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A Supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus Day of Spelling

This morning at Junior School Assembly, boys across Years 4, 5 and 6 competed in the first annual ATC Spelling Competition. In the lead up to the final, I was most impressed with the results that a number of boys achieved in Round One.

Congratulations go to the following finalists:

Year 4

Joe Drane
Trent Semiao
Will Parkinson
Tom Keogh
Matthew Nesbitt
Jamie Collins
Michael Neumann
Elliot Smart

Year 5

Adrian Archila
Hugh Bradshaw
Ethan Draheim
Matt Collins
Azino Emu
Dylan Brockhurst
Oscar Plant
Jack Sadler

Year 6

Jamieson Parkin
Santi Ferrando
Joshua Cannane
Joshua Sullivan
Alex Della Mattea
Tom Nugent
Sam Pandy

Strong Competition

Each final proved to be great tussle between the finalists and it took many words before we were finally able to arrive at a champion. A sign of how good our students are at spelling.

Congratulations to our Champions:

Year 4: Matthew Nesbitt
Year 5: Adrian Archila
Year 6: Alex Della Mattea

The Advantages of Spelling

Below is an extract from Susan Jones, a reading specialist who published a research article discussing “how spelling improves read and writing fluency and how it improves vocabulary and comprehension. After reading the extract below, I hope it encourages parents to discuss with their son the importance of becoming a good speller
Those of us who can spell reasonably well take for granted the role that spelling plays in daily life. Filing alphabetically; looking up words in a dictionary or thesaurus; recognizing the right choice from the possibilities presented by a spell checker; writing notes that others can read —are all dependent on spelling. In a literate society, conventional spelling is expected and anything beyond a few small errors is equated with ignorance and incompetence. In fact, employment applications are doomed for failure if the applicant has presented a poorly written or poorly spelled application. The importance of spelling therefore is very real for all our boys.

But what about spell check? Since the advent of word processing and spell checkers, some educators have argued that spelling instruction is unnecessary. It’s true that spell checkers work reasonably well for those of us who can spell reasonably well. Spell checkers however do not catch all errors. Students who are poor spellers do not produce the close approximations of target words necessary for the spell checker to suggest the right word. In fact, one study reported that spell checkers usually catch just 30 to 80 percent of misspellings overall (partly because they miss errors like here vs. hear), and that spell checkers identified the target word from the misspellings of students with learning disabilities only 53 percent of the time.

The Link Between Spelling and Writing

Research also bears out a strong relationship between spelling and writing: Writers who must think too hard about how to spell use up valuable cognitive resources needed for higher level aspects of composition. Even more than reading, writing is a mental juggling act that depends on automatic deployment of basic skills such as handwriting, spelling, grammar, and punctuation so that the writer can keep track of such concerns as topic, organization, word choice, and audience needs. Poor spellers may restrict what they write to words they can spell, with inevitable loss of verbal power, or they may lose track of their thoughts when they get stuck trying to spell a word.

At ATC, we believe that spelling is an important skill to develop with teachers continually working with boys to develop and improve across all year levels in the Junior School. I look forward to the Spelling Competition in 2017!! Boys, the time to start preparing is…. NOW!

Practice makes perfect.” or is that “Practise makes perfect”?

Mr Michael Stewart, Head of Junior School