Spelling Practice For Primary Children

Help your primary school-aged children practice spelling lists at home, using a variety of techniques and suggestions encompassing the visual, oral, auditory and kinesthetic ways of learning.

Spelling skills are an essential part of knowledge for effective communication through writing. Your children begin to learn these skills from the world around them, and more formally, in the primary grades. The memorization of weekly spelling lists may not be the most enjoyable nor effective ways to learn expressive writing skills, but your child's teacher may demand it. Weekly spelling lists are a common homework expectation that may have the tendency to frustrate parents and students. The following techniques may help this chore to become a more enjoyable way to learn words.

All adults and children have ways that they learn best, but may not be fully aware of what kind of learning words best for their individual needs. Simple inventories or thoughtful consideration can help you figure out whether your or your child are a visual, oral, auditory, or kinesthetic learners. In others words, do you learn best by seeing, talking, listening, or doing? Most of us may be a combination of these learning styles, but one is usually dominant. Consider whether you "˜see' maps in your head, or whether you can learn a new software program best by reading the manual, or by just trying it on your own. Apply these same type of considerations to your child. The suggestions below encompass a variety of techniques from which you can choose to best suit your child's learning style.

When your child first confronts you with her weekly spelling list, first you may want to go through and check your child's expertise. Why continue to memorize words your child knows automatically? You may want to practice all remaining words each night, or divide them up and review all the night before your child's test. Take these words and write them on an index card in large, bright letters, or have your child do this with supervision (kinesthetic, visual). This in itself is her step to practicing! If your child has trouble with vowels, you can reinforce vowel patterns by writing all vowels in one color and all consonants in a second color (visual). You may trace the outline, or configuration, or each word, to help your child visualize how the whole word looks (kinesthetic).

Post your index cards on a wall, bulletin board or pocket chart for easy access, and use these cards as your starting point for spelling practice (visual). To begin your nightly spelling regime, your child can spell each word aloud, while naming the word at the beginning and ending of each spelling (visual, oral, auditory). She may stamp for vowels and clap for consonants while spelling each word out loud (auditory, kinesthetic). She may make the shapes of the letters with her body, or spell them with letter tiles (visual, kinesthetic). After saying the world, she may close her eyes and write the word with her finger in the air while spelling it out loud (auditory, visual, kinesthetic). She may trace the letters of the words with her finger on the card (visual, kinesthetic).

You might ask your child to spell the words on a chalkboard, whiteboard or colored paper, when you cue your child with one word at a time (visual, kinesthetic). Spelling maybe reinforced with writing the same word with different colors on top of a correctly spelled word, while spelling out loud (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, oral). Your child might listen to you say a word, then write it and check, or read it, write it and check for accuracy (visual, auditory, oral, kinesthetic). Put each word into a sentence or have your child create her own sentence out loud or on paper (visual, kinesthetic / oral). Provide your child with spaces for each letter of a word and see if she can fill in spaces correctly (visual). Create a word search, word puzzle or crossword puzzle easily using internet resources (visual, kinesthetic).

You might want to record your child's spelling words on tape and have your child listen and spelling along with you (oral, auditory). Make up some silly songs together for those really difficult words (oral, auditory). Explore the meaning behind words, and look at the root, prefix and suffix of each word, where necessary. While studying, talk informally about the rules of spelling, such as pluralization. Have your child ask other adults to spell her words out loud (oral, auditory). Find spelling words in easy reading books, or on signs in your neighborhood.

Have your child copy these words and compare what they have written at home (visual, kinesthetic).

These ideas are a sample of many ways that educators and parents have devised to help children learning to memorize the spelling of sight words or more complex vocabulary. Most essential is a focus on your child's learning style, working together, and using a variety of creative techniques to keep your child interesting in the important skill of spelling correctly.

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