Kids’ spelling is nothing if not inventive, but sometimes, the funny way kids spell things is a great reminder to parents and teachers that the English language is rather, for lack of a better word, irregular, in its spelling. The very frequent irregularities in English spelling can perplex and baffle students who already struggle to read, much less work out all the hidden rules lying beneath English spelling, such as: ‘I’ before ‘e’, except after ‘c’. However, learning the spelling of words can help kids become better readers.
Researchers have found that spelling and reading are linked in the brain. Both rely on the same mental idea or representation of a word. Knowing how a word is spelled just cements the word further into the mind, making it readily available for the fluent reading of a text. The ability to read words by sight, automatically, relies on the ability to link letters, and letter combinations, to the sounds that they make. And the correct linking of sounds to letters not only helps kids read better, but kids’ spelling improves as well.
It is a well-known fact that writing and reading are closely linked, that writing skills relate to reading skills, and an improvement in one is also an improvement in the other. And conversely, struggles in one area, either writing or reading, can relate to struggles with the other. Better spellers make better writers, and better writers make better readers. Knowing the spelling of words means there’s more time to figure out how to use the word well, how to compose their words to the best effect, and how to organise their thoughts logically.
Spelling is significant, not just in the academic life of students, but also in innumerable daily tasks, such as looking up names in a phonebook, organising and filing alphabetically, and writing notes, letters and emails that other people can read. All such activities, and more, are directly affected by the ability to correctly spell words. Even the use of spell-check won’t save a poor speller. More often than not spell check merely offers a list of possible correctly spelled words. It remains the task of the good speller to choose the correct one for the right place in the text.
Reading Eggs offers a suite of educational lessons and learning activities that get kids’ reading and spelling off to a great start. For kids who already know how to read, the activities help bolster and improve their reading, writing and spelling skills.
Researchers have found that there are five key literacy skills that any literacy programme worth its salt should help young readers develop, they are:
And perhaps not surprisingly, all of these skills have some relation to and affect on kids’ spelling.
The earliest lessons in the Reading Eggs programme place a great deal of emphasis on phonemic awareness. These lessons engage children in activities that immerse children in language—rich, lyrical, metrical language play such as nursery rhymes and playing with sound to develop phonemic awareness in the youngest learners. While the activities may appear to be merely fun and games, such language play and listening skills develops the awareness that words can be broken down into smaller units of sound, called phonemes. Awareness of phonemes then links to the understanding of how sounds relate to individual letters or letter groups. And it is this kind of understanding that helps kids to learn how to read, write and spell words, and retain that knowledge for use later on.
The literacy skill of fluency is further honed and developed by sight-word recognition. Reading Eggs uses a range of learning activities that help build a bank of high-frequency sight words that kids can learn and remember. Sight word recognition helps kids become fluent readers; the more words kids have in their long-term memory banks, the more they’ll be able to read and understand texts. But also, knowledge of sight words helps kids with their spelling. Knowing how to differentiate between words that may sound the same, but spelled differently, helps kids with their reading comprehension. And remembering how to spell a word is very helpful when it comes to writing.
Reading Eggs also offers access to a Skills Bank that helps kids work on specific areas of Vocabulary and Spelling. The Skills Bank lessons help build vocabulary by including sentence activities where students must be able to understand the meaning of each word, as well as spell it correctly, in order to correctly complete the activity. These linked activities, that build skills in vocabulary and spelling, help kids not only with the task of spelling, but also increasing their knowledge of language, in order to become better readers.
All of the activities have something to offer kids and their spelling, and perhaps, not surprisingly, these same activities help kids to become more fluent readers who understand what they are reading.
Reading Eggs is great for my preschool-aged child who is just learning to read and for my six-year-old fluent reader. My younger child is engaged by the lessons and also motivated by the games and rewards. A surprise benefit is that his computer and keyboard skills are improving. My six-year-old uses Reading Eggs for her spelling and basic grammar. She is working on her sequencing and creative writing skills by composing stories on Reading Eggs. Even the games develop reading, math and logic skills.
- Jennifer Ware
A big thank you to the people at Reading Eggs. My students thoroughly enjoy using the programme regularly through the week as part of their literacy activities. It has strengthened their reading abilities in an independent fashion.
- Jordan Tate, Gladesville Primary School