Bill Boyd has, once more, presented me with something to think about in his recent post on spelling.

I have actually used the misspelled text described in the video to illustrate to non-specialist teachers that spelling is not as crucial as some people may believe.

Actually in my experience, most teachers are fairly relaxed about poor spelling as long as the student presents learning legibly and intelligently. They understand and teach the distinction between formal and informal writing. They try to ensure that their students are aware of the importance of a well presented piece of writing in certain circumstances. They are tolerant of ‘text-speak’, the use of images and symbols and other personal abbreviations when notes are being constructed.

However, numerous youngsters themselves seem to be very hung up on getting it right first time. This always strikes me as odd as I am sure the message that perfection is the only option is not conveyed by any but the most hidebound of teachers.

Spelling is of course the activity which causes most difficulty for learners with dyslexia and for them it is even more paramount that they are enabled to get their message across without any inhibiting factors.

Making the distinction between composition and transcription is the most effective strategy. This reduces the overload on the memory which occurs when a writer is trying to use interesting ideas and content while remembering the secretarial skills of spelling and punctuation. This is well nigh impossible for most dyslexics.

So, planning a piece of writing using key concepts and much imagery and colour is the 1st step. Then you might be able to get some poor schmuck to scribe your brilliant ideas for you if dictating it straight into an MP3 or video file or making a presentation  is not an option.

Word retrieval, fluency, of processing, difficulties with sequencing and directionality are at the heart of the problem for learners with dyslexia. Poor spelling is a mere casualty of the different wiring system in the brain. But all contribute to huge amounts of stress if not recognised and catered for.

A good speller can see the trees; a learner with dyslexia can see the wood.

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