Multiple Intelligences
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Multiple Intelligences
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Headline: Practice: Teaching Individual Subjects


We don't believe that spelling should be a major focus of our program's teaching goals, largely because we believe it should be connected with other activities.

Experience has taught us, though, that spelling is a common learner goal and tutor concern. If a learner came into the program asking to work exclusively on spelling, the natural question we would ask would be "spelling what?" When spelling is tied to the learner's life goals and survival needs, it is much more likely to be successful.

There are many different ways people can become better spellers. Research suggests that spelling relies heavily on visual memory. It is true that folks with a strong visual learning ability seem to do well, but not everyone has that strength. Additionally, many people have bad memories about spelling. They vividly recall spelling "bees," poor test scores, and their writing liberally sprinkled with red corrections. Considering all of the reasons that spelling is a challenge, the question we pose is: How can we improve spelling skills?

The following ideas are seeds, the start of many different activities, based on suggestions from tutors and learners. We encourage you to use these ideas as a starting point to generate your own activities. Let us know what works for you, so we can make this site even better!

Remember these general principles when designing your lessons:

  • Spelling is best approached through writing or language experience stories generated by the student, rather than by using a textbook.

  • Use a multiple-intelligence approach to give learners numerous ways to improve their spelling.

  • Try strategies based on learners' goals or needs.

  • The more intelligences that are engaged while teaching a lesson, the more effective the learning. Try to involve at least three in a lesson for the day.

Involving the Intelligences
in Spelling

Language intelligence

Write down words and look up their meanings and histories.

Discover how to change a word to mean the opposite.

Spell out loud.

Language intelligence

Write words vertically.

Write words so their shape makes a picture of the word.

Break words into syllables and write each syllable in a different color.

Language intelligence

To see the connections between words, build word families.

Teach those spelling rules which are the most consistent.

Practice prefixes and suffixes in pattern exercise.

Analyze your writing for errors.

Language intelligence

Use the computer or typewriter--change the type often.

Use stencils to write words.

Trace letters in the air with an extended arm or a flashlight.

Mark up words or text to show stress or spelling patterns.

Language intelligence

Use familiar tunes to memorize the letters to a word.

Use rhymes to remember words, "I'm a friend to the end" or "Miss-iss-ippi."

Language intelligence

Play spelling games. One person starts with a letter, the other adds one until a word is made. The last person to add a letter wins.

Play Scrabble.

Language intelligence

Picture a word in your head. What color is it? Spell it backwards. How many letters are in it?

Make a list of words that are personally important to you. Arrange them by categories or spelling patterns.

Language intelligence

Take urban walks and try to spot spelling words as you walk around.

Practice prefixes and suffixes in pattern exercise.

Investigate roots of words and see how many words you can find that are based on the same root.



Section: Practice Sidebar: Engaging the intelligencesSidebar: Teaching individual subjectsSidebar: Additional Strategies