Best Ways to Help Kids Learn Spellings
- Feb 11, 2015
“How do you spell the word aunty?” asked my neighbor to her three-year-old daughter, during her birthday celebrations. The little child smiled confidently and spelled it out, ‘A, U, N, T, Y’. The assembled guests at the party were impressed with the toddler’s prompt reply. After all, spellings are not much popular with kids, are they? But this kid was a smart one. And no doubt, her parents had already started encouraging her to be good at spellings.What about your child? Does he groan every time you ask him to spell out words? Have you tried to check what kind of a relationship your child shares with ‘words’? I have noticed how a majority of kids have a tough time memorizing certain words. For some, this struggle continues only till the third standard. But, the bitter truth is, spellings continue to resemble bitter pills for some kids even till their young teenage years. It’s true!
But, how do kids learn spellings? Is it by visualizing every letter of a word they have heard or read about somewhere? Or, do they associate letters with sounds of our speech, that’s known as ‘phonemes’? Well, the answer is: both! Let me help you with some of the best ways to help kids learn spellings:
- Practice it regularly: Practice makes a man perfect. Ensure that your child practices spellings regularly. Schedule a specific time limit, for instance at least fifteen minutes every day when he can practice lessons on spellings. You can use a kid’s dictionary to guide your kids. Choose simple words, but whose spellings tend to confuse most kids. Ask your child to look at a word and copy it in his notebook. Then, ask him to repeat writing the same word without looking at the book. He must repeat writing it till the time he finally gets it right.
- Encourage systematic learning: Trying to learn ten new words at a go might be taxing for children. Employ a learning strategy that works best for your kids and brings out the best in them. Avoid teaching more than three, or a maximum of four words to your kids. Make a list of the words they are learning with every passing day, and let them revise the words they have learnt the previous day. This enables the young learners to remember whatever they learn and make a quick recall as well. It also retains their interest in learning new spellings.
- Let them revise: Revision is a powerful tool for effective learning, dear parents. You might have just applauded yourself secretly when your six-year-old son learnt five new spellings in fifteen minutes, but trust me, it’s not enough! I mean, though his brain has absorbed that information, it also needs to process it. Only then would those spellings be permanently registered in his memory. Ask your kid to spell out words he has learnt before. Or, to write them down, which would be better. Why not ask him to spell the words he learnt at school that very day?
- Help use the words they’ve practiced: Has your kid already learnt more than twelve words? And has he been practicing them regularly too? Now, assist him in using the words he has learnt in everyday conversations. If your child in unable to implement those words, try to ask him questions that he must answer by using the words he has learnt! You can refer to the list you made, of all the new words you have been teaching your kid, for assistance. When you help your kids utilize their lessons in real life, they would discover that learning is fun.
- Use ‘trace, copy, recall’ technique: Be the best teacher and motivate your child to enjoy learning spellings today. Take a piece of paper and make three columns named ‘trace’, ‘copy’ and finally, ‘recall’. Choose any new word alien to your kid. Next, write it down in the column named ‘trace’. Now ask your child to trace every letter of this word. Then, in the next column named ‘copy’, make him copy that word by following what he had written when he traced the word. Finally tell him to hide the initial two columns and recollect the spelling of that word.
- Record ‘spelling sessions’: Kids love to have fun as they learn! Next time they spell out words accurately, record them. Use your tape recorder or the voice recording option in your cellphone to do so. Another interesting way to spice up your kid’s spelling sessions is to use video recording. Ask your kid to spell out some words, and record him in action. You can make him wear something funny or use amusing props to add to the ‘fun’ quotient. The funnier the recordings are, the quicker your children would be able to recall these spellings in the next session!
- Let kids write more: Expressing their emotions innocently is something almost every kid admires! So, urge your tiny pranksters to do so in the most creative way. Encourage them to write freely about the things or people they love the most. Or, find amusing. Your kids can write a short passage about their first day in school, or their best friend. If they are unable to produce a paragraph, ask them to express their thoughts in one or two sentences. While they are writing, don’t help them with the spellings. If they miss-spell words, teach them the right spelling.
- Motivate them to read: Last but certainly not the least, motivate your kids to read at least twice a week. If your child is fond of fairytales, gift him ‘Aesop’s Fables’, or ‘Cinderella’. And, if he is fond of magic and fiction, buy him the Harry Potter series! Yes, your kid might be too young to pronounce certain words penned by its creator, J.K. Rowling. Nevertheless, I’m sure your kids would scream with delight when they catch sight of them. You can also read out the books to your kids, highlighting and teaching them spellings as you continue reading each page. Reading is one of the best study hacks to improve memory and works wonders for learning spellings!
I am pretty certain your kids would fall in love with spellings, if you follow these simple yet unique tips of mine. Kids love indulging in games and some fun. So why not introduce a degree of “coolness” into their spelling sessions?
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