Spelling Plan for Active Kids

by Melissa on February 22, 2010

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:

  1. Write letters on index cards: a, d, n, s, t. Cut them up.
  2. Say, “Use two letters to make at.
  3. 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.
  4. Say, now add a letter to make sat. (Repeat step 3)
  5. Remove a letter to make at.
  6. Change a letter tomake an.
  7. Add a letter to make tan.
  8. Add a letter to make Stan.
  9. 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.

{ 5 comments }

Claudia February 28, 2010 at 5:15 am

Ditto about “Making Words” being a fun activity. It’s fast, hands on, and fun. I am able to implement the activities from the Making Words book with my two children that I home school . Keep up the good info.

Melissa March 18, 2010 at 1:27 am

I’m so glad you found it helpful!

Megan March 22, 2010 at 11:19 am

At my school when I was a kid we had this wonderful, wonderful facility called the Writing to Read Lab. From kindergarten until eighth grade we had a lab a few hours a week for just creative writing.

There was no editing, no criticism, no sharing, it was just a few hours for creating. Very cool, and that way, before we could spell at all, we would write and imagine and play.

My spelling caught up, I think. But even if it hadn’t, they found a way to invent spell check but not creative writing check. So I am glad I got the skill that is unrepeatable and un-duplicatable and unsystematic.
.-= Megan´s last blog ..Hamburgers and Helpful Disclosures | The Secret of the Resistant Readers Part 4 =-.

Melissa March 30, 2010 at 6:12 pm

That lab was so amazing. Miss Nicholson really knew what she was doing. After all of my classes in education, and all the books I’ve read I realized more and more how gifted she was and how tuned in to what kids really need to be successful and creative!

Melissa March 30, 2010 at 6:12 pm

That lab was so amazing. Miss Nicholson really knew what she was doing. After all of my classes in education, and all the books I’ve read I realized more and more how gifted she was and how tuned in to what kids really need to be successful and creative!