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Spelling Word Helpers

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By Rachel Wells

Chances are if you have a school aged child, you are familiar with spelling tests. Have you ever wondered why spelling words are such a regular part of education or enrichment classes? Spelling not only improves both reading and writing skills, but there is a strong connection between spelling words and reading comprehension as well.

A deep understanding of how letters and sounds are put together to create words, helps to create proficiency with our language. When a student understands a words meaning, sounds, and patterns, they are more likely to recognize it when reading, and be able to spell it when writing.

So if your child receives a 100% on a spelling test, does that mean they have mastered the words? Not necessarily. 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.

If children need tools to help them remember how to spell words not just for a test, but to carry that knowledge into their reading, writing, and long term memory, what can we do to help? We can spend time focusing on the sounds in words rather than just the letter names, examine sound patterns in words, and try some interactive hands on approaches as well.

Make Sentences

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 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.

Illustrate

Have your child illustrate their words by making word posters. Having an image can help many children take learning into long term memory.

Manipulatives

Use letter magnets, alphabet blocks, or even rocks to build and spell words. You can give your child a magazine and see if they can find and highlight their spelling words throughout the text. 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.

Sensory Spelling

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. Have your child illustrate their words by making word posters.

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. Another option is to write the spelling words out with a few letters missing, and see if your child can figure out the missing letters. There are many online puzzle makers where you can create printable crossword puzzles Recognize which words are tricky for your child, and be sure to identify the tricky parts together. This will help you both understand where to focus your study time. 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. Use Wikki sticks or Play Doh to form letters and build words. Use letter magnets, alphabet blocks, or even rocks to build and spell words.

How do you practice spelling with your children? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram!


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