I actually never thought of how I learned to spell. Since English is not my first language, learning to spell was almost like a puzzle at the beginning. I began to wonder how children first acquire this ability.
I had the privilege of speaking with Dr. Francie Matthews, an educator in schools and private practice who has established her reputation as a leader and child/parent advocate in the field of learning differences. As she described how important orthographic awareness is for learning to spell, I decided to read more about it, starting with this definition from Merriam-Webster: Orthography is the art of writing words with the proper letters according to standard usage. While searching for some articles on the Internet, I found a website created by Applied Learning Processes, a learning center providing research-based diagnosis and treatment for learning difficulties experienced by children, adolescents and adults. The following paragraph helped me understand the process of learning to spell clearly.
“Targeted instruction that stimulates the brain’s ability to visualize the letter symbols in words can improve a student’s reading and spelling. Applied Learning Processes uses methods based on Seeing Stars®*, developed by Nanci Bell, to develop the brain’s ability to image, hold and retain letter symbols in words. This approach starts with the most basic pieces of words, individual letters, and systematically strengthens the student’s orthographic processing for reading and spelling single syllable words, as well as complex multi-syllable words.”
To put it more simply, that is one reason why I love LETTERSWIRL. I can relax, forget that I am targeting anything, and just have fun playing.