This year with the OLNA (Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment) becoming compulsory for all year 10 students in Western Australia, I started examining NAPLAN (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) a little closer.
The reason being is that there is a pre-qualification, which exempts students from sitting the corresponding ONLA component. Students who achieve Band 8 or higher in any of the three components of reading, writing and numeracy in their Year 9 NAPLAN do not have to sit the corresponding OLNA component.
So I sat my son down to try a Year 3 NAPLAN style test and figured I would start with the language convention section, because surely how difficult can spelling be… I appreciated that grammar and punctuation might be a bit trickier, but still….
… and that is “wen” the fun and games began.
My son can read, and read quite well, but as I discovered reading and spelling are not the same thing. His first word in the test he had to correct was “wen”, which he has been told a couple of times how it is spelt, but looking at the word he couldn’t tell how it should be written. After all “when” it is written as “wen” we can guess what it means.
So off I went to good old trusty “Google” to discover how I could teach this to my son, but the “wh” sound doesn’t have a saying or rule you can learn. You just have to memorise the words. So I kept looking at the various resources on the internet and honestly I didn’t find anything suitable for his age and his abilities.
I needed something that had repetition, that wasn’t below his skill and reading level, but also something that he would find challenging and interesting to help him learn. In the end I decided to create a spelling work unit, which would do all that and be able to be used as revision for my daughter who is in Year 5.
In addition, inspired by our Pastors’ preaching, I decided to use scripture for the sentences in this spelling unit, which means that we are addressing the spelling issue with the added benefit of reiterating Scripture.
I am quite excited about this and even from his initial spelling test (where he got most of them wrong), you can see that he is starting to grasp this concept and starting to memorise these words. In his second test, his recall of the correct spelling of these words has already improved.
So below is a link to the first of my first spelling units. I hope you find it as useful as I have.