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Spelling in fifth grade

Language Arts | Writing 


Senior Member
We use Wonders and the spelling lists with each unit. Our school is in a discussion about keeping spelling, especially in 4th and 5th grades. I think I would prefer to do more vocabulary instruction. What is being used at your schools?


Senior Member
I teach 5th. We switched from spelling to vocabulary instruction two years ago. I actually switched back to spelling (words their way) because my current class is so terrible at spelling and don't have the spelling patterns down at all.

I think for me, it really depends on how well spelling, phonics, and phonemic awareness is taught in the younger grades. Do they have the general spelling patterns down? Is their spelling correct on most common sight words? Can they apply spelling patterns to new words?


Senior Member
It needs to be both!

You teach spelling patterns, and choose words they need to know with that pattern, including content vocabulary. Students still need to practice spelling patterns in 5th grade, including Greek and Latin roots. That will help them with reading, as well as spelling and vocabulary. It shouldn't be an "either/or" question. Combine both disciplines.


Full Member
Words Their Way

We use Words Their Way and we hate it! Maybe it's helpful to the younger grades but for the upper grades it's a waste of time. I supplement with Rebecca Sitton which I love! But vocabulary is the most important for this grade.


Senior Member
Rebecca Sitton

I'm so glad to see that someone else uses Rebecca Sitton. It is a wonderful program that addresses so much - synonyms, antonyms, homophones, homographs, figurative language, etc., and of course - spelling patterns! All this through engaging activities. Sitton does not use a list or words to memorize and then quickly forget. It truly teaches patterns which students incorporate through spelling checks of everyday writing. There is a list of no excuse words (most commonly used words in English language) for each grade level. I post them, where students can check their spelling, until one day they don't need to check - they just know! Last year I had a boy who had behavior difficulties. After a spelling lesson one day, he raised his hand (that in itself was a miracle!) and said, "You're a really good spelling teacher. I like this."

Oh, and you should definitely teach BOTH spelling and vocabulary.