Thursday, December 18, 2014

TAGteacher Tale: Spelling and writing, oh my! TAGteach saves the day

by Martha Gabler MA

TAGteach is so Versatile


Not only does TAGteach help with behavior, you can also use it to help kids overcome learning obstacles.

Here are two examples of how people used TAGteach to help kids who were unhappy about completing their spelling and writing assignments. These were quick, spur-of-the-moment interventions, but they created great outcomes.

TAGteach and Spelling


Rosie Gaw, a parent from the UK, has a lovely daughter who needed to practice her spelling. Rose explains, “Sophie really didn't want to practice her spelling [word]s and we were on the verge of a major tantrum but I tagged each letter of each word and we got through it calmly.”
Example:  Spell “crisis.”  The tag point is: “Say letter.”

“C”      tag
“R”      tag
“I”       tag
“S”      tag
“I”       tag
“S”      tag

Great job Rosie and Sophie! The non emotional 'mark' of each correct letter told Sophie she was right! She experienced continuous success and she evolved from anger to calm.

TAGteach and Writing


A friend was working with a young girl with a developmental disability, who balked at writing four long sentences on a worksheet. The tutor calmly pulled out a tagger and tagged the student for every letter of every word she wrote in the workbook.

The tag point was: “Write letter.” For each letter written the tutor tagged the girl. After every ten tags she earned a ticket to trade in for treats or trinkets. The girl’s writing pace actually picked up and settled into a smooth, cheerful rhythm. Outcome: workbook exercises completed calmly and on time.



These two simple interventions show how TAGteach can quickly change a stressful situation into a calm situation. In each of these cases, the student was unhappy, upset or apprehensive about doing the work. With continuous support, success and a nice reinforcer at the end, both girls completed their assignments accurately and happily.


  1. I was able to support a child with writing recently by quickly adapting TAGteach methodology on the spot. He was struggling to copy a recipe, losing track of where he was and becoming frustrated. I needed a strategy that he would be able to use independently when not yet familiar with tagging. I gave him a highlighter and told him to draw a line through each word as he copied it from the support sheet I had given him. In this way, he was able to keep track of where he was and mark/tag each word that he copied... and the reinforcer was being able to use a highlighter, something they don't often get to use. His speed and accuracy of writing improved immediately as did his motivation. He completed the task independently and other children who were finding the activity challenging asked if they could then use the same strategy. Kate J

    1. Hello Kate,
      Thank you! This is an outstanding account of how a creative, spur-of-the-moment intervention produced great results. You intervened as soon as the child showed frustration, you provided extra support and specific instructions, you gave the child a prized motivator (the highlighter!), and the learner took it from there! As he copied, he marked off each word with that nifty highlighter; he experienced success, made steady progress and finished his work in a happy state of mind.

      You achieved your goal of finding “a strategy that he would be able to use independently when not yet familiar with tagging,” and also built a supportive relationship with this boy, along with all the other students! These students now feel supported and involved: what a great basis for future learning!

      Thank you for sharing!