A companion student workbook to How to Teach Any Child to Spell, Tricks of the Trade provides a guide for kids to find the misspelled words in their own writing, categorize them, and master the art of spelling without having to worry about lists and lists of rules and exceptions. "Clue Sheets" at the beginning of the book identify a number of the most common phonemes, with several pages following on which kids write the words they've misspelled grouped according to pronunciation.
Author Gayle Graham stresses in the teacher volume that students' speech will affect their spelling. Often, the way a child says a particular word or letter sound will influence the way he or she writes it on paper, more often than not leading to errors. By having kids group words they struggle with according to the sounds those words make, they are better able to see why they made the particular mistake that led to a misspelling, and can more easily avoid the same error again.
This is a consumable workbook and cannot be reproduced, but the help it offers struggling spellers is invaluable. It forces them to evaluate words based both on appearance and sound, thus reducing the possibility of misspellings in the future. It also helps them become more critical writers, analyzing their own work as quickly as they write it down. If there's a word they're not sure of, they can circle it and return later to evaluate it and change the spelling if necessary. Not the most fun spelling workbooks, but certainly one of the best to help students (especially those who struggle) improve their spelling skills.
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