I usually teach spelling with lists; Ruth Beechick‘s high frequency word lists, thematic spelling, and/or a Schonell Spelling list (see my Book List). But whether you follow a spelling book, program or list, your children need to learn their spelling using all these steps in order to reinforce their spelling mastery.
Younger children learn best using as many senses as possible, so encourage listening, seeing, and doing. Say the word, then spell each letter aloud (auditory memory) while looking at the word and then visualizing the word with eyes closed (visual memory). Write out the word, or use scrabble tiles (kinesthetic memory). These activities form a combination that really helps learning.
Make it fun! I often exaggerate silent letters or pronounce the word as it is spelt. Play games with letter tiles. We love to work with Bananagram tiles!
Always teach spelling in context. The child must understand the word’s meaning. Test spelling with the word in a sentence. My middle schooler loves to create her own silly sentences with as many words in a sentence that still makes some sense.
Use a whiteboard and quickly erase any mistakes while learning or doing pre-tests. Avoid any visual memory of any incorrect spelling.
Ask your child to write out mistakes for corrections. Usually 3 to 5 times is enough to reinforce the correct spelling. Do corrections as soon after the test as possible,
Finally, encourage an older child to make their own vocabulary lists of words they learn from their reading. I love the scene in the movie “The Book Thief” where the basement walls become the child’s word list.
Here’s your free teaching spelling poster download ~ Learning Spelling
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