Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grade 4 | Digital Options
Differentiated Spelling Instruction is an assessment-based, grade level spelling program built upon conventional spelling rules and spelling patterns. Plus, the program includes all the resources teachers need to re-teach the previous grade level spelling patterns that your students have not yet mastered through individualized instruction. Developing an efficient weekly spelling plan that differentiates instruction for all of your students is a challenging task for even the best veteran teacher, but help has arrived! There is no better spelling program for your grade level students, GATE students, special ed, ESL/ELD, and below grade level students. Perfect for RtI.
What exactly is digital about this program? In addition to the printable PDF program, the grade-level and remedial spelling worksheets are also provided as fillable PDFs; the Diagnostic Spelling Assessment is an audio file and can be automatically graded in Google Forms; and the assessment results may be uploaded to the Diagnostic Spelling Assessment Mastery Matrix in Google Sheets to individualize instruction with the remedial spelling pattern worksheets. Ideal for in-class and distance (virtual) learning.
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"I work with a large ELL population at my school and was not happy with the weekly spelling tests, etc. Through my research in best practices, I know that spelling patterns and word study are so important at this age group. However, I just couldn't find anything out there that combines the two. We have just adopted RtI at my school and your spelling matrix is a great tool for documentation. The grade level spelling program and remediation are perfect for my students."
FOR GRADE LEVEL INSTRUCTION: The program includes weekly spelling lists built upon developmental spelling patterns. Students learn to apply the rules of spelling rather than just memorizing arbitrary word lists.
Diagnostic: Students take a weekly spelling pattern pretest and self-correct. Students create personal spelling lists from the words missed on their pretest, spelling errors identified in their writing, spelling errors from their previous spelling posttests, and from the supplemental resources provided in the appendix.
The teacher explains the weekly spelling pattern. Students complete the spelling pattern word sort and self-correct in class. Students study their personal spelling lists.
Formative: Students take the posttest (once a week or bi-weekly) in pairs, alternating dictations.
Summative: After seven weeks of instruction, students take a summative assessment of the seven previous spelling patterns.
FOR INDIVIDUALIZED SPELLING PATTERNS INSTRUCTION: Students take the Diagnostic Spelling Assessment* (a comprehensive spelling patterns assessment... not a random sample qualitative spelling inventory), using the audio file included in the program. The teacher corrects the test and records spelling pattern deficits on the progress monitoring matrix.
Students complete targeted worksheets corresponding to the spelling patterns they missed on the diagnostic assessment. Each worksheet explains the spelling pattern, provides examples, includes a spelling sort, has a word jumble, rhyme, and/or book search, and includes a short formative assessment to determine whether or not the student has mastered the spelling pattern. Students self-correct the worksheet to learn from their mistakes and mini-conference with the teacher, who corrects the formative assessment to determine mastery. If mastered, the teacher marks as such on the progress monitoring matrix.
Now that's effective differentiated instruction! Your students can catch up, while they keep up with grade level spelling instruction.
The program is easy to teach. We even provide two quick YouTube training videos to ensure your success!
Spelling Teaching Resources
- How to Study Spelling Words
- Spelling Proofreading Strategies for Stories and Essays
- Syllable Rules
- Accent Rules
- Heart Words
- The 450 Most Frequently Used Words
- The 100 Most Often Misspelled Words
- The 70 Most Commonly Confused Words
- Eight Great Spelling Rules, Memory Songs, and Raps (with Mp3 links)
- Spelling Review Games
- Formative and Summative Spelling Assessment Mastery Matrices
Spelling Pattern Lessons
1. Short Vowels
2. Long Vowel a
3. Long Vowel e
4. Long Vowel i
5. Long Vowel o
6. Long Vowel u
7. Silent Final e
8. Vowel Diphthongs /aw/
9. Vowel Diphthongs “oo”
10. Vowel Diphthongs /oi/, /ow/
11. Consonant Digraphs
12. r- controlled Vowels
14. Non-phonetic Words
15. Consonant Doubling
17. i before e
18. Hard /c/, Soft /c/
19. Hard /g/, Soft /g/
20. “s” and “es” Plurals
21. /x/,/ch/,/sh/,/z/,/f/ Plurals
22. Irregular Plurals
24. Silent Letters
26. Greek and Latin Prefixes
27. Greek and Latin Roots
28. Greek and Latin Suffixes
Why Other Spelling Programs are Ineffective and Why Differentiated Spelling Instruction (DSI) Makes Sense
- Others use “themed” spelling word lists, grouping words by such themes as animals, months, holidays, or colors.
- DSI uses developmental spelling patterns for its word lists, providing sequential, research-based orthographic instruction.
- Others use practice worksheets that focus on rote memorization, such as word searches, fill-in the-blanks, or crossword puzzles.
- DSI provides spelling sorts/word parts worksheets to help students practice recognition and application of the spelling patterns.
- Others de-emphasize structural analysis.
- DSI emphasizes word study: syllables, accents, morphemes, inflections, spelling rules, pronunciation, and derivational influences.
- Others do not integrate vocabulary instruction.
- DSI integrates homonyms, common Greek and Latin prefixes, roots, and suffixes, and other linguistic influences.
- Others minimize the reading-spelling connection.
- DSI reinforces the decoding-encoding connection with an instructional scope and sequence aligned with systematic explicit phonics instruction. The DSI program includes five years of seamless spelling instruction (Grades 4 through 8)—perfect for grade-level classes, combination classes, and flexible homeschool instruction.
- Others ignore spelling irregularities.
- DSI includes “Exceptions” throughout the program, providing problem-solving strategies that build student (and teacher) confidence in the English orthographic spelling system.
- Others use spelling tests solely as summative assessments.
- DSI uses spelling tests as diagnostic and formative instruments to help teachers differentiate instruction. Recording matrices enable teachers to keep track of mastered and un-mastered spelling patterns for each student—simple record-keeping and minimal paperwork.
- Others provide one-size-fits-all instruction.
- DSI provides the resources for true differentiated instruction from remedial to grade-level to accelerated spellers.
- Others use visual-only spelling strategies.
- DSI uses multi-sensory instructional practice, including songs, raps, games and phonological awareness activities—perfect for students with auditory processing deficits and a “must” for effective Response to Intervention (RtI) instruction.
- Others have no writing-spelling connection.
- DSI requires students to develop weekly personal spelling lists that include commonly misspelled words from their own writing.
- Others provide no review activities for unit spelling tests.
- DSI provides ample review activities, including Word Jumbles for each sound-spelling pattern, web-based songs and raps, and entertaining games.
- Others take either inordinate teacher preparation or require too much class time.
- DSI is “teacher-friendly” and requires only minimal prep time. And the flexible DSI resources will not eat up excessive instructional minutes.
- Others are overly expensive and require consumable workbooks.
- DSI requires only one worksheet each lesson, per student—truly economical.
Each of the Differentiated Spelling Instruction grade-level programs is a "slice" of the comprehensive Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary. Grades 4–8 programs. Check out the comprehensive CCSS Grades 4−8 Spelling Scope and Sequence to see how these programs will help you coordinate seamless, Standards-based spelling instruction at your school.
The FREE Diagnostic Spelling Assessment is provided in the hopes that teachers will purchase the Differentiated Spelling Instruction program to teach to each test item.
*DIAGNOSTIC SPELLING ASSESSMENT
The 102 item assessment includes the most common previous grade-level spelling patterns.
- Grade 4: K-3 spelling patterns (#s 1-64)
- Grade 5: K-4 spelling patterns (#s 1-79)
- Grade 6: K-5 spelling patterns (#s 1-89)
- Grade 7: K-6 spelling patterns(#s 1-98)
- Grade 8: K-7 spelling patterns (#s 1-102)
The test items are grouped by spelling patterns e.g., the four long /i/ spellings, to make posttest analysis simple. All spelling words are multi-syllabic to prevent students from identifying the words by “sight spellings” and to require recognition of the sound-spelling patterns within the context of syllables.
Choose the Diagnostic Spelling Assessment format which best suits your needs:
1. Paper Only: Teacher dictates the number of test items assigned to the grade levels, following the written administrative protocol. Students take the test on binder paper. Teacher corrects assessments according to directions and records spelling deficits on the Spelling Patterns Assessment Mastery Matrix.
2. Audio and Paper: Teacher plays the 22:32 “slow speed” Diagnostic Spelling Assessment audio file for grades 4, 5, and 6 students or the 17:26 “fast speed” Diagnostic Spelling Assessment audio file for grades 7 and 8 students. The audio file includes all administrative directions. Students take the test on binder paper. Teacher corrects assessments according to directions and records spelling deficits on the Spelling Patterns Assessment Mastery Matrix.
3. Google Forms: Teacher shares either the Diagnostic Spelling Assessment Google Form with the 22:32 “slow speed” for grades 4, 5, and 6 students or the form with the “fast speed” for grades 7 and 8 students. Note that incorrect spellings with be accompanied by the Google red squiggly line indicating a spelling error. Students may be tempted to right click the word and select the correct spelling; however, if the teacher tells the students the purpose of the test and directs them not to self-correct, students will generally follow instructions. Telling students that they will receive the same amount of credit whether the spelling is accurate or not, and using the “fast speed” audio also helps students avoid the temptation of cheating. Teacher uploads the students’ Google Forms into the Spelling Patterns Assessment Mastery Matrix Google Sheets.
Resources: Diagnostic Spelling Assessment Google Form with the 22:32 “slow speed” audio file for grades 4, 5, and 6 students or the Diagnostic Spelling Assessment Google Form with the 17:26 “fast speed” audio file for grades 7 and 8 students; Spelling Patterns Assessment Mastery Matrix Google Sheets.
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