Chrstmas Spirit

Chrstmas Spirit
My wife and kids having a little holiday fun

Monday, January 10, 2011

Inventive Spelling

Happy Monday to all of you.  Today's education blog is going to give you another inside look to what is going on in some schools around the country.  I believe when parents are informed- children will benefit so let's dive in.

D U C Dat? (Did you see that)  In a nutshell that is your first lesson in a practice known as inventive spelling.  A trend that seems to be growing every year are the growing number of high school students who can't read or write on grade level.  There are several reasons leading to this problem but I believe you can look at inventive spelling as one of the factors.
I love this inventive spelling
I still haven't figured this out.

 Wut r u talkin abowt?  (What are you talking about)  I'm talking about kids in school who write assignments for their teachers based on how the words sound to them as opposed to the proper spelling. Instead of being corrected by these educators, they are praised for their effort and creativity. 

The reason this concept is so important for parents to know is so you can have an awareness to what goes on in some schools.  When I was a teacher, spelling wasn't emphasized as being important.  As a parent, that statement should concern you.  I did my best to teach students how to spell properly because I felt strongly about it; but not because spelling was a requirement defined in the core content.  

The alternative means of teaching spelling is called foniks (phonics).  Some may shudder as you read the "p" word (f word if you are an inventive speller).  At the heart of it, phonics has been the best method I have seen for children to learn how to write.  Let me put it another way. Although children have shown me different styles of learning over the years, I have never seen a child who was able to write on grade level who had not learned basic phonetic principles.

There's a reason cat is spelled c-a-t.  While I admit there are lots of words that aren't spelled the way they sound, it's important to know the rulz (rules) and learn over time when the rules do not apply.  Though it's a lengthy process, 13 years of education (more if you count pre-school) is easily enough time to work out the kinks.

Inventive spelling , to me, is cute to read from a kindergarten or even a 1st grade student.  Though I didn't let the errors go unchecked, I did appreciate the students' effort during my time in the classroom.  Writing can be a difficult subject to teach.  It takes a lot of time and patience  It baffles me though how any grade (above K or 1st) would buy into inventive spelling.

Please remember the primary point of writing for anyone is to communicate on paper.  If the reader can't understand what the writer is trying to communicate, then the writing is, in effect, worthless. Let us fast forward a few years ahead.  If a child can't spell correctly, what type of college would you expect that person to attend or which job could you expect them to land?

Here's another way of looking at it.  When was the last time you did something incorrectly, stuck with the same plan, and got it right without changing anything? Inventive spelling counts on the fact that although the word is spelled incorrectly now, it will work itself out over time.  It is a theory I have never understood. 
 Group of children in a primary school in Paris

There are plenty of schools who will pass students on from year to year even if the children can't spell.  Therefore, you have two choices as a parent.  Either trust that the school is right (making me wrong) or take what I am saying seriously and work with your kids on how to spell. You can easily do this by looking at classwork and reading carefully what your children are writing.  This can also be accomplished by making sure all homework assignments are written properly.  Rest assured, I have made more than one kid erase a word and spell it correctly.  None of them were scarred for life.

For those who would like a little more information, here is a link from the National Right to Read Foundation that I hope will help. 

This Wednesday, I will be back with my behavior blog but until then ... Hve a grate da! (Have a great day)     


  1. Incredible post. This is one of the things that drives me crazy about my sons school. I make sure everything that leaves this house is spelled correctly. I can't stop what the teachers let him do in school but I can make sure he's learning it correctly when I check his work!

  2. Nice post. I agree with you. That is something that bothers me too.

  3. THANK you for stopping by, follwoing you now too@
    look forward to learing from you.

  4. In my house, we call this "spelling phonetically". My husband does it. I really encourage proper spelling for my boys and I love words so I am a nut about it. Great write! Work itself out over time? Huh. Teaching is so much different now than it was when I was coming up. It sounds more like Lazy teachers rather than inventive spelling.

  5. My kids school does this too, I'm kinda in the middle. While I liek how they try their best to spell I just want to correct them. I've left it be, and in the end they learn how to spell. The idea is to get them to try first,correct later. You know? As in, do your best, even if it's wrong, you've finished. Then they work on doing it correctly. I do the same at home. I have my oldest do his work the best way he can, then we go over it to correct it one by one. I've found he knows how to sound things out, just sometimes mistakes a few letters. I say as long as you are showing the kids how they correct it, it wouldn't be a problem. Those that are left to spell it wrong and NOT correct it will have troubles.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Following back!

  6. for severely dyslexic kids, phonetics is better at the end of the spelling learning process. at least with my dyslexic kids. I find learning word roots to be very helpful for spelling(esp for bigger words)

    Inventive Spelling is not much different from Text Talk.

    thanks for stopping by my blog. all the boys had a GREAT TIME! (we don't have many girls in our homeschool group right now- odd)

  7. Very good info. Echoing what Kimberly said, inventive spelling is just like a text message, where you improvise your spelling to accomodate for time.

    I am a deep believer in spelling correctly.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I will definitely be coming back here, you have such a deep knowledge of childhood education, my lil girl needs that.


  8. Thanks for stopping by Keeping Up With The Rheinlander's

  9. Hi There, Thankyou for stopping by my Blog. Love yours, very informative. I look forward to reading more x

  10. As a high school teacher, I see terrible spelling all the time and always wonder how they got that far with such poor spelling. Sometimes, the spelling is even close to being phonetically correct. It amazes me.

    Nice blog you have. I am a follower! Keep up the good work

  11. First thank you so much for stopping by my blog and following. Secondly, I could not agree more. Another blogger friend of mine had a similar post today discussing the 'chat text' they use today and how irritating it is on the eye and ear. When kids are asked they say oh it's shorter to spell it that way. I have seen many a child who could not converse in written form and some in spoken words due to inventive spelling. It scares me to think of what they will do when they are older and looking for a job.

  12. Did I read that right, high school? What a disservice to the students. The "real" world will not praise them for their creativity. The students will find themselves with out jobs or opportunities to succeed! How sad. Thanks for the post. Great information. I'm your newest follower!

  13. following you through winter friends wednesday blog hop. as a former teacher/turned mommy i really look forward to reading your posts!

  14. I remember that Instant Messenger kind of started the trend and then texting. Shortened versions of words became the norm, not the correct spelling. It really is sad. Following you back from MBC!

  15. WOW- someone who agrees with me...

    I did home daycare for about 10 years. I made up a game with poster board or something. I made a word, say:

    "At"...then I made letters C,H,F,M and other letters that would make a new word out of "at".

    I also had words such as "ig" "ot", (not actual words, but will change when the first letter does)

    When my daughter went to kindergarten, I worked in a different school with K-2 graders- they kept journals that they wrote in everyday and could spell the words however they wanted. I asked a teacher about the theory of that and I'm not so sure she was clear on it...

    Anyway, my daughter was reading right from the get-go and has always been excellent in spelling.....

    Some of the other kids (even now in 8th grade) just aren't getting it.

    I found it sad that a girl I knew who was in 8th grade at the time and seemed pretty normal for the most part (how normal are teens?)was doing English homework with sentences like:

    Bird is to sky as....

    Work my daughter did in like 2nd grade and understood!

    I'm still not sure I understand what incentive spelling is :-)

    I have a few blogs:

    Blogging Biz Mom

    Working at Home Advice

    Come On Home

  16. Thanks for following my blog. Please visit again and join my Work Week Blog Hop! Every week from Monday to Sunday =)

    Hope to see you there!

    I am your newest follower


  17. I just wanted to say thanks for stopping by my blog! I have to agree that the inventive spelling thing can be a little annoying, but I think it CAN be helpful for small children when learning to read. I can only speak for my little one when I say it does help her to read back to me the funny little stories she is so fond of writing! Following you now too!

  18. AMEN sister! I was an English teacher and taught Kindergarten. I'm a big fan of spelling words correctly. Even in 8th grade, I had spelling tests for the students because I feel strongly they need to know how to spell correctly. I always told them, I may not know how to spell everything correctly, but I'm not to smart to get a dictionary out and look it up! I think a lot of parents feel it is the teacher's responsibility, not theirs, me on the other hand feels that a parent is their child's first teacher!
    Anyway, I'm now following your blog from I hope you'll come by and check it out sometime. BJ

  19. What a timely reminder! I homeschool my 3 teenagers (and a 4th - a girlfriend's daughter) who are all in high school (2 in 9th and 2 in 11th). My extra child has difficulty with spelling and can't see the reason to know "if there is spellcheck." I'm also concerned about the texting language creeping into academic writing. I believe this will be an ongoing problem.

    Thanks for the follow at At Season for All Things. I'm your newest follower. ~ Ellen

  20. To add to this, children need to know when something is formal. It's not proper to write a paper to the teacher as if one is texting him or her, or emailing them. I homeschoool my kids. This is a problem with some of the homeschooled kids. "Unbelievable." I enjoyed your post....

  21. Hey Clayton!

    I absolutely LOVE this post! I cannot STAND the way things are done now. When I was in school (which was not so very long ago) I lost points on assignments and such for spelling mistakes. And I've got news for those who think it doesn't matter... Wait till your kid is in college. Let me tell you, it does. At least at Kaplan university it does. In every one of our grading rubrics there is a grade aside for spelling.
    I think a huge part of it comes from the amount of texting kids do today. There are 8 year olds with cell phones now!
    In the world of texting, it can be fun, and sometimes a lot more convenient to spell words wrong. When I text, I spell just about everything out. Aside from occasionally leaving out a "g" at the end of an "ing" word (so if I wrote "leaving" it would have been "leavin") there are words that I spell "inventively" because they are what I call "Lizzie lingo".
    "inventive spelling" helps me personalize what I'm saying so that it still sounds like me instead of a robot.
    I say "prolly" instead of probably, because it's shorter and because sometimes (depending on who I'm having a conversation with) that's how I say probably in real life.
    Again, sometimes it's faster to take out a few consonants and vowels. Some people don't have unlimited texting so they shorten their words (such as "r u cmn 2 my house l8r?") rather than sending several messages to get a "msg" across. (I used to have to shorten my words in texts and it drove my friends nuts because they had to think about what the message said. Some said it was like a word game sometimes haha)
    That, I understand. The problem lies with the excessive amount of texting that goes on in today's world. And then kids and teenagers eventually have a hard time making the switch from the world of texting to the real world. Believe me, I'm not saying that's the only cause of this ever-growing problem.
    The teachers and schools lack of care, or whatever you wish to call it, does not help matters.

    Anyway! I'm done rambling now! Glad to know I'm not the only one who has noticed this going on in today's society.

    I hope you and your family are doing well!