Spelling: Self-Correction with Verbal Cues

DESCRIPTION: The student takes a brief spelling pre-test, follows a self-guided process to check and correct spelling errors using verbal cues, and then takes a spelling post-test (adapted from Gettinger, 1985).


GROUP SIZE: Whole class, small group, individual student


TIME:  About 15 minutes per session



  • Flash-cards of spelling words (five per session)
  • Pen with colored ink (e.g., green, red)
  • Spelling Sheet: Self-Correction with Verbal Cues (attached)
  • Spelling Self-Correction with Verbal Cues: Student Reminder Checklist (attached)
  • [Optional] Spelling: Self-Correction with Verbal Cues: Recording Form (attached)
  • [Optional] Spelling Log: Mastered Words (attached).

INTERVENTION STEPS: The spelling intervention Self-Correction follows these steps:

  1. [Teacher] Train the Student. The teacher trains the student to use the spelling self-correction with verbal cues procedures (described below) in an introductory session. The student then completes 1-3 practice spelling tests with easy words  and uses the spelling intervention procedures under the teacher's supervision.
  2. Teacher] Give the Spelling Pre-Test. At the start of each session, the teacher selects five spelling words and administers them to the student as a pre-test. The student writes the words into the 'Pre-Test' section of the Spelling Sheet: Self-Correction with Verbal Cues.
  3. [Student] Check Work and Correct Error Spelling Words. After finishing the spelling pre-test, the student is given a set of flash-cards with the correct spelling words as well as a copy of the Student Reminder Checklist.

    The student uses the spelling flash-cards to check his or her work, checking off each word spelled correctly.

    For each word marked as INCORRECT, the student:

    STEP 1: Studies and says the name of the correct word as it appears on the flash-card.

    STEP 2: Circles with colored pen those letters in the error word that are incorrect.

    STEP 3: Turns the flash-card over to hide the correct word.

    STEP 4: Copies the correct word from memory into the first of the two 'Student Self-Correction' blanks provided on the Spelling Sheet: Self-Correction with Verbal Cues.

    STEP 5: Compares the word just copied from memory to the word on the flash-card to make sure the answer is correct.

    STEP 6: Circles with colored pen those letters within the correctly written word that were originally in error but have now been fixed.

    STEP 7: Looks at the letters circled in colored pen both in the original error word and in the corrected spelling of the same word and tells self, "This is the part of the word that I need to remember".

    STEP 8: Repeats steps 1-7 above, using the second of the two 'Student Self-Correction' blanks provided.

  4. [Teacher] Give the Spelling Post-Test. After the student has completed the error correction portion of the session, the teacher has the student put the spelling flash-cards aside temporarily and re-administers the five spelling words as a post-test. Before taking the post-test, the student folds the Spelling Sheet: Self-Correction with Verbal Cues at the dotted line to hide the pre-test words and writes the words of the re-administered test into the 'Post-Test' section of the form. The student then uses the flash-cards to score the post-test.
  5. [Teacher-Optional] Log the Student's Daily Spelling Performance. The teacher can track the student's daily pre-test and post-test performance using the attached Spelling: Self-Correction with Verbal Cues: Recording Form.  The teacher can also track actual spelling words acquired by the student, using the attached Spelling Log: Mastered Words form. NOTE: The teacher may instead assign the student responsibility for logging his or her daily spelling performance.


  • Gettinger, M. (1985). Effects of teacher-directed versus student-directed instruction and cues versus no cues for improving spelling performance. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 18, 167-171.