Help your kids ace their next spelling test with these simple ideas.

So this weekend saw my son bring home his 30th spelling test of the year – or it felt like that anyway. He’s a pretty good speller and generally learns them just by writing them out which is quite a common method. However, this doesn’t work for everyone, and if you’re concerned about your child’s spelling, then the solution may just be as simple as trying a different method.

Does spelling matter?

In my time as an English teacher, I have known a small minority of pupils who cannot spell, but whose writing is fantastic regardless of this. That said, in an exam setting (sorry to bring everything back to this), with a much bigger focus on accuracy, persistent spelling errors will significantly affect the overall grade.

As the picture below shows, sometimes replacing a tricky word with a simpler synonym can overcome the problem. Great idea…. Although if this is done more than a couple of times, the writing becomes overly simple creating the impression that the writer has a poor vocabulary.

 

It’s pretty obvious that spelling does matter.

What can you do?

As I have already mentioned, different methods work for different people. Try some of the following:

  1. Conventional method: write the word out correctly three times.
  2. The speaker: spell the word out loud 3 times. My son tried this method a few weeks ago and it really didn’t work for him, but I’ve known people who find this method very helpful, again proving  that different methods work for different people.
  3. The puzzler: this is my personal favourite because it helps the learner to comprehend the meaning of the word as well as the spelling itself (quite frankly, if you don’t know what it means, you’ll never need to spell it!). The method involves you preparing a puzzle, such as a crossword of the words to be learnt. This may sound horrifyingly time consuming,, but in actual fact there are various websites  which makes this very quick and simple. Perhaps a little more time on your part, but it’s definitely worth it.
  4. Make it! For this method you will need foam letters or magnetic fridge letters. Simply use the letters to spell the words rather than using a pen and paper – it’s that simple. A great one for kinaesthetic learners.
  5. Reading: again, this is not the case for everyone, but generally children who read tend to make fewer errors with spelling (and punctuation). This is simply because it exposes them to accurate writing which then transfers naturally to their own work (as is true with many other things).
  6. Mnemonics, acronyms and rhyme, e.g: rhythm: rhythm, helps, your, two, hips, move These can be great fun, but as a method is limited to a few specific words.

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Thanks for reading!