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Fun Ways to learn spelling words

Let's Make Spelling Fun

Let's make weekly spelling lists a fun challenge & not a Chore - children love to "win"!

This blog is the STEP 2: Fun Spelling  in the "Coping with the Weekly Spelling List" series

Let's Talk 

Spelling List Fun 

Speech TherapistDr Sandra McMahon PhD

Make weekly spelling lists a fun challenge and not a Chore - children love to win! Fun spelling approaches can make all the difference.

Research has shown that looking at “My score before I try to learn them”  is vital. Comparing this score to at the end of the week after practising can give the child a sense of achievement (“My After-Practise Score”) (Wallace, 2006). See our “Look How Many Works I Can Spell this Week” In the Spelling List Helper Package.  The FREE printable gives an easy to use template to record before and after practise scores. It includes a fun ‘graph” for your child to colour. This provides visual  feedback to show them their progress. See the instructions on the Free printable below.

Fun Spelling challenges you can incorporate into spelling routines include:

  • Challenge of Accuracy
  • Challenge of Speed

a challenge of accuracy 


Why does it work?

Parents & Child might be pleasantly surprised just how many they do know!

You immediately know which words to work more on.

​Even if they don’t get all 10 right at the end of the week you can make a big deal of the improvement they have made! 

Use the graph on the printable as it can give a visual image of success! Let the child fill it in as it can be really motivating! Graphs are fun spelling devices to set up personal goals.

What if a child needs extra motivation? Sometimes I lower the target goal. rather than aiming for a 10/10  a lower target it set e.g., I will put a star at say “4 correct” and set up an easily achievable challenge. I suggest they try to beat where I put my Star by the end of the week.  If they get above my “star” they are the “winners”!  This makes fun spelling challenges rather than setting challenges they feel they are unlikely to achieve.

Have a look at the attached printable. The instructions indicates that the CHILD SHOULD MARK THEIR OWN first attempt. Self-correcting their first spelling attempts themselves  immediately draws their attention to the correct spelling. If only you “mark” it, then they are “not learning from their mistakes”. Once they have "marked" it you can go through it with them. This ensures they have marked it correctly and  to provides an opportunity to point out the good things they got right.

a challenge of speed 


Another fun spelling approach you can use to set up the challenge of a PB (personal best) is to time how QUICKLY they can spell all the words correctly. Remember to reduce the challenge if a child is struggling with a list (e.g.,make it how quickly they can spell half the words). Speed challenges are best once the child seems to have the correct spelling. The aim is then for fast, neat and accurate spelling! You can record their time on the FREE printable in the FREE Spelling List Helper Package.   Can they beat their own time over several attempts?

Why does it work?

In nearly all learning work I do I will incorporate a “how quickly can you do it” component. This is because for us to do something, respond quickly to something, we have to know how to that something really, really well. If a child can write their spelling words down very quickly (including a check over), then you know the spelling is moving into the automatic phase of learning. 

​It is not functional for an adult to “think” about how to spell every single word we type or write. It would be impossible to survive in today’s text and written communication world.  Achieving speed alongside accuracy helps automatic recall of spelling. We can do this by combing the speed challenge with the accuracy challenge. You can tell the child that their time only ends once all the target words are spelt correctly. 

Fun Spelling challenges that are only about speed may encourage "I've done so it's done attitudes". This discourages the very important step of checking or reading over work.  If they incorporate accuracy with speed the goal of spelling is maintained. You can build up their "checking" skills by stepping up your expectation on them. For example, you could

a) tell them the exact word that is incorrect and suggest they find the error,
b) as they improve tell them it is one of 2 or 3 words that is spelt wrong and they need to find which one it is and fix it;

c) as their confidence builds you can just say one in the list is incorrect and they have to fix it before you stop the timer.

This builds in the very important step of "checking" their work.


HELP IS HERE!

THE WEEKLY SPELLING LISTS

​ HELPER PACKAGE 

​FREE HERE!


WHERE CAN YOU FIND HELP?


> BRISBANE & SPRINGFIELD LAKES AREAS: INDIVIDUAL & GROUP THERAPY AT SPEECHNET

​> HOME / SCHOOL / CHILDCARE / EDUCATIONAL CENTRE VISITS 

​> SKYPE / FACETIME SPEECH THERAPY

WE'RE HERE TO HELP!


AS A PARENT YOU WANT

THE BEST YOU CAN

FOR YOUR CHILDREN 

SEE WHY

 THE SPEECHNET TEAM

CAN HELP!


Research has shown that the early years at school are extremely important. Children quickly get a mind set of whether school is hard or fun. Early intervention is key to keep the love of learning that will be important for all their schooling. 

SpeechNet therapists are experienced in working with this age group in relation to; 

Speech and language difficulties, 

Phonological awareness, 

Early reading and spelling development, 

Auditory processing and 

Memory skills -all the necessary components for successful and fun academic achievement. 

We can help with development of these skills and assist in the liaison with your child’s school to ensure optimum support for your child.

As we have dedicated speech pathologist that work in schools, we have experience in educational settings. 

Learning support and teaching staff are invited to call us to ask questions or enquire how we can provide support in your schools

Spelling list helper

ARRGHHH!! Weekly Spelling Lists -

A Blog series on how to HELP with Spelling and NOT just memorising skills

Let's Talk 

Spelling Lists 

Speech TherapistDr Sandra McMahon PhD

​“It’s only week 3!  How are we going to cope with these weekly spelling lists and tests ALL term!” a mum of a Grade 2 child, with the dreaded spelling list in hand, cried as she entered my clinic this week.

Many parents (and young students) feel overwhelmed with having to learn a list of seemingly unrelated words EVERY week!

Are you looking for a better way to REALLY help your child learn spelling. Something better than having the children memorize words for a Friday Spelling test only for them to forget them next week. They can write them in the list but can't seem to spell  the very same words in a sentence! 

This blog series “Coping with the Weekly Spelling Lists”

will provide you with useful steps to build routines

that will make managing spelling lists easier for all involved!


Step 1: Check your child actually 

a) Can read the words

b) Can say the words correctly, and

c) Know the meaning of the words

can they read the words?


It is no surprise that there are some links between reading skills and spelling skills.

Reading and spelling do actually use different but related mental processes (decoding vs encoding). This is why some children might be great readers but may not be great at spelling? 

Ask the child to read the words.

Spelling is likely to be more difficult if they cannot read the words.

Observe which words they read easily and which ones they had to “sound out”, try a couple of times to get it right or asked for help with.

Ask your child to look closely at the letters and the sounds they make for all the “hard to read” words.  Begin spelling the words they can read easily while you consolidate their reading of the “harder” words.

can they say the words?


Sometimes children may say words back to themselves incorrectly.

They may mix the letters up or leave out parts of the words (e.g., they may say “hopital” for “hospital”; “dok” for “dog”).

They are likely to make the same mistakes in spelling as in saying the words (e.g., spelling it by leaving out the sounds or mixing up the letters).

Ask the child to rehearse saying the word helping them to emphasis the correct order of the sounds or making sure all the syllables are said clearly.

Clapping out longer words to make sure all the syllables are included can help (e.g., re– mem – ber)

This is particularly relevant if the child has had speech delays in the past or currently have speech difficulties (e.g., dyspraxia). 

It is important to check to see if the child has residual speech errors.

Common errors such as saying the “th” sound as a “f” sound often comes out in a child’s spelling (e.g., saying or spelling “think” as “fink”).

Another common residual error is saying a “w” for “r” (e.g., “red” is said as “wed”). Even an untreated lisp (an incorrect production of the “s” sound) can impact on spelling.

If your child is over 5-6 years of age, then all speech sounds should have matured. Contact us at SpeechNet Speech Pathology if you feel a speech screen is required to “fix” up these last speech sound errors before they appear in the child's spelling.

do they know the meaning of all the words?


Check they know the meaning of all the words. Ask them “what is a ______” or “Tell me what ________ means”. Even if you think they know the meaning of the word, check! 

You could be surprised what words they don’t “really” know the meaning of. Sometimes they may have an idea but it may not be spot on. Even grammar or site words carry meaning e.g., “she” refers to a girl/ lady/ female

The research has shown that there is a strong link between literacy skills and vocabulary skills. Children with a history of delayed language that “catch-up” in the pre-school years, sometimes find language difficulties “re-emerge” in the school years.

This is because each year of school requires higher and higher level language skills – more vocabulary, more abstract vocabulary and  higher expectations to learning things faster.

This can then involve having to read and spell more complex words!  A lot of people that see children having problems with spelling do not think about how “language” skills could be dragging the spelling backwards.

Speech Pathologists can do vocabulary tests and language tests to eliminate these factors as affecting literacy and /or can provide therapy sessions to bolster language skills.


HELP IS HERE!

THE WEEKLY SPELLING LISTS

​ HELPER PACKAGE 

​FREE HERE!


WHERE CAN YOU FIND HELP?


> BRISBANE & SPRINGFIELD LAKES AREAS: INDIVIDUAL & GROUP THERAPY AT SPEECHNET

​> HOME / SCHOOL / CHILDCARE / EDUCATIONAL CENTRE VISITS 

​> SKYPE / FACETIME SPEECH THERAPY

WE'RE HERE TO HELP!


AS A PARENT YOU WANT

THE BEST YOU CAN

FOR YOUR CHILDREN 

SEE WHY

 THE SPEECHNET TEAM

CAN HELP!


Research has shown that the early years at school are extremely important. Children quickly get a mind set of whether school is hard or fun. Early intervention is key to keep the love of learning that will be important for all their schooling. 

SpeechNet therapists are experienced in working with this age group in relation to; 

Speech and language difficulties, 

Phonological awareness, 

Early reading and spelling development, 

Auditory processing and 

Memory skills -all the necessary components for successful and fun academic achievement. 

We can help with development of these skills and assist in the liaison with your child’s school to ensure optimum support for your child.

As we have dedicated speech pathologist that work in schools, we have experience in educational settings. 

Learning support and teaching staff are invited to call us to ask questions or enquire how we can provide support in your schools