January 24, 2013

A spelling lesson

January 24, 2013 The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — There once was a world without technology. Where children were taught how to write with a pencil and a piece of paper, how to read books printed on paper, how to spell using a dictionary as backup, and how to solve mathematical problems with nothing but fingers to count on as needed.

Today, hard-bound, printed dictionaries are difficult to find outside of libraries, old-fashioned ciphering has been replaced by calculators, books are on e-readers and handwriting is a dying art.

But some knowledge can never be replaced by technology, or at least it shouldn’t be. And it is essential that children are taught how to read, write, count and spell. Even though spell check automatically corrects misspelled words these days, it doesn’t replace common sense and knowledge, it doesn’t help if the word is spelled correctly but used incorrectly, or if the word is pronounced the same but spelled two different ways.

So when the opportunity to assist children who are spelling from memory, given words that would stymie many adults, arises, The Times is more than happy to participate.

The students at the Valdosta Early College Academy are there because they are dedicated to learning, as are the faculty, staff and those who assist them from VSU. They are motivated, expected to perform at a high level, and are given many opportunities to excel.

Holding spelling bees may seem like old-fashioned educational ideals from a bygone era, but the fact remains that students who can spell by either studying and learning the words or learning how to break words and sounds down phonetically will excel in life. The skills these children learn today will carry forward through their academic and professional careers.

Congratulations to the school for hosting their first-ever spelling bee, congratulations to the students for their eager participation and congratulations to their parents and grandparents who supported them by attending.

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