I'm so excited! I've just had the cover of my book - Teaching Spelling to English Language Learners - designed. And I want to share it with you.
Just one problem - I haven't finished writing the book! But I'm getting there.
Questions I'd like you to ask me...
So what's the book about?
Well, how to teach spelling to people who are learning English. Although it's primarily aimed at teachers of adults and teens, all the principles and most of the activities can be used with, or adapted for, children too. It starts with an examination of English spelling, how 'regular ' and learnable it really is and why some people struggle with it. Then we take a quick look at some research I've done about learners, teachers and materials. All of this helps to inform my approach to teaching spelling. The rest of the book describes this - the methodology and specifically how we can teach spelling strategies and some spelling patterns - particularly those that seem to bug our learners most.
What makes it different from the other spelling books? What spelling books? There aren't many, not for ELT. But mine moves away from a phonics approach - because
a) so much of English isn't phonetically spelt and
b) many English language learners have problems with pronunciation too.
So I deal with multi-sensory and cognitive approaches to spelling. We all learn different things in different ways, so there are loads of very different types of activities for you to use or adapt. The other difference is the focus on strategies. We can't make anyone learn to spell (just as we can't make them learn anything else) but we can show them some ways how.
Why are you writing it?
Guilt! I remember hearing myself tutting over student work and saying"You really must do something about your spelling". They would nod sadly and ask,"How?" and I had no answer. I knew just "read a lot" wasn't very helpful. So I started looking into ways to help them. Then came an MA dissertation. Then getting big and enthusiastic audiences at my presentations about spelling and requests to read the dissertation. So I decided to build on it and include lots of activities and ... here we are - well, nearly.
When will it be out?
Ah, good question! Hopefully, by the end of this year. In time for your Christmas stocking, chilly evenings or lying on the beach (depending which part of the world you are in).
What can we do to help you out?
Well, since you ask, encourage me! Tell me that this is the book you've been waiting for and that I should hurry up and get it finished and you know X number of people who want to buy it. Oh, and get someone to invite me to talk about how to teach spelling. And spread the word. And keep coming back to the blog to see how it's coming along. Thank you very much.
It's my pleasure!
And by the way, do you like the cover? Please leave comments.