- At some point in the reading and writing scheme most children
begin to write spontaneously. They do so because they want to
express their thoughts in writing. Care must be taken not to
dampen their enthusiasm by over-correcting. The children will
spell very phonetically at first. This does not matter. The important
thing at this stage is that they enjoy writing and feel self-confident.
Naturally, their punctuation will not be perfect. In the effort
of expressing their thoughts, they will not form the letters
as well as they might, etc. The teacher should keep a box of
small pieces of paper available. When a child wants help with
a word, he is told to bring her a piece of paper, she writes
the word for him on the paper and gives it to him. The children
do not know which words are difficult or which are easy; sometimes
they ask for a word they could manage. Never mind, the teacher
must just write the word and hand it back.
- Children can only become good spellers by reading. The more
they read at a young age, the better they spell. They take in
spelling by eye. They should not be asked to learn lists of spelling.
This destroys their confidence and is boring. No one could learn
all the spellings necessary in English in this way. There are
phonetic words, words which contain definite combinations of
letters which must be learned, and there are more than 20,000
words which are irregular. The spelling of all of these is absorbed
by sight through reading.
- The child who enjoys writing will spell better and better
as he reads, if he is not worried by having every spelling mistake
corrected. The teacher can notice if he repeatedly misspells
the same word. She would then write the word clearly on a piece
of paper and give it to him with a light comment such as: "This
is for you. When you want to write this word, spell it this way."
She does not mention his mistakes.
- The teacher can discuss punctuation with the children. On
the whole, she does not correct punctuation mistakes in the children's
writings. This again is mainly learned by eye, through much reading.
- The use of capital letters can be explained to the children.
Again, reading helps to make them use them correctly.
- It is absolutely essential that we supply children with very
good books. The children develop a taste for good literature
at a young age if they are given only the best literature that