by Vanessa Van Petten
When I spoke to a group of teachers recently, I was asked what advice I could give to educators working with kids and teens today. So, I thought back to the fundamentals, and the biggest fundamental that I think our teens are lacking, but still need, is spelling. Yet, students argue with me that they will never need spelling, that they will always have spell check and text correct. I argue that this is not true.
Here are a few reasons you can use to help kids focus, and improve their spelling:
-In-class writing in High School, College and Grad School
College professors have told me, “I have kids who come in and write the most beautiful essays, but they are so poorly spelled, I have to give them C’s and D’s. When the kids see this, they are devastated and have trouble catching up so late in life. Many of my colleagues now purposefully assign in-class writing assignments to get them to focus on spelling.”
-Notes to Bosses
When I gave a seminar on managing Gen Y’s and Millennials, a boss brought in a note that one of his interns had written. The sentences were riddled with errors — simple errors! He was horrified, and lost a lot of respect for the intern. He asked me, “How could I hire someone who cannot spell definitely?”
The SAT test has a writing section that requires kids to hand write – with no spell check. As a result, teens who take the test need to have basic spelling skills. All too often, however, they don’t realize how many words they are unsure how to spell until the auto-correct is turned off.
-Spell check isn’t always correct
Have you seen some of my posts? I am sure there are spelling errors in this article. Spell check, which we rely upon so heavily, is not always correct — a hard myth to bust with teens.
How Do We Help The Next Generation Spell?
- Turn off auto-correct when they are writing.
- Encourage the use of handwritten notes to each other in your home, such as grocery lists and a white board calendar. Then correct their mistakes.
- If you are a teacher, include more handwritten essays and fill-ins on tests.
- Do writing practice and free-form writing together at home.
- Ask your teen to dictate a note while you drive the car.
- Tell your teens the reasons listed above, so they have incentive to think about improving their spelling.
Vanessa Van Petten is the teen author of the parenting book “You’re Grounded!” She writes a parenting blog along with 12 other teen writers from the kid’s perspective to help parents understand what is actually going on in the mind of kid’s today. Her parenting tips have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Daily News, Fox 5 New York, CBS 4 Miami and much more. Visit her web site at RadicalParenting.com