Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Top 5 Ways to Improve your Child's Spelling

1. Read. A lot.

There's just no substitute for reading when it comes to learning new words or to spelling familiar ones. The more practice your child has sounding words out and seeing them in context, the faster they will memorize the spelling of those words. As your child beings to read more fluently, memorization-- not phonics-- is the way they get through the text. The more words they memorize, the more they will be able to read and spell with accuracy. 

2. Learn cursive.

A lot of schools are cutting cursive from their curriculum, but there are many benefits to teaching your child cursive at home. For many students, cursive is the answer to spelling woes. Cursive activates different parts of the brain than writing by print. This combined use of fine motor skills and reading skills helps some students learn to spell words with fewer mistakes. The children are no longer thinking about the words letter by letter, but as a whole. They are not "drawing" disjointed letters, but  smoothly flowing complete words onto the lines. The fluid, forward-movement of cursive writing also helps prevent letter reversals and encourages proper spacing between words.

3. Do Crossword Puzzles.

When your child answers the riddle to a crossword puzzle, they need to fit the answer into the space provided. They must assess the number of spaces, and check to see if their word fits. They must spell the word one letter at a time, making sure that there is one character for every available block. There is also a built-in spell checker, because future answers will not fit correctly if they make a spelling error! This is a fun, interactive way for your child to practice spelling without even realizing it. You can buy a book of crossword puzzles, or make a custom puzzle using their spelling lists from school using one of the many websites that generate puzzles for free!

4. Learn mnemonics.

"There is a rat in separate." "An island is land surrounded by water." Little sayings like these come in handy when a word doesn't follow traditional phonics rules. They're easy to remember, and they give all the clues you need to spell tricky words. Your child might even remember the mnemonic better if they make up their own!

5. Write often, and with confidence.

It is important that children pair reading with writing. The combination helps to build both skills. try asking your child to respond in a journal after their daily reading. You could even make up a simple essay question for them to answer. Children should learn when to use their texts as a reference when writing, going back to the book to look up the spelling of a unique and unfamiliar name. Try giving your child a list of words to use in their response. When they are able to reference some of the words they are writing, they will feel confident knowing that those words are correct. Gaining the confidence to try is half the battle!

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