subjects.  Plus spelling books offer more than a simple list. Lone says, 
"We  talk  about what  the meaning is, and  in the  book it does have them  do synonyms antonyms, so they  practice those other skills with  the word."

Joplin curriculum director Stevens says,  once students learn word patterns they can decode and solve how to spell words. She says parents concerned about not having word lists will see kids coming home with word cards or manipulatives to help them build words rather than memorize them.  




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