spell checking in activities

Carol Farlow Lerche cafl at msbit.com
Sat Dec 6 11:56:48 EST 2008

Please provide the pointers if you would be so kind.  I don't think spell
checkers of either type are likely to be used for early writers.  When young
children are taught to write (when learning to write and read) in US
classrooms, they are encouraged not to obsess over the spelling of each
word.  Rather they are concentrating on writing their ideas, making
compositions that have good structure and descriptions, using sight words
and other words they already know and sounding out words they don't know and
writing these phonetic "creative spellings".  Gradually more and more
correct spellings are taught as their literacy improves.

English has too many words that don't follow rules, so if writing were
deferred until spelling of each word could be perfect, young children would
not be able to write substantive compositions until later grades.  No doubt
other languages are taught differently.  I think a spell checker would be
counterproductive in an early literacy context because when spell checkers
offer alternative words the misspelling needs to be close to the correct
word.  I suggest that the OLPC educational consultants be queried as to
their advice about the best form for a spell checker.

On Sat, Dec 6, 2008 at 2:46 AM, Bastien <bastienguerry at googlemail.com>wrote:

> S Page <info at skierpage.com> writes:
> > Bastien wrote:
> >> When designing a spell-checker, we should keep in mind that the
> >> spell-checker should always suggest correct spellings, and never
> >> underline errors.
> >
> > I disagree.  I think the standard "red dots" spell checking that AbiWord
> > and Firefox do is extremely useful.
> It might seem extremely useful for adults who already know how to spell
> words, who only do typos.  But it is misleading for children who *learn*
> how to spell; it exposes their memory do the wrong spelling.  If you're
> interested, I will try to provide pointers to some cognitive researches.
> Regards,
> --
>  Bastien
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