Task Analysis: Spelling Practice

  • Situation

    My student becomes overwhelmed when it comes time to practice spelling words (we typically write each word 5 times). She often refuses to do the task. If she does attempt to write the words, she may write the words too many or too few times or just get “stuck” on copying words correctly. How can I make this task more manageable and less overwhelming?

  • Summary

    Conduct a task analysis of your spelling practice routines and try to eliminate or modify “sub-tasks” to allow your student to gain the most benefit from spelling practice. Break the task down so that she doesn’t have to be concerned with unrelated tasks. Don’t require your student to copy from the board or a book if visual tracking is an issue for your student. Instead, eliminate this “sub-task” by having the words right on the practice paper. If counting is difficult for your student, don’t require her to count to five for each spelling word. Add highlighted spaces or lines on which to write the words…or provide numbers so she can keep track of how many she has done. She may be too concerned with counting to 5 for each word.

  • Definition

    Most tasks, even seemingly simple tasks, such as writing out spelling words, are really quite complex. Task Analysis involves breaking a task down into its parts or individual steps. Conducting a task analysis allows you to evaluate the expected learning outcomes and determine if any of the “steps” are impeding the ultimate result.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 6-10, 11-13, 14-17
    • Planning Effort: Low
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    knowledge of all steps of a task

  • Process

    1. Determine the ultimate goal of the task (reinforce spelling words).

    2. List all steps for the task at hand – writing spelling words may include get paper, write name and date, copy word from the board, write the word correctly 5 times on the same line, skip a space, copy next word from the board, repeat, etc.

    3. Eliminate or modify unnecessary steps to preserve the ultimate goal.

  • Documents and Related Resources




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