March 30, 2005
I have a student who has an extremely low reading ability. He had a list of ten spelling words for the week, and that was challenging for him. He could not pass the test on Friday. He, of course, was frustrated, and so was I. His list of words consisted of farm, park, corn, etc. He would switch the 'a' and 'r' in the word 'farm'. I knew this boy loved to draw. One day after practicing his words (and not doing well), I decided to hand him a blank sheet of paper. I asked him to draw a picture of a farm. He drew a tiny picture. I said draw a picture of a park and he did. Draw a picture of corn, etc. His whole demeanor changed. He absolutely loved this and ate it up! After each time he drew a picture, I had him orally spell the word. He got it! He did this for the list of 10 words. I told him that he could use this sheet of little pictures when he takes his spelling test on Friday. Remember: No words were on the paper. We practiced in study hall on Thursday and he missed two. By Friday he received 100%! We were both thrilled. He has already drawn his pictures for next week's list! It was neat to have him motivated. I'm not sure how or why it works, but it did for him. You could modify this with higher functioning students by having them just draw a symbol for their hard words instead of the entire list.