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How to Teach your Child to Spell I 5 Activities to make it Fun

As your child starts at school, they begin their journey of learning phonics and spellings which can be a scary prospect when you are asked to continue the work at home. The best way to support your child with these tasks is, of course, to practice with them – but make sure this is fun and interactive so it doesn’t feel like a burden.

While there are many apps and websites that can support their learning, the traditional screenless methods are the best as they will be physically writing the letters and words at school rather than typing them out. With this in mind, we have highlighted our top five methods for helping to teach your child to spell.

12 Aug 2021

1. Sensory spelling tray

Much like the play dough method, offering your child a sensory spelling bin is a great option for those who are less confident with writing. You can create a sensory spelling bin from using items you are likely to already have at home. Add dry cereal, beans or pulses to a baking tray or shallow tub. Then add magnetic, foam or any 3D letters that you have. Write the words you would like them to practice on separate cards around them and see if they can form the words using the 3D letters. You can offer them tongs or tweezers to improve their fine motor skills which are needed for writing, making it about more than just the spellings.

2. Play dough words

A fun and unique way to practice letter formation and spellings at home is with play dough. Children love the tactile nature of play dough so this is a particularly successful method if your child is still getting to drips with using a pencil. Taking the play dough, let your child roll the dough into the required letter shapes – it is helpful if they are able to see the letters or words to reference while moulding so write it down on a piece of paper to have in front of them (or use magnetic letters). Their engagement in this activity leads to positive reinforcement of the spellings, aiding their learning without it feeling like work.

3. Pyramids

For children who enjoy holding a pencil and practicing their writing, using the pyramid method can really help them to learn spellings that they are struggling to remember, particularly with the formation of the words. Begin at the top of the pyramid by writing the first letter of the word. Underneath, write the first and second letter of the word. Continue this method adding one letter with each row until you have the full word. This repetition is particularly helpful for recalling the letter order in complicated spellings.

4. Rainbow writing

Everyone responds well to colour and since rainbows are particularly beautiful, children love to use this method to practice their spellings. Using a pencil first, ask your child (or you can do the first one) to write out the word on a piece of plain paper. Then let them choose three coloured pencils. Taking their first coloured pencil, let them trace over the original word in the colour. They can then repeat this with the other two colours. If it’s a particularly tricky word, allow them to choose as many colours as they like – the more it is repeated, the more likely it is to stick in their memory.

5. Across and down

Another favourite for the more difficult spellings, using the across and down method can help children to remember the structure of certain words and prevent them from mixing up the sequence of the letters. This process requires writing the word as normal on a piece of paper. Then, working down from the first letter write the word vertically. You can repeat this a few times to encourage memory and it works well alongside the other methods we have outlined above.

Learning spellings doesn’t have to be boring! We would love to know how you get on – remember to tag us in your posts.

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