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October 29, 2018

Dear Parents,

I am so excited to have your child in my 6th grade class this year. I wanted to take a minute to
explain how your child will be learning spelling this year. If you have any questions or concerns, please
feel free to contact me.
In recent years the current research based approach to teaching spelling has changed. In the past
the focus was on student memorization of a list of words. Research has shown us that this is not the most
effective way to teach spelling to students. While your student will still have a weekly set of words the
focus will not be on memorization for a test, but rather on meaningful activities and writing to help students
explore the English language. The weekly word lists will come from reading we are doing in social studies,
science or our read aloud book as well as the 6th grade no excuse spelling words. Students will be assessed
through a weekly test on Friday, as well as ongoing assessment through their writing and small group.
Students move through stages of spelling understanding as they progress through their school
years. My goal is to help each student move towards the next stage of understanding. In order to do this
effectively I have chosen to incorporate word study into my classroom language arts program. Word study
is a problem-solving approach to look at words. Students will look for patterns in words, letter sound
relationships, prefixes, affixes, and Greek and Latin root words depending on what stage of spelling they
are in.
During our language arts time the students will be moving through centers in a small group. These
centers will consist of reading, writing, and word study activities as well as small group activities with the
teacher. During word study students will be guided through the process and will be able to discover their
own generalizations or rules that apply to many of our words in the English language.
As a parent you can help your student study the words by asking them to explain patterns from
their list, other words that have similar spelling pattern, endings, looking for smaller words within the
word, etc. This can be done with any new word that your child may encounter. You can also help by
making sure your child has independent reading time at home or read aloud to your child. As you read
aloud you can discuss new words and help your child explore word study at home as well. I look forward to
a great partnership as we help your child become a proficient communicator.

Thank you,

Stephanie Powell