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

Sandra McMahon
 

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