Spelling can be a difficult subject for many students. My oldest daughter was challenged by spelling, especially when taught in an auditory and textbook fashion. She is a visual learner and required a different approach then a list of spelling words and short daily lessons. I soon learned to adjust to her learning style so she could succeed in spelling. The plan I developed for her is also working for my dyslexic daughter. I had to adapt it a slightly to suit her needs and I keep her spelling lists short. Perhaps these ideas can help your child struggling in spelling.
A new spelling list is handed out and each word is said and spelled aloud. Next, my child copies each word and word definition into a spelling notebook. The writing reinforces spelling and the looking up the definitions reinforces vocabulary and dictionary skills.
Tuesdays are the day my child writes out each word 5-10 times each. To alleviate boredom I allow the student to write out the words with colored pencils or ultra fine sharpies. Of course writing out words is not a novel idea but it is still a very effective tool.
I assigned my child to write a sentence for each spelling word. The sentences must be written neatly, grammatically correct and make sense. This reinforces the spelling word, the definition and help the student practice creativity and good language skills.
As a special challenge I have my child write one or two additional sentences using as many spelling words as possible. The challenge sentences do not have to make sense but it is required to be neat and grammatically correct. For a younger or artistic student you can have him draw a picture to go with one or more of his sentences.
Pretest is given to determine which words are still posing difficulty. Any words that are still difficult for the student are to be written out ten times each. This is also the day for spelling games or projects.
Spelling Games and Projects
IMPORTANT: Allow your child to view the spelling list while doing the activities in the beginning is acceptable. It is important to not allow the habit of misspelling words. The student should not be struggling through this but challenged and successful. Seeing the spelling list while arranging the letters correctly will reinforce the correct spelling.
- Hangman: Play as usual using your spelling list.
- Scramble Challenge: Write out each spelling word on construction paper then cut out each word and then each letter. Scramble the letters for each word and have the student arrange the letters in the correct order to make a spelling word on the list. To make it more challenging you can scramble all letters together and have your student arrange the letters to make out the entire spelling list.
- Word Family Mobile: If you are using a spelling list associated with word families this is a great project. On a piece of construction paper write the word ending, for example “ight”. With a hole puncher, punch out enough holes for each spelling word. That piece will be the top of the mobile. Then draw a picture for each spelling word and write the word below the picture, punch a hole in the picture and connect this picture to the top of the mobile by a piece of yarn.
- Spelling Ball: The teacher picks a word and then gives the ball to one student. The student says the first letter and throws the ball to the next student who announces the second letter. In this fashion, the ball is thrown back and forth until the word is spelled out.
This is spelling test day! Now all that hard work will prove valuable. I will either perform a traditional spelling test where I dictate the word and my child writes it on paper or a whiteboard or I allow her recite it orally. Any words missed on the test are written out five times. You may want to add any missed words to the next week’s spelling list.