Many parents have their kids practice spelling words by reciting them out loud or writing them over and over again. But that can get old quickly! So how can you make spelling practice a little more fun for your child? Here are ten new ways to look at those words.
1. Design Crosswords
Making a puzzle out of your child's spelling words is a great way to help your child connect words to definitions. As Jennifer W.'s daughter attests, she's not only a good speller thanks to the spelling crossword puzzles her mom created for her when she was a kid, but she's also a fan of crossword puzzles! To get started, try Discovery Education's free puzzle maker program for parents and teachers.
2. Create Spelling Puzzles
An easy way to create spelling puzzles for your child is by writing each word on square of construction paper and cutting them apart in unusual patterns. Or you can use a puzzle piece template, like those available on DLTK Kid’s website.
3. Play Word Games
Mom Holly H. helped her first-grader to learn his words by playing word games like "hangman, fill in the missing letters [and] word searches.” When you play hangman with the words, you can give your child an advantage by providing the correct letters and a copy of the spelling list. Then it’s just up to her to figure out which word fits the correct number of blanks. If they’re really stuck, give them the definition of the word as a clue.
4. Take a (Virtual) Trip to SpellingCity.com
SpellingCity.com provides kids with safe, self-directed ways to practice spelling words. As mom Kathleen M. explains, “You can add the spelling list for each week. There are choices to teach, test, and play games with the spelling lists.”
5. Practice Shape Patterns
Practicing shapes patterns of words can be done in a few different ways. You can either draw the shape of the word (for instance, the word “cat” would be two small squares and a tall rectangle) or, as Circle of Moms member Sheila D. suggests, your child can create the word shape with their body. She uses the word “giant” as an example: “g-crouch down...i a n fly like an airplane, t jump up.”
6. Involve the Senses
Another way to help children remember their words is to involve their other senses. For example, one of my children loved to practice spelling words in the bathtub with bath crayons. Samantha V. also relays that they “used shaving cream on the table and a shoe box with sand,” in which her daughter would write her words.
7. Make it Rhythmic
Several moms have also shared that their children learn spelling words better when they set the words to a simple tune or chant them with a rhythm. As Patricia H. puts it, “It makes it more fun and less frustrating."
8. Break Out Art Supplies
There’s no reason your child needs to stick to plain old pencil and paper for writing his words. Moms' suggestions for other, more creative ways to write them down range from using markers in rainbow colors to using finger paints and glitter glue.
9. Build Words With Objects
Amy A. is both a mom and a teacher. Among other things, she suggests letting kids build their spelling words using letter blocks. Member Deborah B. has, at times, had her child do some other types of word-building “like spelling the words [with] different objects” like Halloween candy or pasta.
10. Make Your House a Spelling Factory
Many moms suggest putting Post-it notes all over the house to label common objects. While this may not help your child with their specific spelling list for the week, it will certainly help them to recognize sight words, words they ought to be able to spell without trouble anyway.
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