Beans is reading very well. He reads all kinds of materials – books we own, books from the library, books his kindergarten teacher sends home for him to practice on, signs and advertisements, and the list goes on and on. It’s thrilling and terrifying all at the same time, and I’m slowly becoming aware that I have to be cautious about what I’m reading as he peers over my shoulder.
His writing, though … he’s doing a great job with that, too, from an instructional standpoint. But – AAAAHHHHHH. It’s Maddening to me that he’s being taught to spell things the way they sound.
He brings home papers printed with sentences like, “The dinosor is goeeng to the stor.” And, “The monkee is playeng a gam.” (Come on, it’s a game – you can figure out what he’s trying to say if you just sound it out.)
This is no reflection on his teacher, by the way. We love her, and I have no idea how she feels about the Little Rock School District’s decision to go about things this way.
I haven’t looked at any data showing whether this guess-at-the-letters method is best for most kids, and I have to assume the administrators who make decisions about how our kids were taught have. And to be fair, there are several sight words that Beans is being taught to spell without sounding them out.
My complaint about all this is from a more individual perspective.
I tend to “memorize” the way words look on paper, and I don’t think I’m all that unusual. I’m weird in many ways, I admit, but I doubt this is one of them.
I’ve never had a real problem with spelling (Of course, there’s also this fabulous spell check thingy on my computer to catch me when I mess up …), even with names, because once I see something I kind of just remember how it looked in print. (Hearing a word spelled – or hearing any number of facts in class – does far less for me.)
We don’t know yet how Beans learns best, but what if he’s the same way? What if all those words he’s put on paper, spelled simply the way they sound, are being imprinted on his brain? Will he live life believing everyone around him is misspelling myusek, ‘music’? Or will he be able to effortlessly expunge the wrong and re-learn the right?
I ges onlee tim wil tel.