This post is for the parent who has worked really hard to make sure that their child has been able to tap in to their creativity when writing.
You haven’t wanted to stop your child with spelling mistakes, because you inherently knew how unbelievably important it is for beginning writers to get their ideas out on paper.
Your kid loves writing.
And now your child is in third grade or fourth, and their writing is beautiful and funny. They have strong voice and great ideas that are really engaging.
But now you’re feeling a little worried, because the spelling piece isn’t there. You read it would come if they read a lot, because most of the time, avid readers have no problem spelling. But not all of the time. Not this time.
So, I have two little tricks for you that can help your child have fun while learning to recognize patterns in words to improve their spelling: making words and word sorts.
Here are the steps:
- Write letters on index cards: a, d, n, s, t. Cut them up.
- Say, “Use two letters to make at.
- Watch them make the word, and then use it in a sentence. Have your child read the word and use it in a sentence. Write the word on an index card.
- Say, now add a letter to make sat. (Repeat step 3)
- Remove a letter to make at.
- Change a letter tomake an.
- Add a letter to make tan.
- Add a letter to make Stan.
- See what word you can make with all of the letters (stand).
After you’ve made all of the letters, you can sort the words together, and point out patterns. Find all of the words that have the same pattern as Stan. Align the words and then show how you can transfer that knowledge they have about the pattern to help them spell other words. Ask them to spell man and bam and Fran. It will be exciting, becasue they’ll know how to spell words they didn’t necessarily know how to spell before.
If you’ve never tried this before, it might not read like fun, but trust me, it really is.
You can find more activities like these in any of the Making Words books by Cunningham and Cunningham. They have done a lot of innovative developmental research, and it’s helped so many students explore word patterns letter sound correspondences, and the activities they share in their books are user-friendly and developmentally appropriate. They have books for children at all levels, and they have tons of fun lessons that really help kids become better spellers. Good luck!
Takeaway Tip: Try it! It might work!
Invitation: Would love to hear if this worked for your kiddo. Or, if it didn’t, would love to hear about a plan that works for you!
Melissa is the founder of Tandem Teaching and teaches in the inner-city. She blogs weekly about tips parents can implement to enhance their connection with their children and ways to bring out their children’s inherent gifts. Contact her for a private consulting session.