If you’re like us, you’ve settled into the start of a new school year – either in class or at home, and have weekly spelling lists for your child to learn. Spelling lists are often boring and a lot of families think there’s just no way around it. Kids end up hating it and dreading ‘spelling tests’ (if you’re at a school that still does them).
For that reason, we try to mix up our spelling and reading words practise. You can do these activities for early word recognition lists for young children (hello ‘golden words’) and spelling lists for older children. The key is really trying a few out and seeing what your child enjoys and what makes sense to them.
So, here’s a few of our favourite activities to make spelling fun.
Hit the word
This was a winner for my son when he started school. He is not a kid who sits happily at a desk for long periods, so I’d tape his words from his reading lists around the house and yard, call them out one at a time, and he’d run around with either a ball or a nerf gun, shooting the right words. Now he’s onto spelling lists, we play a bit of down ball while he is spelling them out loud. He likes the rhythm of the tennis ball on the ground as he’s spelling them out. He does also need to write them down, but he does some on paper and some with chalk on the ground.
The above picture does a pretty good job at explaining this one. It is great for breaking down a word to make it more achievable and memorable.
- Scrabble spelling
If you have a game of Scrabble at home, work out the letter values for the words that appear on your child’s spelling or reading list. You can ask them to help you locate the letter tiles, then they can work out the ‘value’ of their word. How much is their entire spelling list ‘worth’? We love it when literacy and numeracy come together!
- Combine words and pictures
This one particularly appeals to younger, visual learners. These are magnetic letters from the fridge, but you could also write the words on coloured paper. For animals, we used some animal wooden puzzle pieces. You could make a scavenger hunt from your child’s word list, writing them out then finding actual items or pictures of items to match. Don’t worry if the words aren’t nouns, they could find examples of the word in magazines or newspapers or pictures of things they would use any adjectives on their list to describe.
Create a story
This one is perfect for the creative story-tellers out there! It even has a little handwriting practise thrown in. Make a little blank booklet (or use a notepad) and write the list of spelling words at the front. Then: time to create the story. You might want to do this together, or let your child go and do it themselves. The only rule is that it has to include each spelling word at least once. We write the spelling word in a different colour. Encourage your kids to illustrate their story, too.
We’d love to know any tips and tricks you use at your place – let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
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