Angelisi stated the following about the concept of pattern spelling in her research: “Encouraging students to search for certain spelling patterns in words can help them remember the spelling of the word better”, with the idea of patterns here being a reference to rhyming patterns, consonant or vowel clusters, prefixes and suffixes (2000, p. 5). Despite that and numerous other researchers advocating its use as one of the most effective methods around, pattern spelling is still one of the most underestimated teaching techniques around today. As such, you would be forgiven for not having heard of it or using it before.
Pattern spelling is essentially the technique that takes full advantage of the patterns that exist in different words, such as the following according to Westwood:
These words all have specific letter patterns or letter clusters in common. As such, they are linked together to the point at which a student would struggle to spell the others in each group if they have issues with just one of them. Although this is a real problem, it makes life easier for teachers because your job is to make sure that they are aware of the patterns. When the patterns are taught and taken on board, you are fully able to ensure that they do not have difficulties in spelling the rest of the group.
However, with all of the above information, there are many teachers that simply stand in front of a white board with a pointer and get classes full of students of all ages to recite the patterns over and over and over again. This is not effective and will do absolutely nothing to teach your students so avoid this method and focus on more creative teaching methods and exercises, such as those outlined in this module.
Your Lesson Plan
Content – Pattern spelling, the identifying of patterns and using them to teach spelling.
Goals & Objectives – The main goal of this particular lesson is to identify patterns in words that students have difficulties with, help them to decipher and remember the patterns and ensure that all words in the same pattern group are memorable in the future.
Materials & Resources – None
Introduction – Introduce pattern spelling via worksheets that group words together, such as the one included in this module. Explain what pattern spelling is and highlight the common problems with spelling all pattern words in a particular group.
Development – Encourage your students to discuss pattern spelling and identify groups of patterns. Allow this section of the lesson to be interactive, meaning that they can shout out answers as and when necessary. This encourages participation and the development of the concept.
Practice – Choose any one or two exercises from those outlined in the next section to help students to practice the skills that should be taught in this particular module.
Notes – Pattern spelling can be very boring so make sure that you use any tools you have at your disposal to make it a little more fun. Pairing pattern spelling with visual cues is always a good idea. Teaching techniques for this particular area vary but develop your own style and stick to it so that it makes complete sense to your students.
Most pattern spelling teaching methods are on the creative side to ensure that it captures the attention of students. Failing to use such exercises can result in boredom and learning very little so trying the following exercises can get your students off to a good start and reinforce the points you will discuss in the introduction and the progress made by the development stage.
Choose at least two of the following exercises. They need not be time consuming but are easy to pick up:
Choosing any of the above exercises will have a good impact on your students because they will be able to learn through injecting a little fun into their spelling lessons. You will find that, if taught properly, your students will tend to take the lead on this particular module so you can take a back seat and let them learn interactively. Just make sure that they follow your instructions and you will find that pattern spelling teaches itself.