I am presently tutoring a Gr. 6 student in spelling skills. She seems to have missed the basics, and truly cannot spell. I would appreciate any ideas, activites and/or resources to help her learn what she has missed. She obviously doesn't want to just turn to a lower grade workbook.
Since my retirement several years ago, I haven’t kept up with current developments in the teaching of spelling, choosing instead just to toil in my own approach to things as represented on this website. So my response to your request has to be pretty much restricted to my own work.
I agree completely with your concern to help your student learn what she has missed. In the Academic Skills Center at Central Washington University, we encountered college students with that same problem. The instance that most impressed me was an Alaskan Indian who was raised way out in the wilderness and more or less taught himself during his elementary years. Other students apparently suffered some sort of dyslexia or dyslexia-like problems when they were in the primary grades and simply did not learn the basic sound-to-spelling relationships involved in spelling. Though they usually appeared to have outgrown the dyslexia, the gaps were still there. Our strategy was to have them work their way through an audiotape program that dealt with basic phonics. When they had finished that series of lessons, we moved them into our regular remedial spelling class, which dealt more with word structure and the processes involved when elements combine to form words, as in the Elements and Procedures on this website. That strategy seemed to work quite well, and the students usually made surprising progress suprisingly quickly.
Unless you have access to a good audio or audio-video phonics program, I suggest that you start your student with the first book of the Basic Speller from this website. As you can see from the table of contents, the first books of the Basic Speller deal largely with phoncs. You can find all of the lessons at dwcummings.com/cbsPDFs, and you can download them gratis. Though the Basic Speller consists of eight books, it is organized so that by the end of the second book the student has worked with all of the basic concepts, especially the sound-to-spelling relationships.
Though it was written originally for third graders, the Basic Speller contains nothing to identify the grade level, and I deliberately tried to avoid the cutesy-babyish tone that is so common in primary workbooks.
The “Teacher’s Introduction” to the Basic Speller at the “Basic Speller” area of the website explains the approach in some detail. And the prefaces to “Elements and Procedures” and “Spelling for Learning” explain the more advanced levels of the approach that I recommend.
I wish you good luck, and I would dearly like to hear how things go with your student.