Does Spelling Count?

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Does spelling matter to anyone anymore?

Marquette, MichiganDecember 11, 2013 – Last week, a friend of mine tried to make a point to her stepdaughter by asking her Facebook friends whether spelling mattered on applications. She received several answers and almost every one of them was an emphatic YES!

This question came up again yesterday as I was talking with coworkers. Does spelling count? Does anyone even care?

This made me think of the number of times a rubric for one of my child’s papers stated at the bottom, “Spelling doesn’t count on this assignment.”

Really?! Why doesn’t spelling count?

I challenged elementary school teachers (and even one middle school teacher) to explain why spelling was not graded on EVERYTHING. The reason, they explained, is to get the kids thinking and writing their ideas down without having to worry about things like spelling or grammar. Ideas matter, they told me.

I agree. Ideas DO matter. However, without a fundamental understanding of the English language, how are children supposed to convey those ideas? It’s difficult to take anyone seriously if their writing is riddled with spelling errors.

While it seems many of us would agree that spelling DOES count, especially on formal documents, I would argue that spelling counts at all times. Someone’s written word creates a lasting impression of them.

What do you think? Does spelling matter? Should we hold our kids to a higher standard and insist that they spell correctly?

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