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Should we teach spelling in adult education?

Is spelling an important topic to teach in adult education? In How the English Language is Holding Kids Back, the article sates, "English-speaking children then spend years progressing through different reading levels and mastering the spelling of more and more words. That means it typically takes English-speaking children at least 10 years to become moderately proficient spellers—memorizing about 400 new words per year—and because they forget and have to revise many of the spellings they’ve previously learned, "learning to spell is a never-ending chore."

So, how do you address spelling with students? Do you think that we should focus on spelling in our classrooms? Think about this: The English language has over 200 ways to spell 44 sounds. Knowing that, is spelling instruction important to cover and if so, how do you teach it? 

I'm looking forward to your comments and ideas. 


Kathy Tracey


Leecy's picture
One hundred

Kathy, thanks for asking the question! I'll jump in with my opinion and hope we start a good dialogue on the topic.

More that whether to focus on teaching adults how to spell, I would rather ask the question of when to focus on spelling. Reminds of the question of when to tell kids about sex: when they ask. :)

Should we teach spelling rules and exceptions when students make consistent mistakes? When they ask? In small doses and through games? All of the time? When spelling interferes with communication? Only for common mistakes in spelling words like there, their, they're? Leecy