How to Teach Your Child to Spell?

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Growing up and learning how to communicate with your kid is very exciting. At that phrase of their life, learning is a continuous process, there is no end to it. Learning how to spell and ultimately to read and write could be fun but sometimes difficult for Kids.

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At some points they will want to give up on themselves. At this point, learning how to spell shouldn’t be based on a child’s intelligence but an important fundamental skill to master.

Most children begin to show this knowledge around age 3-5 years. Issues ranging from memorizing or forgetting words, mixing up of letters, or even after scoring perfectly at their spelling test, they fail to carry over the knowledge to reading and writing. I guess this is where the parent should step up by not only allowing the teachers in school do the work.

When such issues are unsolved, these poor spelling habits will follow these kids as their vocabulary grows and as they move into higher grades at school and we as parents won’t want that to happen. Learning English spellings could be a tricky, and an uneasy process.

Therefore, forcing an activity on them or making it over-demanding only serves to intensify the child’s negative feelings about it.

If you desire to teach your child spelling outside of a schooling environment, the learning process should be made interesting, motivational and fun. Their overall confidence and skills should be improved.

The overall importance of teaching spellings is so that your child can write accurately, and his reading will improve.

Common Spelling Mistakes

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Not that some children don’t know how to spell but they tend to follow the pronunciation of some words when spelling .

Some common spelling mistakes are:

  • Wrong consonant (e.g., spelling cat as kat, or car as kar). Even as such the cat is transcribed as /kɑt/. The transcription (pronunciation) is with k but the spelling is c.
  • Wrong vowel (e.g., spelling seat as seet): The children tend to miss the spelling because of the pronunciation forgetting that the seat carries the long vowel sound /I:/. That is /si:t/
  • Leaving out consonants (e.g., spelling kicking as kiking)
  • Leaving out a vowel (e.g., spelling teacher as techer)
  • Writing only one consonant, when a consonant should be doubled (e.g, spelling address as addres, accident as acident, butter as buter,)
  •   Reversing letters (e.g., spelling foil as fiol)
  •  Leaving out the” silent e” (e.g., spelling kite as kit)
  •  Using ys instead of ies (e.g., cherrys instead of cherries)
  •  Using an “s” instead of a “c” or a “c” instead of an “s” e.g., absense instead of absence; or offence instead of offense; sense a sence
  •  Rules like “i before e except after c” e.g., spelling deceive, receive, receipt, piece
  • Mixing similar sounds – peace as pies: world and word

Learning rules

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There are 26 letters, and 44 generally agreed sounds in English language. Also, there’s a difference between British and American spelling.

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Many children might be able to retain the letters and sequence of a word for a few minutes, but 30 minutes later, the information would have disappeared from their brains.

Here are a few rules to help in the learning process.

  1. Teach the sounds and not only letters: Words are made of sounds, not letter. Phonics is a method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and the symbols. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound. Even before attempting to spell, children must know how to properly pronounce a word. If their pronunciation is not wrong, they will spell it just as the same way they would pronounce it.
  2. Group words with similar spelling patterns together in a list. For example, cutter, mutter, gutter, butter, etc.
  3. Understand each word: Help your child to understand each word. They should know what the word means and can use it or understand it when they hear it. For example, there are homonyms and homographs. Homonyms words are words that sound alike but have different meanings. E.g., pear (fruit) and pair (couple). Homographs words are words that are spelt the same but have different meanings, e.g., lie (untrue) and lie (lie down).
  4. Take it step by step: Learning is a process. If your child can only remember half of the words in a spelling list, it is recommended that the list should be reduced so that your child has fewer words to learn more efficiently and comfortably.  You cannot deal with an entire spelling list in one review. Simple suggestions such as shorter periods of learning with greater frequencies are more effective. Ensure to build on repetition.

Understand the levelyour child is. You must build a strong, balanced foundation. Level by level, grow from the basis and basic rules of spelling. Upgrade from one syllabic words to two and three, etc.

Do no jump to complicated words. This might confuse the child.      

  • Capitalize on the child’s amazing visual memory: Children learn much faster with what they see and hear at the same time. Encourage children to say out words aloud and spell them out loud. It helps them internalize the correct order of the letters, using their ears as well as their eyes.  Coloured books have long lasting visual impacts in the mind of children. Also, this helps them to develop auditory and vocal skills. Good spellers are often good readers and good speakers.
  • Make Use of the Internet: Play online spelling games for kids is a thrilling way to teach your child. Online spelling games are specially designed to aid learning for all grades among children. The spelling lessons are colourful, interactive and highly engaging for young learners. They are fun filled with low pressures and demands.
  • Practice: To start studying, a child should look at the word, pronounce it, spell it orally, cover the word with his hand, and then attempt to spell it. The law of repetition leaves a deep and lasting impression. Make it a fun filled experience by trying out various spelling games.

Rhyming words is another game that can build spelling skills. E.g, word that rhymes with thin- thing, tin, etc. The child, while trying to recall will begin to explore various options and answers. ‘Stair steps’ is another game to help in memorising. 

Words are added letter by letter, e.g. spell the word ‘travel’. Like T, TR, TRA, TRAV, TRAVE, TRAVEL.

At other times, letter could be omitted or left blank for filing in by the child or mixed up for re-arrangement. E.G. T_AVEL or TRVELA (to rearrange)

Other games include word scramble games, word search games, crazy fish game, etc.

 Conclusion

Conclusively, every child or student is different and has distinct ways of learning. Children with dyslexia (a learning disability characterized by reading and writing difficulty) may have a hard time spelling word.

Every parent should embrace his/her child’s weakness and strengths.

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Remember, not all trees planted the same day grow equally. Patience is a key ingredient in helping the young ones develops their spelling skills.

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Ehikioya Hope
making my mark in the digital world, one post at a time.
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