How to Teach Your Child to Become a Champion at Spelling

One of the first questions I am usually asked by parents is, “What kind of spelling homework to you give?” Spelling is pretty much the bane of parent’s existence. It is not exactly a picnic for kids, either. They dread writing out those spelling words and abhor those weekly spelling tests. But what if I told you that with a few tips and resources, you can teach your child to become a champion at spelling?

How to Teach Your Child to Become a Champion at Spelling

How to Teach Your Child How to Become a Champion at Spelling

That’s right, I’m a teacher and I have quite a few tried and true ways to help your child become a better at spelling. Even if your child never enters the National Spelling Bee, I can help your child at least feel like a champion because spelling will no longer be so labor intensive.

Remember that Spelling is Developmental

The invented spelling of your kindergartener or first grader might make you cringe, but what they are doing is great! If your little one is spelling phonetically, that is awesome! You want to help your child write the sounds they hear.  There are actual developmental stages of spelling. As your child grows and learns, they will begin to understand spelling rules. But first, they have to understand how to write letters and identify the sounds the letters make.

To find out where your child is developmentally, check out this article from Education.com:

Related Article: The Stages of Spelling Development

Focus on Patterns

Once your child is ready, ask your child to focus on the pattern. Most of us teachers like to give spelling lists that have a pattern. For example, words that contain “ee” or “ea”. If your child understands the pattern, they can spell all kinds of words! A great activity to help your child understand patterns is to have them make the words themselves. 

Using index cards, write the spelling pattern of the week, plus a variety of other consonants and the pattern to make a real word. Have your child read the word aloud as they try to make the word to make sure that the word “sounds right” and “looks right”.

Read…a LOT

The more your child reads, the better at spelling he/she will become. Your child will begin to recognize when a word “looks right” when they are trying to spell. Plus, the exposure to words of all sorts is always a great thing. Do not let your child get intimidated by using a “big” word, just because they are unsure of how it is spelled. Books contain wonderful higher-level vocabulary that you want to encourage your child to use in their own writing.

Don’t Skip the Pre-Test

Does this sound familiar? You receive your child’s list of spelling words as part of their homework on Monday. Tears and tantrums ensue. How in the world can you get your kid to know all of these words by the test on Friday? Before you pour yourself that much-needed glass of wine, take a deep breath and give your child a pre-test.

Tell your child that it is okay if he/she does not know any of the words and that it is not really a “test”. The key is to determine what your child already knows. If your child already knows 10/15 words, spend the week focusing on those five that still need to be mastered. If your child does not know any of the words, but is close. For example, maybe your child wrote  “se” for the word “see”. You have a place to start!

Make Spelling F-U-N

If your child perceives that spelling can actually be fun instead of a chore, he/she might actually want to practice!

Fun Ways to Write Spelling Words

Spelling does involve a certain amount of “drill and kill”, so make the writing of the spelling words a little more interesting.

Rainbow Write

Using colored pencils, ask your child to write their spelling words in one color. Then, ask your child to trace their written words with at least two other colors. The result is the words will look like a rainbow while reinforcing the writing of the words. This counts as “writing your spelling words three times” as it is teacher approved!

Spelling Ransom

Using old newspapers or magazines, ask your child to cut out letters and paste them to construction paper to make a ransom-like page of spelling words. You could also cut out extra letters and keep them in a baggie or shoebox to make this a quicker activity.

Artistic Spelling Words

Grab the markers, paint, and even the glitter and allow your child to get creative with their spelling words. Maybe they want to create their own word cloud or illustrate their spelling words in another way. Make it seem more like arts and crafts than spelling and your child just might be eager to do their homework!

Spelling Games

Looking for some great spelling games to help your child practice their spelling words and have fun at the same time? Education.com has you covered! These spelling games will have your child becoming a champion at spelling in no time. Only, they will be under the impression that they get to play a really fun game!

There are spelling games for every grade level and every spelling rule you can think of. I personally like “The Silent E Bus Stop” game and the “Bossy R” game. It is a really fun and interactive way to teach these spelling rules.

Education.com has also thoughtfully provided us with some sample games! Just click to download!

Creepy Crawly Spelling Crossword
Creepy Crawly Spelling Crossword Answer Key

Need more spelling tips from a teacher or have a great tip of your own? Please comment and share below!

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “How to Teach Your Child to Become a Champion at Spelling

    1. Thank you! As a teacher, I can honestly tell you that perfect spelling is not at the top of my list. If they love reading and “writing”, spelling will come! If it’s fun, then they don’t dread it as much. (Parents and kids alike!)

  1. Brittany, I needed this so much. My daughter is getting her first set of words to learn this year, and I really want to help her get off to a good start. We started reading some Dr. Seuss books. I love that she knows the words are rhymes, and she just has to change out the first letter. This is really helping with her confidence. I love that you said make it fun, this makes me feel a whole lot better for the silly dances and songs that I make up to go along with these words she’s getting.

    1. That is amazing that she recognizes rhyming words and understands how to change the words to make them rhyme. That is so important for spelling, but it also shows great phonemic awareness. Fun and learning should always go hand and hand! I even sing silly songs to my fourth graders. But they remember the concept!

  2. Such great info here. My stepdaughter is not a native English speaker, so spelling has been a challenge — we’ll definitely be implementing some of these!

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