SUCCESS: Inventor of the North Coast Regional Spelling Strategy, Carol McMahon at Rosebank Public School, with students, from l
SUCCESS: Inventor of the North Coast Regional Spelling Strategy, Carol McMahon at Rosebank Public School, with students, from l

Reading fun into learning

By HELEN JACK helen.jack@northernstar.com.au A NEW way to learn spelling is engaging primary school age students across the Far North Coast so much they are forgetting to go to lunch. North Coast spelling project co-ordinator Carol McMahon, who co-wrote the strategy with Johanna Bruce, said students were having so much fun playing the spelling games, some similar to scrabble, they wanted to keep on playing. She said individuals and class needs were matched with specific strategies and learning games. Called the North Coast Region Spelling Strategy, students participating in the strategy are being taught to spell using games and exercises. But the real difference is that spelling is being taught within each subject and not in isolation. So even during sport or science, teachers will use different spelling strategies so students can relate spelling to what they are learning. "It's the whole ideas of getting students to practise spelling in every key learning area ? spelling has sometimes been taught in a very isolated way," said Ms McMahon. Ms McMahon said strategies and games could be played at home to reinforce their learning. "It could be using a breakfast cereal packet, a school newsletter or a TV guide to look for that particular spelling focus to improve understanding and knowledge," she said. "Johanna and I took three weeks to write the strategy. "I am passionate about early childhood learning." Rosebank Public School is trialling the program and principal Richard Fuller said there had been an appreciable change in students' spelling levels. "The strategy was a real eye-opener," he said.



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