Some kids fall behind when it comes to spellings, mix up letters when they write, and forget words easily. The ability to read and write is a vital part for the overall development. Some kids read very well but may falter with the spellings. They need loving and considerate attention so as to overcome their problems with spellings. Correct spellings create good impression and indicate increased vocabulary and academic achievements. Take a glance below on the tips to improve your kid’s spellings and develop this essential writing tool.
10 Tips to help your Child with Spellings
Read Read Read!: Good spelling isn’t just learned from the sound of language, but also from its appearance on the page. The more your child sees words, the more he recognizes the way they are supposed to look. Inculcate the habit of pointing the finger to words as he reads. For toddlers, get the books that have huge letters and are attractive. From billboards, to TV captions, to road signs – everything should be read and spelled
Identify and use spelling patterns: Spelling is taught by considering how words sound, look and change. Introduce a list of specific spelling pattern such as the list containing ‘ai’ words (rain, bait, brain, wait, grain, aim, aid…). Another list containing the ‘ay’ words (play, away, stay, pay, pray…). Explain some quick references like ‘ay’ comes in the end while ‘ai’ in middle. Don’t mix lists as it will create confusion and render difficultly in recognizing patterns. You can have such words pinned at the desk or table, and let your child feel these words and letters everytime he looks at them
Dictate: Let your kid try spellings. Allow him to prepare grocery lists or write ingredients while watching a cookery show. Praise the parts that are correct, and suggest what else is needed. For example, if he has written ‘litle’ for ‘little’, instead of pointing out what is wrong, point out what was write. How about correcting like this – “Five of the six letters are right, one of the letters should be doubled, any guess?”
Develop phonetic awareness: Your child should be able to recognize and distinguish the sounds within spoken words in order to relate these sounds back with the printed matter. Let your child listen to the word. Say the word and write it as it sounds. He should be able to convert the sounds in the spoken word to print. You could see videos on phonetics and acquaint yourself with tips and tricks
Practice with sound: The most effective and efficient way to get the spellings right is to write the word 5 to 10 times while saying the sounds. The sound should be read aloud, not the letters. This directly builds knowledge in the correct printed representation of the word using multisensory processes (kinetic-forming the letters), visual (seeing the correct print), oral/auditory (saying and hearing the words)
Act immediately: Immediately correct the wrong spellings. Stow away the workbooks/sheets with incorrect spellings. Repeated exposure to misspelled words reinforces incorrect patterns. Acknowledge and encourage the phonetic spelling attempts. “You wrote that word how it sounds. That’s a great try. But let me show you the way that we actually spell it”
Ditch the word games: Word games such as scrabble, hangman and forming words from jumbles aim to increase vocabulary. But they do not focus on developing spelling skills, they rather confuse. The best activity for directly developing spelling skills is to have your kid repeatedly write the word 5 to 10 times correctly while saying the sound. Simple! Effective! Efficient! \
Make spellings fun: Children enjoy drawing and painting with colors. Let your kid paint words or write with bright sketch pens. Play “I Spy”: describe an object, give hints like “the object starts with letter ‘T’, ‘we keep food on it’ etc. Let him guess the word when you ask him to give a rhyme for sea, it could be me or tea
Play odd-one-out: This is one of the oral word games which effectively helps distinguishing phonetics. Ask your child “Which is the odd one out? Is it ”Dad’, ‘Lad’ or ‘Cot’‘? It’s cot because others are pronounced as ‘a’‘ and cot as ”o’‘. Similarly, Is it ”pan’, ‘knife’ or ‘pot’‘? Answer: It’s knife because it doesn’t begin with the same sound as ‘pan’ and ‘pot’
Encourage writing : Let your child express himself or illustrate an incidence he encountered on paper. Do not always give academic matter to write. Allow him to fill in forms, write notes to family members, phone messages, letters and send cards. Ask him to write about his toys, games, friends, favorite food – the list is endless. Ensure that he receives a reply, this acts as a reward!
It is expected that your kid will flounder with spelling in the beginning. And with everyone creating the hullabaloo on scholastic competitiveness, it’s natural to wish that your child excel in everything. His literacy skills will not develop automatically as he grows. Even the brightest of the lot may fumble, but everything will fall into place with practice.
Play poetries or songs stressing pronunciation as an additional kin-aesthetic activity. Encourage him to pay attention to how the sounds are spelled rather than on memorizing letters. Make sure that you do not make a fuss of getting the spellings right, be steady with your efforts. The single biggest way to help your child excel is to make it fun and help him feel successful.