Spelling can be either a child’s favorite subject or a child’s least favorite subject. While some kids enjoy practicing spelling words and writing spelling lists, others may dread these exercises and feel that spelling is boring.
While learning to spell correctly is an important part of an elementary language arts curriculum, doing so doesn’t have to feel monotonous. There are plenty of fun and simple ways to practice spelling. Here are a few that may even get reluctant spellers interested!
1. Play Letter Jumble
Written word jumbles are popular puzzle games for adults, and the same concept works well for kids who are practicing spelling.
Take a list of spelling words that are appropriate for your child’s grade and use magnetic letters to scramble each word on the front of the refrigerator or a metal baking dish. Challenge your child to unscramble the letters to make a word. For younger children, give them the word first and see if they can move the letters around to spell it correctly.
2. Have a Spelling Word Dash
Active kids may have a hard time sitting still long enough to practice writing spelling words. Get them outside and moving with a spelling word dash!
Use sidewalk chalk to write a few grade-level spelling words on the sidewalk or driveway. Call out each word and see how quickly kids can run to the word and find it. For older children, leave the driveway blank and see if they can run to an empty space and write the word in chalk themselves.
3. Use Sight Word Flashcards
Sight words are a major concept for preschoolers and Kindergartners who are working on reading fluency. But practicing sight words can also be a simple introduction to spelling for younger children. As they read sight words, kids can start to recognize certain spelling patterns in words, even when the letter sounds don’t follow traditional phonics rules.
Make a set of simple sight word flashcards by writing grade-level words on index cards. Hole punch them and place them on an O ring. Let the kids spend five minutes each day spelling each word and reading them aloud. Practicing flashcards is a great way to multitask during time in the car or in waiting rooms.
4. Practice Listening Exercises
Try a somewhat traditional spelling method with a listening exercise. Have the kids sit down with a piece of paper and a pencil. Read a new spelling word aloud and ask them to write down the way they think the word is spelled.
After everyone has written down their guesses, show them the word one letter at a time and see if they can figure out the rest. Once the first word is done, read out another word that follows a similar spelling pattern and see how well they can guess at its spelling. For example, if you try the word round first, you might try the word abound next.
Instead of using a traditional spelling book, why not try one of these fun games to help children enjoy learning to spell? As their spelling improves, kids often become more fluent readers and writers. Who knows? They may even write a masterpiece of their own!
About the Author
Selena is a homeschooling graduate and a veteran homeschooling mother of four, including three with ADHD. She and her husband, Jay, use an eclectic homeschooling approach to encourage their children to learn throughout their lives. Selena blogs about her family's homeschooling adventures every week at Look! We're Learning!