Authors: Patricia Carson, Reesa Sorin.
Article: Not Just Playing With Clay: Symbol Mastery for Spelling and Word Comprehension.
Publication: International Journal of Learner Diversities and Identities Volume 24, Issue 1,pp. 17-27 2016 | DOI: 10.18848/2327-0128/CGP/v24i01/17-27
Abstract: A number of students experience difficulty with the retention and recognition of basic spelling words. These students, who are often dyslexic and/or Three Dimensional Visual Thinkers (3DVT), are usually taught spelling through mainstream pedagogical practices, such as phonics and rote learning; practices which are generally unsuccessful with this group (Treiman 1992; Lee 2010; Ambrose and Cheong 2011).
Symbol Mastery (Davis and Braun 1994) is a process where students work with clay to create a visual interpretation of a word’s meaning and then connect it to the word’s spelling and pronunciation. Davis (ibid) proposed that the process of discovering what a word means, and creating an image of the word three-dimensionally, would not
only give ownership of the process to students, but would also be a vehicle through which they could master spelling words.
This paper is based on a small Qualitative Case Study Research Project where the Symbol Mastery program was trialed with four Dyslexic students, in one to one tutorial sessions after completing a specialized program. Data were gathered through pre and post-program interviews with students and parents; researcher observations, artifact collection; as well as pre and post-tutorings spelling tests. Results showed that the program helped with improving spelling scores and increased confidence and willingness to attempt to spell words