This project was carried out by a Year Four and Five Teacher from a small primary school, whose main interest was in the field of raising standards for pupils with Additional Learning Needs. The aim of this research project was to devise and implement a spelling intervention using the elements of repetition and visualisation to improve the standard of spelling for the low achievers in a class of nine year old pupils.
The focus group consisted of six learners, five male and one female, two of whom achieved a standardised score of below 90 on their Single Word Spelling Test prior to the intervention. After conducting an extensive literature review it became clear that the ‘assign and test’ method that was currently being used within the author’s school was ineffective (Heron et al, 1991). The teacher therefore designed an intervention that would combine features of the memory, as spelling is considered a visual memory skill (Bruck and Waters, 1988; Cook, 1997; O’Sullivan 2000) and visualisation based on the ‘look, cover, write, check’ strategy.
The data gathered was both quantitative and qualitative and took the form of assessment results, textual analysis of everyday written work, pupil drawings, pupil voice from the focus group sessions and from focus group interviews. The results showed that there was no significant relationship between the spelling intervention and an increase in attainment in spelling scores, with only two of the group demonstrating significant progress. The analysis did highlight a relationship between the children’s attitudes to learning and their attainment. The two children who made significant progress also demonstrated a positive attitude throughout the course of the intervention, possibly showing the benefit of positive attitudes to learning.
©Sarah Brian 2016