Monday, May 21, 2012

How to Spell Plural Nouns

Over the years, I've noticed that kids can't spell. Plain and simple. It started a couple of decades ago, when there was a lack of phonics instruction in primary grades because of education reform. We were told that kids would figure out how to read by just reading a book. I disagreed then, and I still disagree.

The people who thought up this brilliant plan didn't understand that kids have to know the sounds of letters, blends, etc. in order to decode words. Short, long vowel sounds. What sound does "CH" make?
What happens if you put an "E" on the end of HOT? We, who had phonics instruction and were taught spelling rules, know that an "E"added to the end of a CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) word, gives the vowel "O" a long sound. If kids don't know the CVC rules, how are they going to master spelling at a young age?  What about two vowels together? We learned "When two vowels, going walking, the first does the talking".  Isn't this true of the word BOAT?  What vowel do you hear? Right! "O". Any child that isn't taught the "rule" might have no idea of how to pronounce it.  

One year, when I was teaching fifth grade, a boy pronounced "boat" as "BO- AT".  It really didn't shock me because I knew that he had little or no phonics instruction up to fifth grade. That's a perfect example of why we need to stress spelling and pronunciations of words. 

Another year, I was giving a "Back to School" presentation and told the parents that even though we weren't "allowed" to teach phonics, I teach it. I got a HUGE round of applause! One parent told me that she had been frustrated because it wasn't being taught, and she was teaching her daughter, phonics and spelling rules at home, the best she could. 


That's a long story about why I created this "How to Spell Plural Nouns chart and activity!  Why is it free? I'm hoping that MANY teachers download it and use it with their students, then hopefully, future generations will know how to spell!

photo of How to Spell Plural Nouns PDF work page by Teacher Park


16 comments:

  1. I so agree with your post! I have BEGGED to teach spelling and this year, we just made the decision for our grade level to teach spelling next year. I am so excited! Of course, I am already working on spelling activities for next year.

    Cynthia

    2nd Grade Pad

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    1. Cynthia, Isn't it frustrating?? Why should we have to beg to teach something that will make our students better readers, spellers and writers? Over the years I've been teaching "they" keep watering down the curriculum. It's such an injustice. I'm so glad they'll let you teach spelling next year. I loved teaching the word families, rhyming words. The kids loved it AND they learned spelling patterns.
      Thanks so much for your comment. I'm glad there are teachers who feel like I do. :)
      Ruth

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  2. Hi Cynthia! I'm so glad you posted your thoughts about spelling. I sent you an email but I'll reply here too. Great to hear you'll be teaching spelling this coming year! We made up lists of spelling words, many using word families but we also add subject words from math, science and social studies depending on the units that are being studied. Each year the lists are modified. I also do mini lessons when I think there's a need to do so.
    I'm going to visit your blog. :)
    Ruth

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  3. I definitely agree with you, Ruth! I was tutoring a third grade student this year who was struggling in phonics, reading, and comprehension. When I sang the "when two vowels go walking..." jingle to him, he looked at me like I'd grown horns! Schools truly aren't teaching phonics anymore, and I couldn't agree with you more: it's a mistake that they don't! Thanks for creating this product; I can't wait to check it out!

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    1. Hi Mrs. K! You're so right! Kids will struggle as readers if they don't have a good phonics background. I love that little song.. When two vowels go walking.. ".. But isn't it sad that he had no idea what it meant?
      I bet the people who make these decisions about not teaching phonics, etc. have never taught a day in their life. They keep publicizing how low the test scores are in the U.S. Gee, I wonder why? LOL No phonics early on, struggling readers, etc. etc. We should all band together and start our own school! LOL
      Thanks for stopping by and letting me know how you feel about it.. :)
      Ruth

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  5. Mrs. K Thanks so much for sharing this! I just hope there are more teachers like us, who see what's happening to our kids as readers. They have to learn phonics when they're learning to read. Hope you like my freebie!
    Ruth

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    1. Thanks!! Kids really need to know spelling rules which is why I created this :) I love sharing it with other teachers!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  7. I teach First Grade, and I know that my kids need phonics instruction even if those "higher-ups" don't think it's worth the time. The thing that bothered me the most about teaching 4th for the last four years was the people that would say things like "Spelling is only worth 20% of the grade, so I'm not bothering with it. Besides, that's why spellcheck was invented." Really? (I'm going to just leave it at "Really?" because this is one soap box that could be an entire week's worth of blogs on my own page. Ha!Ha! Maybe I'll stand on this soap box later.)

    I am glad to have gotten a position teaching first this year, though. I was almost in 5th, but the principal that hired me said that, based on my interview and portfolio, she thought I would do more for the 1st graders. I'm glad. I liked teaching 4th where I was, but I LOVED my primary kids before I was transferred to 4th.

    Anyway. Thanks for sharing! Come visit me at Floating Through First Grade when you get some time. I'm new to blogging, but I'd love to share my ideas with you too! :)

    -Carrie
    Floating Through First Grade

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    1. Carrie, I've heard the same thing. Only counts as 20%. It makes me sad to think we're doing this to our kids. I remember when they told us that kids would learn to read without phonics.. I was like UH? Are you kidding me? The following year we were told that we couldn't make our kids memorize multiplication facts. And the list goes on and on... When this was happening I was teaching fifth and I decided to keep on teaching phonics no matter what. The parents were sooooo happy! Thanks for stopping by! I'll see you on your blog :)
      Ruth

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    2. I remember when I started teaching... In my methods courses and student teaching experience, all of my lessons that I planned were based on the "discovery method" of learning. Don't get me wrong - discovering and problem solving are AMAZING because it shows the kids that they can do it without me. But once they "discover" why addition works or they "discover" vowel pairs and spelling patterns, the discovery method phase has passed. Once they make the initial discovery, it's time to start memorizing. The end. (Don't tell my college professors that I said that. I'll deny it until the end! Ha!) It really just amazes me that people keep trying to change things in education - people that either have never been in the classroom or haven't set foot in one for decades. Again, that's another one of those soap boxes that I could stand on for days. Ha!Ha! Thanks for stopping by at Floating Through First Grade. I look forward to coming over here often. :)
      -Carrie

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  8. Thanks so much!!! I totally felt the same way when I first entered the profession and realized there weren't any English books like I used. This will go in my students' binders.

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    1. Hi Miss E!! I should have mentioned that in my post about not having English books! When the economy started souring, they decided there was no money to buy English and other textbooks. We asked them how were were supposed to teach and follow the curriculum. They're reply.. "Find materials to cover the curriculum" Grrrrr.. We ended up creating worksheets from scratch which took hours and hours to do.
      I'd better stop or this will turn into a thesis! LOL
      My kids have them in their binders too!
      I just completed a "syllables chart" and activities. I'm on a roll to spread the word that our kids need phonics and spelling rules! :)
      http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Syllables-Chart-and-Student-Worksheets
      Thank you so much for your comment!
      Ruth

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  9. I just downloaded your product and I commented that I couldn't agree with your more. Those of us who have been in the "trenches" for many years can see exactly what has happened. I, too, believe the kiddos we teach need the foundation work regarding phonics, spelling, writing, and reading comprehension.
    Nancy

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    1. Hi Nancy! I'm so glad that you and other teachers agree! I, too, have been teaching many years and have witnessed how they've continued to water down our curricula. It's very frustrating, especially because we know what works. What's that saying? "If it's not broken, why fix it?" Thanks so much for your comment!
      Ruth

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