I remember being snickered at once (many years ago) by my son’s elementary school teacher when I asked her if the students were given spelling tests.  Yes, I said snickered at, and she kept the goofy smirk on her face as our parent/teacher interview progressed and she squeezed out of her crooked mouth something to the effect – and I paraphrase loosely – well, back in the ancient times when YOU went to school that’s maybe how they did it, but we don’t do things that way anymore.  To which I replied, “and it shows.”  Which was why we were having a discussion about my son (only one of many children in the same boat) having a below grade reading level.

Apparently spelling was too cool for school!

There is a Maclean’s article from back in 2010 that stated Waterloo College was one of only a handful of post-secondary institutions in Canada to require entry students to pass an English language skills exam.  Thirty percent of students were unable to pass that exam.

But you’re right, Miss Snark Teacher, we don’t need archaic spelling tests anymore.

I was driving around town the other day doing some errands when I saw a commercial vehicle drive by.  It was the logo on the van that got me on this topic.  The name used a K instead of a C for the word ‘custom’ – to be cute I suppose.  Take a good look around next time you are out and about.  Not just vehicles, but store names, and more.  What are we teaching our young, impressionable children who don’t get taught spelling in school anymore when we spell things like the following:

Toys (backwards R) Us

Koffee Kafe

Foto Korner

City Sentral

Ok, it’s cute and it’s kitsch, but is it a good idea?  I don’t know.

Then you have people like Penelope Trunk (look her up), going on CNN and professing her expertise as to why children should not bother with spelling, spouting trash like “who needs spelling when there is spellchecker?”  Go ahead, I dare you, read what this… what this… woman has to say.  If it doesn’t make you cringe – it should.

Taking a spelling test and learning how to spell in general, is not for the purpose of being a ‘perfectionist’ as Ms. Trunk would have you believe.

And I can’t shout this one loud enough – READING ALONE WILL NOT MAKE YOU A GOOD SPELLER!!!

Now, run along and read something by someone with a modicum of intelligence.  Here’s a snippet:

“Good use, even mastery, of our complex language does not have to be a thing of the past or reserved for a few. By using the knowledge from years of research and experience and our ever-developing technological tools, we can teach each student to spell well and enable them to read and write fluently. We owe it to our students to give them the skills that are the tools to learning and communication throughout their education and their lives.”

The Importance of Spelling
by Susan Jones, M. Ed.