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Analyse spelling

errors

Why the strategy is important


Children with a history of chronic conductive hearing loss have difficulty in
developing accurate representations of sounds and words. The effects of these
difficulties can be seen in the spelling errors children make. A number of common
patterns of error can be identified. These patterns should be explicitly addressed
through the use of teaching approaches which focus on repairing and re-educating
the childs phonological awareness for each sound. Taking the time to look carefully
at each childs work in order to identify consistent patterns of error will allow you to
plan teaching which will address the individual needs of the child.

Common patterns of spelling error


made by children with chronic
conductive hearing loss
Developmental immaturities in sound development and
phonologicalawareness
Children with chronic conductive hearing loss often have trouble learning to
pronounce some sounds. By the time they begin school, the speech of these
children may show only minor problems but underlying problems may still exist in
discriminating and manipulating these sounds in spelling and reading. This means
they have poor phonological awareness for these sounds.

Problem sounds
Some sounds cause particular difficulty for children with a history of conductive
hearing loss, and there are also English sounds which are difficult for children
whose first language is an Indigenous language or dialect. These sounds have been
discussed in detail in Strategy 4. To remind you, the groups of sounds which are likely
to cause difficulty are:

Intervention Strategies

1. voiced/voiceless sounds. These are the pairs of sounds which differ only in
whether or not the vocal cords are vibrating. They are: /p/ /b/; /t/ /d/; /k/
/g/; /f/ - /v/; /th/ (as in thin) /th/ (as in that); /s/ /z/; /ch/ /j/.
2. fricatives. These are sounds which are made with a continuous, vibrating air
stream. The sounds are: /f/ - /v/; /th/ (as in thin) /th/ (as in that); /s/ /z/; /h/;/
sh/. They are difficult for many Aboriginal children because indigenous languages
dont use these sounds. Learning to produce them means that children have
to learn a completely new set of sounds. These are also sounds which are
particularly difficult to hear when hearing is affected by a conductive hearing
loss. You will notice that these sounds are also included in the voiced-voiceless
sounds list, so it is clear that there are a number of reasons why they are
particularly difficult for Aboriginal children. The sound /h/ is an interesting case
in Kriol and Aboriginal English /h/ doesnt appear on some words where speakers
of Standard Australian English would expect to hear it (e.g. orse for horse), but
may appear on words which, for Standard Australian English speaker, begin with
a vowel (e.g. happle for apple).

Vowels
Indigenous children have difficulty in spelling the vowels of English for a number of
reasons. Indigenous languages include three main vowels, but Standard Australian
English, Kriol and Aboriginal English have many more vowels. In addition to this,
vowel length (whether the vowel is long or short) does not change meaning in most
Aboriginal languages, but is very important in English particularly in coding or
writing. Generally speaking, the differences between vowels are slight. Discriminating
these slight differences is likely to be very difficult for children with a history
of chronic conductive hearing loss. The following types of spelling errors may
bepresent.
1. use of a short vowel in place of a long vowel.
[ Note that what sometimes appears to be the use of a short vowel in place of
a long vowel (e.g. plad for played) may, in fact, indicate poor knowledge of
spelling conventions. In this case, the spelling error may be due to the child using
the letter name to represent the sound. ]
2. omission of vowels; and
3. inaccurate vowel representation.
This is most likely to affect the vowels which are similar in Standard Australian
English, but which dont occur in Indigenous languages. This includes pairs such as /i/
(hit) - /e/ (bed); /a/ (cap) - /u/ (cup).

Omissions
Children with a history of conductive hearing loss may find it difficult to hear parts
of words. This difficulty will affect those parts of words which are less obvious,
or produced with less emphasis than other parts of the word. In spelling, this will
be reflected in a tendency to omit some parts of words. You can expect to see the
effects in omission of:
1. unstressed syllables the syllables in multisyllabic words which have least
emphasis (eg, the first syllable in banana, the second syllable in dinosaur);
2. sounds in clusters (blends) one consonant in a group of consonants (eg. the /s/
in stop); and
3. word end consonants the last consonant in a word (eg the /g/ in dog).

Poor phonological awareness skills are associated with a history of conductive


hearing loss. This makes it difficult for children to develop understanding of the
relationships between sounds and letters. In spelling, this will be reflected in spelling
attempts which do not represent each sound in the word (e.g. spelling attempts
may not include the vowel, or may not include a representation of all the consonant
sounds in the word).

Analyse spelling errors

Poor knowledge of relationships between sounds and letters

Poor knowledge of spelling conventions


Alphabetic scripts (such as that used in spelling Standard Australian English,
Aboriginal languages, dialect or Kriol) represent sounds using letters and
combinations of letters in conventional ways. In order to become skilled spellers in
whichever language they are encoding, children need to develop an understanding of
the conventions used in that code. Lack of knowledge of these conventions will result
in the child making incorrect spelling choices to represent particular sounds.

Intervention Strategies

In an attempt to cope with the complexities of spelling, children with a history of


chronic conductive hearing loss may develop an over-reliance on visual coding. That
is, they may depend on remembering what the word looks like in order to spell it.
The success of this strategy is limited by memory, and by the need to make finer and
finer distinctions between visual patterns. When the reading and spelling vocabulary
is small, reliance on visual coding is possible forms such as cat and dog can be
distinguished on the basis of their shape alone. However, as the vocabulary increases,
visual discrimination becomes more difficult forms such as bog and dog are, in
visual terms, more similar than different. Explicit teaching of the sound structure of
words; the way this relates to writing; and the spelling conventions appropriate to the
language which is to be encoded will reduce this reliance on visual coding.

A framework for
analysis and teaching
Careful analysis of spelling errors evident in childrens work may reveal patterns of
error. It is important that you look for frequently occurring error types, not single
instances of error. Be aware also that more than one error pattern may be evident
in a single word. For example, a child who writes sep for sleep demonstrates two
error patterns the omission of a consonant from a consonant cluster, and poor
knowledge of spelling conventions.

Analyse spelling errors

The common error patterns will provide you with a basis for your teaching, at either
a small group (if a number of children show the same pattern) or individual level. The
common error patterns, examples of these, and suggested actions are shown below.
You will notice that the suggested activities focus on developing knowledge of, and
the ability to produce the sounds themselves, and on explicitly linking those sounds
to the written system. That is, the ideas and types of activities we have discussed
in Strategy 4 and Strategy 5. You will find many activities which could be used in
Strategies 4 and 5 - and you are encouraged to develop more!

Common spelling error analysis


Error pattern

Examples

Action

Developmental
immaturities in
sound development
and phonological
awareness

/t/ substituted for /k/


pat for pack

Production

/s/ substituted for /sh/


sell for shell
/d/ substituted for /th/
dat for that
/f/ substituted for /th/
frot for throat

Clarify production, focus on developing


understanding of the way the sound is produced
(e.g. t = tongue tip on upper teeth ridge). Use
cues outlined in Sound Production, Strategy 4.
Practice
Practice accurate production of sounds:

Use rapid naming cards. Make cards with the


target sound at the beginning, end and in the
/l/ substituted for /y/ yeg
middle of words.
for reg
/w/ substituted for /r/
wet for red

Generate word lists for oral word drills.


Discrimination

Develop childrens ability to discriminate target


sounds in words.
Make up lists of words with the target sound
in all word positions (ie beginning, end,
middle). Children can hold up a sound card or
run to a nominated spot when they hear the
targetsound.
Use magnetic letters to spell out nonsense
words sounded out by the teacher e.g. lak;
mep. Make sure you include the target sound.
Code
Use the magnetic letters or letter cards to
spell out nonsense words, repair and reflect
onerrors.
Children identify words in magazines (National
Geographic are really useful) that have the
target sound at the beginning, end, middle of
the word. Then have them sound the word out
providing assistance with difficult patterns.
Use naturally occurring opportunities to talk
about spelling conventions for example, if
looking for words beginning with the sound /
sh/, children will need to look for the letter
combination sh.

Intervention Strategies

Using oral word drill list, sound words out and


have the children negotiate spelling for each
word. Use a large piece of butchers paper.
Children may take a turn or one child may
scribe for the group.

Common spelling error analysis


Error pattern

Examples

Action

Problem sounds

/d/ substituted for /th/


bruda for brother

Follow the same sequence of actions for errors


involving any of these problem sounds. You must
first identify the target sound, and the way the
child is representing the sound, then focus on:

/s/ substituted for /sh/


sop for shop
/s/ substituted for /ch/
luns for lunch
/d/ substituted for /t/
hid for hit
/g/ substituted for /k/
digl for tickle
/b/ substituted for /p/
berbl for purple
/h/ omitted or added
orse for horse hapl for
apple

Production
Clarify production of the target sound. Develop
knowledge of placement of tongue and lips, the
way the airstream is used and whether or not
the vocal cords are vibrating. Use cues outlined
in Consonant Production, Strategy 4.
Practice
word lists, oral repetition and rapid naming of
pictures or objects. For all activities, remember
to include the target sound at the beginning of
words, at the end of words and in the middle
ofwords.
Contrast
Practise saying word pairs which contrast the
target sound with the childs error sound, or
with similar sounds. For example, for the child
who is omitting the sound / h/, practice target
words with and without the /h/ sound (eg,
contrast hat and at).
When working with voiced / voiceless pairs,
teach cues to indicate voiced (fingers on
voicebox) and voiceless (hand in front of
mouth to feel air). Children should alternate
production of voiced / voiceless sounds and
word pairs. This will be easiest with sounds
which can be drawn out (/th/ (thin) /th/ (that);
/f/ - /v/; /s/ - /z/).
Discriminate
develop a list of words with the target sound
in the initial position, and a list which includes
these words, and distracter words (which begin
with a different sound). Read the list aloud, and
challenge children to put up their hands when
they hear a word with the targetsound.
(Continued overleaf)

Analyse spelling errors

/f/ substituted for /th/


frot for throat

Common spelling error analysis


Error pattern

Examples

Action

Problem sounds

/d/ substituted for /th/


bruda for brother

(Continued from previous page)

/f/ substituted for /th/


frot for throat

Discuss ways the target sound is represented


in print (eg the sound /k/ may be represented
using the letters c, k, ck).

/s/ substituted for /sh/


sop for shop

Code

Children look through print books to find


words that contain the letters discussed. Take
/s/ substituted for /ch/
advantage of naturally occurring opportunities
luns for lunch
to talk about spelling exceptions (for example,
when the letter c represents the sound /s/ as
/d/ substituted for /t/ hid
is the case for the word circus), or the use of
for hit
letters in digraphs (as is the case for the letter
/g/ substituted for /k/
h in ch, sh, th).
digl for tickle
Think of as many words beginning with the
/b/ substituted for /p/
berbl for purple

Intervention Strategies

/h/ omitted or added


orse for horse hapl for
apple

target sound as you can, or use a dictionary to


find new and unusual words. Generate a list
which the children practice saying, segmenting
and writing. Negotiate the spelling of these
words as a group around one large piece of
butchers paper.

Common spelling error analysis


Error pattern

Examples

Action

Vowels

bat for about

Production

cll for kill

Clarify production of vowels. Develop


knowledge of placement of tongue and lips.
Say the sound by itself, and in short words.
Use cues and information outlined in Vowel
Production, Strategy 4.

fan for fun


peg for pig
sad for said

Practice
Use word lists, oral repetition and rapid
naming of pictures or objects. Vowel sounds
are most common within words, but you
should also include words which have the
target vowel at the beginning and at the end
where possible.
Rhyming words will contain the same vowel
sound - generate a list of words that sound the
same or make up nonsense words or rhymes
for children to practise saying. Read rhyming
books. (Dr Suess books are great!)
Contrast
Practise saying word pairs which contrast
similar vowels (eg bat bet; sit set; hit
heat). Use pictures or drawings, and ask the
children name the picture you point to. Use
one pair at a time.
Discriminate
From your rapid naming pack, choose pictures
of pairs of words which are different only
because of the vowel (eg pip pipe; tap
top; cap cup). Using one pair at a time, ask
the children to point to the word you say.
Vary the game by blu-tacking cards to different
windows and asking the children to stand next
to the one you say.
Code
Develop a list of words which include problem
vowels. Children practice saying, segmenting
and writing these words. Take advantage
of naturally occurring opportunities to talk
about different ways of representing the same
vowelsounds.

Analyse spelling errors

rafest for roughest

Common spelling error analysis


Error pattern

Examples

Action

Omissions

bat for about

Determine which part of the word has been


omitted, and choose your starting action: If
an unstressed syllable has been deleted then
practice breaking words into syllables. If one
member of a consonant cluster has been deleted
then practice saying the words with consonant
clusters very slowly, being careful to produce
each sound clearly. If an end consonant has been
deleted then contrast words with and without
end consonants (e.g. go goat; pie pipe;
how house).

sep for sleep


do for dog

Code
Develop lists of words which have more than
one syllable, consonant clusters (blends) or
end consonants.
Work with children to say, segment and write
the words, making sure that each syllable and
each sound is represented.
If working with multisyllabic words, segment
syllables first, then sounds within each syllable.
You could represent these parts separately on
your paper or the blackboard. For example,
you could represent syllables using boxes.

then put divisions within the boxes to


represent the number of sounds

write in the letters needed.

b ou

Finally, write the word as it would appear on


the page.

about

Intervention Strategies

Take naturally occurring opportunities to talk


about unfamiliar or unusual spelling choices.

Common spelling error analysis


Error pattern

Examples

Action

Poor knowledge
of relationship
between sounds
and letters.

cll for kill


peg for pig
sad for said

These error patterns are addressed through


a focus on segmenting sounds in words,
and linking the sounds explicitly to their
representations the letters used to spell them
in particular words. This explicit knowledge is
directly targeted in the Code section discussed
under each of the previous error patterns.

pesos for pieces


plad for played
rafest for roughest

Extend knowledge of spelling conventions


by collecting lists of words that use the same
letter combinations to represent the same
sounds. Dont be tricked by spelling patterns
though, make sure you focus on the sounds.
For example, if working with tough, do include
rough and enough, but not cough, through
orbrought

Remember...

Analyse spelling errors

to focus on spelling knowledge as well as error patterns. The examples used in


this section show considerable evidence of spelling knowledge. What strengths
can you identify?