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Using Competition to Improve Spelling in Schools

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Most children begin to learn to spell a few words at home before they enter school. And while being able to spell is not necessarily a reflection of a child’s intelligence, it’s a vital skill for their academic life and life after school.

Bad spelling follows a student into key stage 2 and secondary school. Misspelled words are distracting for teachers and can make work look worse than it is. Problems with spelling can also alert teachers to the presence of a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia.

Using competition to improve spelling, can be a great way shake things up in a school. The US, Australia and India run nationwide spelling bees that are broadcast on TV to show their best spellers doing their thing.

We think competition can be a revolutionary way of improving spelling in a school. Here are our reasons to make use of competitions in your school:

Motivate hard to motivate children: Some children need competition to drive them forward. They want the attention that comes with competition. Who wouldn’t want to be the best speller in their class, their year or even their school? Who hasn’t started a game of hangman and seen students who normally are disengaged suddently perk up and become active, positive influencers in class.

Healthy competition teaches: Students need to appreciate when others win and accept the results of a fair competition. Sportsmanship is a great skill to learn.

Perform in Public: We’ve seen schools using Spelling with Emile to run whole school competitions with the final held in assemblies. The confidence students gain from going on stage to do something that they are good at cannot be undervalued, particularly if it includes students not normally invited to present at assemblies.

Easy to Implement: Spelling Bees are easy to implement on a school basis, particularly if you use Spelling with Emile. With Spelling with Emile you can print out leader boards showing most improved, most effort or highest scorers.

Final Thoughts….I think Spelling Competitions are a great way to drive improvement in a school. They can be fun and give something to celebrate in assembly. The students to benefit most are usually those not used to excelling in academic areas.  

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Assessment Frameworks & Levels

National Curriculum Levels were brought for primary schools in 2014. In Years 2 and 6, children take SATs exams and given a “level” in Reading,

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