5 Ways to Teach Spelling Words at Home

Since learning about some problems Kyle has been having at school related to Selective Mutism, we've been diving deep into a lot of his test scores and grades to really see where some of his deficiencies are in the classroom. We learned that he's scoring a full grade level higher in language arts then where he needs to be right now, but that's with extreme highs on one end, and a couple extreme lows on the other. 
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One of the deficiencies was in spelling, and to be fair to Kyle, it really has nothing to do with his inability to spell, but 100% due to Derek and I's lack of sitting down and working on spelling with him each week. That being said, we've made a huge push going into 2020 to be more hands on with Kyle and his weekly spelling tests, and we're happy to report that he's learning his spelling words much easier and faster now. if you have a child who is struggling with spelling, here are 5 spelling lessons you can so at home to help.  
Make a word search: 
Children learn in so many different ways, and word searches help them with seeing, spelling, and learning to read the word. I found an online word search generator that allowed me to paste in his spelling words, make it to the size we wanted, and configure which ways we did and did not want the words to appear in the search, and then it generated the entire thing for us. We set our puzzle up to only show the words going from top to bottom, and from left to right. No diagonals, and no backwards words. The website we love is Word Search Maker.
Since this only gives you the word search, we print out our own list of words separately.  
Spell the words in shaving cream:
Remember how much fun it was to clean your desk with shaving cream in grade school? You can totally do this at home on your kitchen table. Give them a bunch of shaving cream on the table, and then let them have fun spelling their words in the shaving cream with their finger. Yes, it does make a small mess, but it's mostly soap anyways, you child will love it, and it will teach spelling in a fun way, while also reinforcing reading and writing.
Play with your food:
One of the best ways to teach spelling words is with cheerios or another small cereal. Let your child make out the words with the food. This will help them to both read and spell the word, and it's a fun game that crosses off snack time in one fell swoop. 
Mock tests at home:
Kyle definitely has a little bit of test anxiety. When the teacher is saying the words and he has to hurry up and write it as fast as he can he sometimes gets a little frazzled. Practicing at home is a great way to help him feel prepared on test day. 
Recite the Spelling back to parents: 
Lastly, the good old fashion way of simply having your child recite the letters back to you. Spelling is definitely not an everyday endeavor in our house. I find if we do 1-2 fun activities with Kyle, he's usually ready to recite the spelling back to us rather quickly. I also find that simply reciting the spelling back to us helps Kyle recognize spelling patterns, and the sounds in words better than anything else.
Our spelling schedule:
On Monday Kyle's teacher emails us the spelling list. I print it out and make the word search for him. He comes home from school and does his word search, shaving cream, or cheerios spelling. And then I'll verbally quiz him on the words. 
Around Wednesday I'll check in with him to make sure he still knows the spelling, and on Thursday nights we'll do a mock spelling test. 
All of this accounts for maybe 20 minutes of the week and doesn't take much time at all!
I'd love to know how you prepare for spelling tests in your home! Let me know in the comments below. 

1 comment

  1. We always had the kids write their words 3 times each word. And then do that each day. It didn't take them much time to do it. And their handwriting was always being practiced. So it was a double win. Didn't do it with my son, as the school changed how they did spelling words. And it is obvious in his handwriting! :)