These notes are from a series of workshops from our school – this particular series was on supporting your children’s spelling at home. There are some annotations and additional resources which I have added.
Learners of all ages need encouragement to ‘write, write, write’, and simply to spell words the best they can in first drafts. Teaching children strategies for correcting spelling is far more important than giving them the correct spelling of a particular word. Choose a few words for children to correct that use the rules or spelling patterns they have been working on or are familiar with.
Spelling also incorporates the learning of rules such as: prefixes, suffixes, root words, homophones, apostrophes.
Try to make spelling exciting and fun through challenges. Here are some ways…
Supporting Spelling Practice at Home
- Make a wordsearch with your words. List them underneath.
- Write a sentence for each word to explain its meaning.
- Write rhymes for each of your words.
- Play charades with your words. When someone has guessed the word, spell it.
- Write your words on cards. Select 6 to put on a bingo grid. Turn cards over one by one. If you have word and can spell it, you can cover it.
- Put your words to a number code, e.g. A=1, B=2
- Arrange your words in alphabetical order.
- Use each of your words in a silly sentence. Underline the word used.
- Practice your words with a partner.
- Write your words in different fonts and colours.
- Write out your words, cut into parts that help you to learn them and glue them in.
- Design a board game to play with your words. Write the rules too.
- Illustrate each of your words with a picture.
- Play hangman using your words.
- Paint your words with paint (in a book) or water (outside).
- Write your words in colourful bubble writing.
- Cut out letters from a newspaper or magazine to make your spelling words.
- Put all your words in a box of some kind. Play music and pass the box. When the music stops pull out a word and read it. The other person must spell it. Get points for a correct spelling.
- On small pieces of paper, write all of the letters of the alphabet. Spread them out on the floor. One person reads a word aloud while the other spells it out by stepping on the letters in the correct order.
- Decide which word you are going to spell. Throw a ball with a partner. Every time you throw it, say the next letter of the word until you have spelled it out. Play again.
- Write a short story using all of your words.
- Sprinkle talcum powder/flour/rice/sand or similar in a baking tray. Use your finger to spell out your words.
Aside from good ol’ fashion scrabble what other games can you play to encourage your child’s spelling?
- Scrabble Slam – a faster and easier version of scrabble for the younger kids
- Boggle Jr for younger children
- Spelling Jigsaw Puzzles
- Alphabet Soup
- More spelling games
Apps for Supporting Spelling
Help children learn to spell by using Look, Cover, Write and Check. Visit loos around the world, spelling tricky words as you go. This game includes high frequency words (from ‘Letters and Sounds’) and the ‘Common Exception Words’ for Years 1 through to 6, (English Curriculum, 2014). You can even enter your own words, perhaps the ones from your child’s homework. After completing each level your child can play ‘Germ Attack’. This game was designed by a teacher with 14 years experience.
Word Juice is a fun game where the goal in this game is to squeeze as much juice from the oranges as you can in three minutes. To do so, you have to create words using the letters in the orange segments. Tap “GO” when you have completed a word. Each word must be three or more letters long and MUST include the central vowel. The longer the word, the more juice you’ll make. Using tricky letters, like J, Q and Z, makes even more juice! If you make a mistake, tap the ‘X’ button to delete, one letter at a time, or hold the ‘X’ button to clear the whole word.
After squeezing three or more words from an orange, you can ask for “FRESH FRUIT PLEASE”. You will be given a fresh orange with new letters. Only do this if you are running out of words to squeeze from your orange, as the multiplier will reset to zero! The more words you squeeze from a single orange, the more effectively the points multiplier works. Reach the top of the multiplier and start scoring BIG points!
Every time you “squeeze” a word you’ll light a part of the multiplier meter. Reach the top to start scoring BIG points! But be careful. If you end up asking for “FRESH FRUIT PLEASE” the multiplier will reset.
SpellFix is a spelling game for children in Year 3 to Year 6. It offers children a way to learn how to spell.
Aim of the game: find the 8 spellings in each level using the clues and the available letters on screen. Use hints if you are stuck! The app is great for contextualised spelling development as the meaning of the word is taught at the same time as the spelling. There are 30 levels in all.