NYC Half Marathon 2017

NYC Half Marathon 2017

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Writing Strategies Book GOAL 8: CONVENTIONS

I am so excited to be taking part in an on line book discussion.  We are discussing The Writing Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers by Jennifer Serravallo ,  organized by Kelly Malloy.  This book is divided into ten goals and each week another blogger is discussing the goal for the week.  
You can find previous posts here:

Writing Strategies Goal 8: Conventions Spelling and Letter Formation 

Why this goal is important?

According to Jen Serravallo, we teach students to consider purpose and audience as they write, so it stands to reason that someday someone will read their work.  Daily reading and interaction with language will expose them to and equip them with a larger vocabulary of words they can spell conventionally.  This will help them feel more comfortable applying and generalizing spelling rules (spelling by analogy) and will help fine-tune their sense of 'it doesn't look right" when they write a word.  

How do I know if this goal is right for my students?

Always consider completing a spelling inventory with your students to see what they need help with as a speller.  Simply looking their writing will also give you a glimpse into what they know and what they still need support with as writers.   Be mindful to not introduce too-complex spelling strategies too soon.  Keep in mind the developmental stage children are in as writers and teach them with their zone of approximal development.  As teachers, we do not want to squash their creativity and ability to write fluidly. 

Strategy 8.2 Talk Like a Turtle

Jen Serravallo includes a simple poster to enhance this age-old strategy that is a visual masterpiece.  It is so simple and gets the point across for our beginning spellers.  Like most of the strategies in this book and The Reading Strategies book, she includes visuals that are straightforward and easy to replicate.  In this strategy, students are reminded to say it s-l-o-w-l-y in order to hear all of the sounds.

Strategy 8.12 Chin Drops

This is a trustworthy strategy for teaching your students.  Put a flat hand under your chin, palm down, and say the word you're trying to spell.  Each time your chin drops is a new syllable.  Go back and say the first syllable.  Write the syllable, making sure there is at least one vowel or y in each syllable.  I have found as a first-grade teacher, the rule of there is a vowel or y in each syllable so important to teach your writers.  I constantly ingrained this mantra into my teaching of spelling to help the students ensure that they have included enough letters in longer words.  

Strategy  8.18 Turn to Spell-Check

Welcome to the 21st Century!  After students have written their pieces consider having them use a computer or a device to check their spelling.  Identify the words on your page that don't look right.  Type the words into a computer document and check the spelling.  

Just like The Reading Strategies Book this new resource The Writing Strategies Book by Jen Serravallo is just as easy to use.  It is a great resource for every classroom teacher!


  1. Congrats on your new blog. I don't have a copy of the book yet. Maybe I'll steal it from Mike or Chris. Thanks for your hard work to help those of us on the front line.

  2. Thank you so much for joining in our book study! Isn't the book amazing? I love that you included how important it is not to focus on just the spelling, but on the writer!