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What Really Matters in Spelling: Research-Based Strategies and Activities, 1st edition

  • Patricia M. Cunningham

Published by Pearson (February 1st 2011) - Copyright © 2012

1st edition


Based on the active and innovative approach of making words that teachers and their students have grown to love from Pat Cunningham, What Really Matters in Spelling presents teachers in grades kindergarten through eighth grade with a clear approach to what really matters in spelling. Pat reminds teachers how much spelling matters, how complex teaching spelling is, and how critical word walls and reading are to strengthening spelling skills. Her experience as a classroom teacher, researcher, scholar, and innovator gives readers a unique opportunity to learn from the best as Pat identifies the 100 most common words and patterns, and examines ways to develop sophisticated, independent spellers. Paired with Pat's book What Really Matters in Vocabulary, educators have the best tools to help every student become good spellers and communicators.


Written by the authors you know and trust, each of the books in the What Really Matters series offers a succinct presentation of what matters most when teaching different aspects of the reading process. With a thought-provoking, rich presentation, Pat Cunningham, Dick Allington, and others explore complex issues teachers of reading face in today’s classrooms and bring each of the topics to life. These brief and inexpensive books are written in a lively narrative with clear organization, exceptional pedagogy, and special features. Their friendly design and compact size make the books accessible, convenient, and easy-to read.



What Teachers Are Saying... 

"Cunningham explicitly outlines the necessary steps for introducing 100 key words per school year and offers engaging activities for classroom teachers to help all of their students become great spellers.  This is exactly what classroom teachers are looking for: step-by-step spelling instruction that is meaningful and relevant to their students’ needs."

- Shanalee Cannon, K-5 Literacy, Southern Nevada Regional Professional Development Program, N. Las Vegas, NV   


"As a classroom teacher I know first hand how students’ spelling in written work seems to becoming increasingly problematic.  Students often spell words phonetically which are not always spelled correctly.  It seems as if students who continue to misspell these words in their writing do not move forward, as a matter of fact very little progress is made.   I think with [Pat's] approach students will have a better grasp on the tricky word patterns and help them to make a connection to other word patterns rather than just spelling one word and then moving on to the next."

-  Karen Berecsky, Second Grade Teacher, Mill Lake, Monroe, NJ


Table of contents

Chapter One: Spelling Matters

Chapter Two: Building and Using a Classroom Word Wall

Chapter Three: Teaching the 100 Most Common Words and Patterns

Chapter Four: More Common Patterns and Words Including Common Contractions and Homophones

Chapter Five: Developing a Visual Checking Sense

Chapter Six: Building Meaning, Phonics and Spelling Skills for Big Words

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