10 Ways to improve your child’s spelling

A mom’s role in helping her child read, write and spell is extremely important. And most moms know good spellers make better readers. Here are some fun and helpful ways you can help set your child on the path to word success!

  1. Play the spelling word memory game: Create a double set of word cards and play a game of spelling word memory by spreading out the cards face down and then taking turns flipping two cards at a time to find a pair.
  2. Play the flip four steps game:  In just four steps, your child can practise reading, spelling and writing their words. Have them flip over a word card, look at the word, say it out loud, say the letters, then flip the card back over and write the word on paper.
  3. Read, read, read: The more your child reads, the more they’ll start soaking up the spelling of words. Remember picture books often have more sophisticated vocabulary than early reader books, so don’t push kids to replace picture books with more “educational” ones.
  4. Practise: Then practise some more. Spelling isn’t something you teach once and move on to something else. It takes ongoing review and repetition.
  5. Do projects that involve words: Make collages where your child cuts out words from a magazine, glues them onto paper and then writes in the filler words to make a story.
  6. Encourage your children to use spellchecker on the computer: While some people see it as a crutch, this is an excellent way for your child to instantly see which words they’ve misspelt. It’s harder for young children who are just learning to spell, as their words may be spelt so incorrectly spellcheck may not be able to insert the correct words, so be sure to assist them.
  7. Play word games: Scrabble, Boggle and hangman are excellent for improving spelling. It’s a fun and easy way to learn difficult words quickly.
  8. Spell and eat: While making breakfast, lunch or dinner have your child spell a word, and after each word is spelt correctly reward them with a small, healthy “treat”.
  9. Surround your child with printed cards: Label your child’s desk, bed, cupboard, fish tank and so forth so they can memorise the words every day.
  10. Rewarding, not punishment, is key: Make sure to reward your kids with praise, stickers, points and the like. This helps keep them motivated. You get much further with positive, rather than negative, reinforcement.

Useful tip: Helping your child with spelling at home requires patience and a nonschool-like setting. Don’t try to be a teacher. Be a parent who teaches. Keep the activities short and fun and do them regularly, with variety.

-Janine Nel

Sources: childdevelopmentinfo.com, teachmama.com, kallikids.com, teaching-reading-fundamentals.com

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