There is a current tendency to treat spelling as not very important in the overall scheme of learning to read and write effectively. A common urban myth still circulating on the Internet provides a paragraph of jumbled words. This then goes on to suggest that we can all still read the pragraph despite the misspellings of most words! Susan Jones in a paper on Spelling City http://www.spellingcity.com/importance-of-spelling.html raises this, and points out that fluent readers are the ones able to read this text. She goes on to discuss in some detail the value of being able to spell as an aid to reading effectively.
Yes spelling is important!
Learning the spellings of common words, so that they are as well known to you as your times tables should be in maths, will help you read faster and more effectively. Most people who read slowly find it harder to understand what they read, and also often find reading boring.
One of the ways to improve your reading and your spelling is to be sure you have learned what are called the “sight words”. There are around 200 of these and they make up 50 to 70 percent of any general text that you are likely to read (or write). So you can see that if you learn their spellings and meanings it will make you a much more effective reader and writer.
Becoming a good “speller”
The main problem in becoming a good speller is that spelling isn’t easy – you need to work at it to become good! Just as, if you play sport you have to work at the building blocks for example practising/staying fit and learning the rules. However much natural talent you have in sport it is no use to you unless you practise/stay fit and know the rules of the game – the same is true of spelling. There are rules, but of course as you probably already know, all English spelling “rules” have words which “break the rule”.
So the bottom line is that you have to work at spelling – find some strategies that work for you and help you to learn the spellings of particular words. This is especially important for “sight words” and those words that sound the same but have different meanings.
This post is about texts and how we can understand their “messages” better if we consider more than just the words that are used.
You will find that there are lots of different types of text. When we look at written texts it is useful to look at the features and think about why those particular features have been used. The use of different features can make texts more fit for their purpose by affecting how we understand them.
The Prezi shown below on “Text features and purposes” is a reminder of some important text features and text purposes.
Here we are talking about written texts but visual texts, that we will look at in the next section, share features and purposes with written texts.
You will see lots of other descriptions that apply to texts the Wordle below includes some of them.
Visual texts are those that rely a lot on images to get their message across. This doesn’t mean they have no words! Some visual texts don’t have any words but many are a blend (mixture) of words and image – the Prezi you have just looked at is one of these. The words don’t have to be written – a video is an audio-visual text.
This Voki is a very simple audio-visual text.
Some texts may be wholly visual – these include symbols, icons and logos. However most visual texts are a mixture of text and images (graphics).
Visual texts have some special features that can help us understand their meaning (the message they are sending).
Layout – the position, size, colour and shape of both text and images on the page. Checkout this student project at LinkQuest for a look at colour and its effects on us.
Images – what sort of images are included: symbols, pictures, other graphics. What feelings do they give us.
Text – what font is used, where is the text placed, what do the words say, what feelings do the words give us.
When we look at a visual text we often have an instant “feeling” about the meaning, but we need to be able to put this into words so that we can describe the effect the text might have on other people.
The words used in any text and they way the text looks – including visuals is very important to understanding the text. Knowing some of the “tricks” that creators use in their texts helps YOU to understand what the creator is trying to say. It also helps YOU not to be “fooled” by the creator who is secretly trying to make us think the same way as they do.
Another useful thing about understanding how the words and look of a text make YOU feel is that this helps YOU to create your own texts that can make people feel how YOU want them to feel.