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School of Education Inquiry Projects

Elizabeth Altschule

Subject: MS

Seeing Spelling: The Implementation of Visual Spelling Strategies in a Sixth Grade Classroom

Research Questions:
What effect will the introduction, study and practice of visual and reflective spelling strategies have on the weekly spelling test scores of my challenged spellers?
• What effect will the introduction of visual and reflective spelling strategies have on my target students’ spelling strategy usage for weekly spelling test study and personal writing assignments?

Research Activities:
This study examined the spelling strategy use of 21 culturally and linguistically diverse students in a rural, low socioeconomic sixth grade classroom in northern California. There were five target students. I assessed the effects of implementing visual spelling study practice for 20 minutes a day over fourteen consecutive school days. Visual and reflective spelling strategies were introduced and practiced through peer cooperation and the use of “flip folders.” Students worked together to visualize images of correctly spelled words in order to memorize correct spellings. I implemented this technique to determine if visual spelling strategies would improve my students’ spelling test scores and my target students’ abilities to identify misspelled words in personal writing. Weekly spelling test scores were used as pre-, during and post-intervention assessments. Pre- and post- spelling surveys assessed students’ spelling study habits before and after the intervention. Observational data were collected early in the research and during the intervention. Student interviews were conducted with target students to assess their use of spelling strategies in context. Conclusions indicated that focused, constructive time spent on spelling study in the classroom positively affected student spelling test scores. Additionally, consistent use of visual spelling strategies increased student ability to identify misspelled words in personal writing samples. Minimal change was seen in student spelling study habits.

Grade: 6

Research Methods:
Teacher-made assessment; Interviews; Survey-Language Use

Curriculum Areas:
ESL/ELL

Instructional Approaches:
Spelling strategies; Literacy; Collaboration/Teaming


The preparatory work for setting up the MA/Credential Teacher Research database was supported in part by the UC Language Minority Research Institute