Twelve tips for weekly spellings
Struggling to find a way to make learning those dreaded spellings fun? Here are some ideas for how you can take your child’s spelling list from school, turn learning it into something fun and help those spellings stick!
Check out out our ‘Twelve tips’ for learning your weekly spellings:
1. Hidden words
Write the words from your child’s spelling list hidden in a series When we work with our children on their English skills, we often come up against grammar that we never learned ourselves and this can be daunting. Not many of us studied ‘fronted adverbials’ at school but we can still support our children. Engaging with some of these skills can seem daunting but the more your child practises, the greater will be their toolkit when they come to write.
of letters. For example:
- sfhplayknc – play
- qrubitpdh – bit
- nvbikejfa – bike
Ask your little one to find the hidden word and highlight it. As your child grows older and expands their vocabulary you can also separate the word into two parts.
Play hangman using your child’s weekly spelling (throw in a few from last week to keep them on their guard). They will be learning their spellings even if it’s your turn to guess.
3. Silly sentances
Make up a silly sentence with your child using as many of the words on their spelling list as possible. For example, ‘The boy took his book across the room but got his foot stuck in a hoop.’
Challenge your child to write the sentence.
When learning spellings, particularly when learning tricky words, it can be helpful to pronounce parts of a word that are not usually said, or emphasise unusual parts such as: Wed-nes-day, bus-i-ness, hopp-ed, diff-er-ent, lib-r-ary.
5. Spelling bingo!
The old ones are the best! Print and cut out the words your child has to learn and place the words in a bag. Draw out two or three bingo boards and write some of the spellings in the boxes. Rope in some extra players to join you. Draw the words out of the bag. Every time your child ‘gets’ a spelling word, go through the spelling together and then cover it and ask them to spell it again. Carry on until someone has a full house.
6. Write the words
Get your child to copy out their words a few times. The physical act of writing the words by hand helps to anchor the spelling in children’s memories and encourages them to think about the letters that represent the sounds in the word. You just don’t get the same benefits if children type the words into a PC or tablet.
7. Use a highlighter
Few resources are more motivating than a highlighter pen for primary-aged children. You can focus children’s attention on the tricky bits in a word by asking them to highlight them. For example, show them that receive has ‘ei’ in the middle and ask them to write the word, and then highlight or underline this part to help them remember.
8. Spelling pairs
Create a set of pairs for the spelling words (two cards for each word). Muddle the cards and place them face down. Take turns to search for pairs. When a player has found a pair, cover the words. If the player can spell the word, they get to keep the pair. If not, it goes back down.
9. Mnemonic (that’s a memory device to you and me!)
Make up your own silly mnemonics, such as big elephants can always understand small elephants for ‘because’ for tricky words.
10. Play it back
Record your child spelling out each word on your smartphone or tablet. When you practice them, ask your child to write down each spelling word and then play their own voice reading it back to them. It’s amazing how much this amuses and motivates them.
11. Race against the clock
If your child is competitive, see if you can motivate them by introducing an element of challenge to the world of practising spellings. Using your stopwatch on your phone, time your child as you call out the spelling words and they write them. Make a note of their time and score and then on the following day, challenge them to smash their personal best.
12. Online games
Search for online games that practise spelling, for example Worm Word. Some games allow you to put in and record your own words.