Spelling is an important tool in a child’s vocabulary but it is often overlooked. Learning proper spelling for a young child is often an easy task, if you and your child are willing to put forth the effort. Spelling words will always be sent home, week after week, and learning the spelling words at an early age will make spelling that much easier in the future.
Spelling words are generally sent home in a weekly list, 10 or 15 words at a time, depending on your child’s age and grade. Going over the spelling words doesn’t have to be time consuming if you spread out the work over the week instead of cramming it all into one day. Ask your child which way they prefer to practice their spelling words, by writing them or speaking them aloud. (While the tests are mostly written, my son prefers to practice spelling by speaking his spelling words aloud).
Take the extra time to use them in a sentence. This is something we both do, and it is a fun way to incorporate the spelling words into every day vocabulary. Often I find my son doesn’t truly understand the meaning of his spelling words, so using them in a sentence is an easy way to make the word more understandable.
Practice the day of the test for a quick refresher. We usually try to go over Tyler’s spelling words on the car ride to school. If we are pressed for time we will just highlight the spelling words he had trouble with. If your child rides the bus, try quizzing them at breakfast. This quick refresher puts the spelling words at the forefront of their mind. This is especially good with troublesome words.
Use positive reinforcement and offer rewards. This is a really simple way to help your child be proud of all the work they put in during the week on their spelling words, and it doesn’t have to be anything major or expensive. A 100% on a spelling test gets left up on the refrigerator. At school, if they receive a 100% on their practice test they don’t have to take the actually spelling test and can play on the computer while the rest of the class is testing (that was great motivation!) We will often stop for ice cream on Friday’s after school, but rewards can also be simple. Once the reward Tyler chose was him getting to pick the character I had to race with on Mario Kart Wii! (Of course he chose a slow, hard to maneuver character, but losing the race was worth it for me to see him spell all his spelling words correctly!)
Spelling is an important tool in vocabulary and reading, and it is a building block your child will lean on the rest of the school years. A healthy foundation now is the best investment you can give them and all they need for a strong sense of spelling is a little practice and a little time.