Both reading and spelling require you to connect letters to speech sounds and to develop a visual memory of the letters in words. However when you read, you see the letters and have to work out what the word is. You do the reverse when you spell – you know what the word is you want to write and have to work out the letters.
Thus reading and spelling are different skills. Reading uses the skill of recognition, while spelling requires recall. You can compare it to phone numbers. Spelling is similar to when you try to remember a phone number, where you have to recall each number in its right position. Reading is when you check your phone log and recognise the number you were trying to remember.
Since reading and spelling require different skills, you can be a good reader but a poor speller. If so, the ALTA Spelling Programme is for you. The Spelling Programme incorporates and expands on the spelling strategies and rules taught in Levels 2 and 3 and provides more spelling practice than the Level 2 and 3 full literacy programme.
ALTA starts the Spelling Programme in October. This gives potential spelling students who are new to ALTA the opportunity to spend four weeks in Level 2 to check that Spelling Programme is their best ALTA match. Current Level 2 students may go to ALTA Spelling if they are interested in working specifically on spelling and do not need the Standard English grammar and essay writing skills of ALTA Level 3.
A spelling certificate is awarded on successful completion of the Spelling Programme. Students may join the Reading Circle from the start of Term 3 if interested in structured reading practice to maintain their reading skills.
Duration: 2 terms, from the start of October to Easter. Sessions are two hours, twice weekly.
Costs: Students have one workbook ($50) and are required to buy the ALTA Spelling Dictionary if they have not come from Level 2.
ALTA offers the Spelling programme free at several venues in Trinidad in Port of Spain, Arima and Chaguanas.
ALTA Spelling Programme is taught by experienced ALTA literacy tutors who have taught Level 2 and preferably Level 3. Spelling tutors are volunteers like all other ALTA tutors and do an extra training day in late September.