Lots of children find spelling hard. If it gets in the way of your child's enjoyment of reading and writing, there are ways you can help using everyday items.
You can help them by doing the following:
- Spell out words with fridge magnets or letter tiles from word games. Take some letters out and get your child to put the right ones back in the right places.
- Play games with lists of words. Can they put them in alphabetical order using the first letter of a word (e.g. cat, fat, hat, mat and sat)? Or can they do this by the second letter (e.g. bag, beg, big, bog and bug)?
- Give them old newspapers or magazines to play word-finding games for example, get them to highlight or draw a circle round every word that ends with ing, or every word beginning with t. Think up harder versions as your child learns more.
- Draw or cut out pictures of things that have only one letter different (like pen and pin) to help them get used to how different vowels (a,e,i,o,u) work.
- Use a mirror so your child can see how their mouth moves when saying letters that can easily get mixed up when they write them down, like m and w, or p and g.
- Make up games to help your child see the difference between words like tap and tape or hop and hope where the last letter changes the way you say the whole word.
- Get them to play at rearranging letters to make other words (anagrams) out of their name, or other words they know.
More Formal Spelling
Spelling at Jesse Gray
There are lots of different ways to teach children to spell, and we are familiar with the problems of giving children a list of words every week for a spelling test. It is frustrating when the children get 10/10 in the test each week, but can't replicate that in their written work or generalise words from a spelling pattern they've learnt:
Teacher: You've spelled 'small' wrong.
Child: We haven't done that spelling yet.
Teacher: No, but you can spell 'wall', 'call' and 'ball'.
Child: Yeah, but we haven't done 'small' yet.
This is the problem, and here is our solution. In our new spelling scheme, each year group (year 1-5) will have a list of words to learn each half term. The following half term’s list then builds on the previous half term. This should, by the end of the year, give children a wide range of words they can spell reliably. Children will still be tested on spellings regularly, but they will be also given words from lists they have learnt earlier in the year, as well as words that fit into the patterns they have learnt that week.
Spelling will still be taught regularly and will be a mixture of learning rules and how words fit into those rules as well as learning the words that don’t fit into any rules. Some spellings will also be sent home fortnightly, but please encourage your children to learn the rules that are being taught, as well as the words themselves.