Spelling words correctly consistently may seem like a skill that is less important than other aspects of developing literacy, but it too has its benefits. Having good spelling skills requires the acquisition of solid memory skills, something that is arguably used in every subject, in every grade level. Knowledge of how spelling patterns work in English helps in developing an understanding of suffixes and prefixes, master syllables, and makes reading new words less scary.
Here is a short list of some of the best and most loved activities to use in the classroom or at home:
Word search puzzles – Thanks to the internet, there are several free word search puzzle generators, so anyone could type in a spelling list and create a fun activity. If the black and white contrast is hard on a young learner, try reprinting the puzzle on a different color. Just make sure it’s light and pastel like pink or a soft yellow.
Finger tracing – Use your index finger to spell the word on a soft surface. Some kids like to spelling out the letters in sand or dirt. For a less messy experience, try filling zip lock bags with frosting, shaving cream, or other thick gooey type substance and having the child trace the words. The plastic keeps hands clean and food coloring could even be added to create fun colors to play with. For older kids, just tracing letters on their skin, like the back of their hand, or different types of fabric works well.
Word pyramids – Write each spelling word one letter at a time. For example, the world ‘five’ might look like this:
There are other fun spelling activities. The most important thing to keep in mind is to encourage the child to have a fun, positive relationship with letters and words. This will help the child form a good attitude and self-esteem about learning to work with words.