Do Learning Styles Affect Spelling?

SpellingI have two daughters – one who’s mainly a visual learner and one who’s mainly an auditory learner. Oddly enough, they are both good spellers. I often wondered at this, since auditory learners typically find spelling rather challenging when relying solely on visual material. This caused me to think back and ask myself what we did while learning to read and spell. I thought I’d share my findings with you.

Phonics PathwaysIn the beginning, we used a phonics approach to reading, using Phonics Pathways: by Delores Hiskes. This book works well with both learning styles as it can be both very auditory and very visual. Words are introduced by first learning sounds of vowels and consonants, then slowly combining vowel and consonant pairs, then finally sounding out three letter words. Bob BooksI used Phonics Pathways in conjunction with Bob Books – soon we were out of the reading gate. What does this have to do with spelling? Everything. One sets the foundation for the other.

We also read aloud – a lot. What was happening here was a reinforcement of words – both phonetic and visual, since both girls would sit beside me and they would occasionally both follow the text with their eyes. I also had them read aloud – daily. Short excerpts at first, then progressing to longer ones. This is a great way to catch consistent errors. Reading Bob BooksWhat I noticed immediately was that my auditory learner would often skip lines, or insert or delete occasional words. In order to correct this, I insisted she use a bookmark to conceal the forthcoming lines. This eventually corrected the problem, but I had to help her train her eyes to stay focused on the text. One day when I noticed my auditory learner was struggling when sounding out the occasional vocabulary word, we went back and used the latter part of our phonics primer to reinforce particular digraphs and diphthongs. Again, this corrected the problem.

Auditory ReaderAnother tool that is especially helpful for auditory learners is listening to a story on tape or CD while following along with the text. This helped in leaps and bounds. Lastly, I have always used the same spelling program – Spelling Workout. Spelling LessonThis program has phonics as it’s foundation and expands on all the early skills learned while reading and writing. It has also been highly effective with my visual learner. All this and more is available to you in The Well Trained Mind – which, even if you don’t follow a classical approach to homeschooling, is a tremendous resource for stuff like this.

What kind of learner do you have? What have you found helpful in order to advance or teach spelling skills?



Filed under Books, Curriculum, Language Arts, Learning

3 responses to “Do Learning Styles Affect Spelling?

  1. Here’s how visual learners have problems with spelling. They often see a word and know what it means whether it’s spelled right or not. If it looks right, they won’t see if it’s mispelled. Often visual learners see groups of words and know what they mean so they miss spelling mistakes.

    Intersting, the best way to proof any document is to read it outloud. Audio learners are better at that.

  2. That’s just confirmation that I need to get this book. I’ve read several different blogs praising this book this week. What a coincidence! My twins attended ps for kindergarten and half of first grade. I wish they had began phonics at that age. Our school system believes in the sight word method which I’m not a fan. I’m use to the old school way so I will keep Phonics Pathways in mind for my youngest. Thanks for sharing.

    • Carol

      I believe the best approach is both. Phonics are absolutely necessary because they decode our language for us. I teach secondary French and I noticed that when our school started phonics, my students were better spellers and better able to understand the concept of sounding things out. However, as you know, the English language is very elusive at times, as it borrows from several language systems. Sight words are necessary because those words don’t follow any phonics rules. There are limitations to all approaches and there’s room for all approaches so they can complement each other.

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