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They Still Can't Spell?

Understanding and Supporting Challenged Spellers in Middle and High School

By Dawn Putnam, Karen L Reed-Nordwall, Tracy Rosewarne, Rebecca Bowers Sipe, Jennifer L Walsh

    Rebecca Sipe, together with Jennifer, Dawn, Tracy, and Karen—incredible teachers, all—provide an encouraging, supportive, practical, and downright inspiring resource. . . . Educators will recognize their own struggles with spelling instruction as they become aware of how motivating and perhaps enjoyable spelling can be--while seeing with new insight through the eyes of adolescents for whom "spelling is not trivial."
    —Shane Templeton, Ph.D., Foundation Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, U of Nevada, Reno

Challenged spellers in middle and high school are hit with a triple...

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    Rebecca Sipe, together with Jennifer, Dawn, Tracy, and Karen—incredible teachers, all—provide an encouraging, supportive, practical, and downright inspiring resource. . . . Educators will recognize their own struggles with spelling instruction as they become aware of how motivating and perhaps enjoyable spelling can be--while seeing with new insight through the eyes of adolescents for whom "spelling is not trivial."
    —Shane Templeton, Ph.D., Foundation Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, U of Nevada, Reno

Challenged spellers in middle and high school are hit with a triple whammy—they can't spell, traditional strategies don't help them, and poor spelling often inhibits their writing. English teachers face a challenge, too—especially those whose job is not to teach spelling. This book changes that. It offers teachers ways to identify students' problems within the context of writing and the appropriate strategies to correct them in regular English classrooms.

The book is the result of the four-year collaboration of former secondary teacher Rebecca Bowers Sipe, two middle and two high school teachers, and their students. Based on literacy histories, placement inventories, visual memory tests, and analyses of student writing, their book:

  • offers a detailed look at the literacy journeys of challenged spellers through student work, vignettes, and interviews
  • describes four categories of challenged spellers and their relationship with overall literacy investment
  • identifies the pitfalls of "too little, too shallow, too fast" practices, including familiar but ineffective lists and tests
  • expands basic spelling knowledge within the constraints of the regular English curriculum
  • steps inside the classrooms of these teacher-researchers as they put their strategies into practice
  • includes tools, resources, and other materials for immediate use in teaching.
In addition, the book provides ideas and cautions for addressing spelling at the classroom, school, and district levels, plus step-by-step plans for supporting departmental- and school-based discussions about spelling instruction.

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