Sunday, November 2, 2014

Spelling Strategies for Kids

Spelling seems to be a constant issue for students from K-12 and up into college.
Here are a few ideas to add variation and practice to learning new or difficult words:

A. My son is in first grade and receives 6 words a week to learn and memorize. Every night he has to choose from a list of activities to complete his spelling homework. These activities include: 
  1. drawing pictures for each word,
  2. writing the words in 3 different colors each, 
  3. writing a sentence for each word,
  4. making flashcards,
  5. writing on the sidewalk with chalk,
  6. finding the words in stories,
  7. writing your own story with the words,
  8. list the words in ABC order,
  9. type your words on the computer,
  10. staircase the words,
  11. write the words and trace the vowels with red marker
B.  A spelling strategy that my son and I enjoy is hangman. I write the 6 words down and leave blanks I say the words out loud and my son tries to fill in the missing letters. If he gets a letter wrong, I add a piece to the hangman. This can be done on a piece of paper or whiteboard marker or with sidewalk chalk.

C. Here are two spelling strategies I like from Stowell Learning Center:

Say and Write

Spelling often "goes out the window" when students are trying to write sentences and stories. If your child is continually asking you how to spell words, or is misspelling words you're sure he knows, try having him "say and write."

The student should say each sound as he writes it. This keeps him from guessing and being impulsive. It helps him think about all of the sounds in the word.


To be a good speller, you must be able to think about the sounds in the word and have a mental picture of what the word looks like.

Here is a fun strategy for visualizing how words look. Use this to practice difficult spelling words. Break the word into parts if needed and then put it back together and practice the whole word.

  1. Look at the word.
  2. Look up and visualize the word on a large imaginary screen slightly eye level. The letters should be large.
  3. Point to each letter in the air and say the letter. Repeat 3 times to get a clear image of the letters. (Draw the letters with two fingers if needed in order to get a good image).
  4. Now point to and say the letters in random order as fast as you can. (If the student can do this rapidly, he is getting a good image of the word).
  5. If there are tricky letters that the student tends to miss or make mistakes on, have him make those letters especially large, bright, or colored in his image.
  6. Spell the word forward again and say the word.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Excellent ideas for practicing spelling words!