Spelling Ideas

A friend from Singapore asked this question recently:

I have a 6y+ son who just started public school in Singapore. He can read pretty well but he can’t spell. He has simple spelling list from school which he has problems learning. Do you have any advice?

Many children need hands-on or movement-based lessons when they seem to be struggling with the typical methods.  Here are a few suggestions.

  • Write the words in shaving cream.
  • Lay white paper over sandpaper and have your child write the words using a crayon.  It will create a tactile sensation that makes connections with hands-on kids.
  • Mom writes the words in large print on a piece of paper.  Lay a plastic canvas screen (from the craft section) over top and let the child trace the words with their finger.
  • Write the words on the sidewalk using a spray bottle.
  • Write the words in a very shallow sand or rice box.
  • Play a ball toss game where you and your son say the next letter of the word as the ball is tossed to you.
  • Use magnetic letters to spell the words.
  • Play a magnetic letter relay where he has to run to get the first letter of the word and bring it back before running to get the second letter and so on.  He may look at the word each time before he runs.  This will help him with the memory of what comes next as he’s running.
  • Lay random paper letters on the floor and have him jump from one letter to another to spell out the word.
  • Some children enjoy spelling to a particular rhythm or tune or even clapping out the letters.
  • Let him quiz you.
  • I would also really stress sounding out each letter at a time as he tries to write the words, helping him hear every sound if he struggles with this.
  • Of course, never give up talking about phonics rules as they present themselves.

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