Pre-emptive correction is all about making sure your pupils gets it right before they have a chance to get it wrong.
It is widely believed that if you get something wrong enough times, the penny will suddenly drop and you will miraculously start getting it right. Unfortunately, learning to spell just is not like that. The more times you spell a word wrongly, especially if it is always the same ‘wrong’, the more deeply ingrained that wrong spelling becomes—it becomes a habit.
To learn a spelling, your pupil needs to spell that word correctly enough times for it to become automatic. Every time they spell a word wrongly they are moving away from that goal. They are practising getting it wrong.
You know that your pupil has trouble remembering ‘what’. You can see ‘what’ coming up in a sentence dictation or spelling test. Practise it before they have to write it from memory, before they get a chance to get it wrong.
- Give the child a whiteboard and dictate ‘what’ one letter at a time—’W…H…A…T’
- Ask them to read the word and spell it aloud.
- Rub out the word.
- Tell the child to write ‘what’.
They will usually get it right in the exercise afterwards. But if they do start to go wrong, stop them straight away and repeat the correction.
Don’t let them practise getting it wrong.