Spelling is not the most fun subject to learn. For some students it comes naturally, but others find it a struggle. As a teacher for 8 years, a homeschool parent for 4, and a life-long tutor, I use simple strategies to help students get the most out of spelling lessons.
Spelling is a crucial part of the big three: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Without a good foundation in spelling it is difficult to make much progress in reading and writing. Unfortunately, modern technology undermines that skill.
The following spelling strategies are successful, though they may not be earth shattering. Perhaps that is what is missing in modern education: A return to the fundamentals of learning to learn the fundamentals of life. I change things up to keep it interesting, but nothing replaces these fundamentals.
Write every spelling word at least three times.
Are you kidding me? That’s the oldest drill in the book. It certainly is and it is still one of the most effective ways to teach spelling. It’s all about memorizing spelling rules and sight words.
Even given this assignment, some kids whiz through and spell the practice list incorrectly. This is where a lot of teachers fall down on the job.
Time is limited, but it is very important to check for spelling errors. Failure to catch misspelled words means that students will learn to spell the word incorrectly.
When students copy spelling words wrong they need to write them correctly five times each. Students will learn their spelling words and begin to pay closer attention to their spelling list in the first place. They hate rewriting words. I say, it’s good for them.
Create practice games using spelling words.
There are a number of programs online to help you create games using your spelling words. I like to use Spellingcity, Wordexpress, Kidspell and Discovery Teacher Puzzlemakers.
After practice give a practice test.
By this point your child may be ready to take the week’s spelling test. Give a practice test. If he makes a 100% or misses only one word accept that as the spelling test grade for the week. If the student does not know the words well enough, they should write every missed word 3 to 5 times. The number of times they write the words depends on the student, their ability to memorize words and retain information. Don’t turn this a rote activity to fill time.
Once your student makes an “A” on the test, take the lesson to the next level by using as many spelling words as possible in a simple paragraph. This is a great way to stretch learning across the curriculum, the best way to learn.