“Where should the big belly in the letter ‘b’ be? I’m confused!”
Students who experienced academic struggles due to unclear acquisition of alphabets when first learning English as their first or second language joined the psycho-educational programs at our School of Life – Active Learning Center. Younger children especially get easily confused by certain alphabets that look similar to one another, or misspell words due to the sound vs. spelling irregularities in the English language. They lose confidence due to uncertainty in spelling and as they get older, naturally lose interest in learning altogether. However, simply having them memorize spellings will only reduce their motivation to learn, which results in ignoring psycho-educational methods suitable for each child.
Clinicians and Active Learning Specialists at the Tree Group developed various strategies that are individualized for each student’s needs and strengths, such as visualization and storytelling. Consequently, they were able to retain the spellings more effectively even after some time has passed. For instance, there was one student who misspelled every word that contained ‘b’ and ‘d’ because he was confused whether the curve goes left or right. However, after acquiring the “bed strategy (visualizing the letters into a bed shape to show that ‘b’ comes before ‘d’),” he began to spell words with ‘b’ and ‘d’ correctly.
Additionally, a trilingual student (including English) got into a habit of connecting spellings of other languages with the irregularities in English, and eventually came to a point where he was unable to write even simple sentences in English without a teacher’s help. In this case, the clinicians first encouraged the student to clearly distinct consonants from vowels, and then turned the spellings into images to help him easily memorize spellings to maximize his relative strength in visuo-conceptual ability. For example, every time the student misspelled “rain” as “raen,” the clinicians connected the alphabet “i” with the image of rain falling on the ground and helped him acquire the image itself. As a result, he not only began to spell “rain” correctly, but also acquired words with “-ai-” a lot easier from then on.
As previously demonstrated, students were able to gain confidence in the English language much better when they acquired them using individualized strategies through psycho-educational assessment, rather than having them simply memorize the spellings.
“I Can write well without making spelling mistakes!”