by Rachel Wells
Chances are if you have a school aged child, you’re familiar with spelling tests. But have you ever wondered why spelling words are such a regular part of education?
Well, not only does spelling improve both reading and writing skills, but there is a strong connection between spelling words and reading comprehension as well.
So if your child receives a 100% on a spelling test, does that mean they’ve mastered all those words, and you should never spend time on them again? Not necessarily. Since children need to be exposed to concepts multiple times and in meaningful ways for them to stick in long term memory, many children need to read, write, and interact with words through hands on activities to really develop a deep and more complete understanding. And that deep understanding leads to an overall proficiency in literacy.
Check out these simple and interactive ways your child can practice spelling words and work on setting a firm foundation of literacy skills.
Combine spelling with reading and writing. Have children make up and write down a sentence that uses as many of the words on their spelling list as possible. Practice reading the sentences, and saying the words out loud.
Have your child illustrate their words by making word posters. Having an image can help many children take learning into long term memory.
Use letter magnets, alphabet blocks, or even rocks to build and spell words. Another student favorite is to assign each number on a dice with a specific color of scented markers. Have your child roll the dice, and write the spelling word on a piece of paper with the assigned color. Keep rolling and see how many colors you can write on top of each other to create a word rainbow.
Use Wikki sticks or Play Doh to form letters and build words. Another option is to pour shaving cream on a plate and have your child use their finger to write the words in the shaving cream. You can also fill a gallon sized zipper bag with paint, seal the bag, and let you child write the words with their finger on the outside of the bag. If your child is the outdoorsy type, use nature and write words in the dirt using sticks.
Make it a Game
There are many online puzzle makers where you can create printable crossword puzzles or word searches using your own choice of words. Hangman is also a fun way to practice spelling words together. Or another option is to write the spelling words out with a few letters missing and see if your child can figure out the missing ones.
Draw a wiggly line and have your child write their spelling words along the line following its curves.
This one is perfect for any child that loves to draw. Have them practice writing spelling words in their fanciest writing style.
Give your child a magazine and see if they can find and highlight their spelling words throughout the text.
Remember that the more fun your child is having, the more likely the information will be retained. Don’t underestimate just how much learning can be done through fun, interactive, and hands on activities!