Spelling is a bit like learning to swim, or to ride a bicycle, or master a new computer game. But to be honest, it’s a lot more difficult because we are always finding words to learn that don’t follow any particular rule!
Did you know? English spelling is the most irregular of all the languages in the world. But learning to spell well is a skill worth acquiring and it’s an effort worth making.
Ten minutes a day – six days a week – a few weeks later you will not be an expert speller but you will be a very good one, and this is an advantage that will last a lifetime.
Our spelling list is based on words that are listed in the national curriculum as being appropriate for children to know by the end of each year. The word-lists for years 3 and 4 and years 5 and 6 are statutory.
What can you do to help?
Clarify the meaning. (Point out this is one of our Reciprocal Reading Strategies)
Is there anything unusual about the spelling or anything they think might be difficult to remember. They can overwrite the 'hard spot' in the word with a different colour pen. This should make it stand out and therefore be easier to memorise visually.
Talk about ways to remember the spelling. It could be a related or similar word or part of a word, broken down etc.
Some children may need to draw around the outline of the word. This helps to fix the image of the word-shape in the mind. They look away and try to 'see' the word in their mind's eye. They could write the word in bubble letters.
To learn the spellings get them to say it, then they cover the word and try to 'see' the word again and then write it. They check and if it's correct they can tick it. Then they write it again, to make sure they weren't just lucky the first time!
If they get the spelling wrong, they cross out the bit that was wrong and try to work out why they made that mistake. Then try writing the whole word again.
What if my child already knows these spellings?
CHALLENGE: Encourage your child to find more words connected with the same sounds that they are learning and talk about the similarities and differences. E.g. my, by, lie, high, fortify!
Remember – learning to spell is not just for now:
Learning to spell well is for Life!