Tips to Help Your Child with Spelling
A student once asked his teacher how he could look up a spelling word if he couldn’t spell: He made an excellent point. Many intelligent people find no logic in their sometimes phonetic and sometimes rule driven English language. An English speaking child that has a learning disability (LD) in spelling, would most likely spell successfully in a purely phonetic language such as Spanish. Help awaits the child that isn’t a natural at spelling, and the help is not for the LD child only. The following tips may not turn your child into the Rembrandt of the National Spelling Bee, but it can certainly bring up those spelling grades.
Helping Your Child Succeed in Spelling
It’s time to add a new spin on the old “memorize and quiz” method of spelling practice. Understanding how your child learns is the first step to helping him succeed. Everyone learns through three of their senses. In the field of education, we call them modalities:
Visual learners gather information by sight and remember what they see. Auditory learners remember what they hear and kinesthetic learners learn by touch. Most people learn through all three modalities with one being stronger than the other two. The next time you help your child with spelling practice see if you can figure out how he learns by using some of these techniques.
Spelling Practice for Visual Learners
Try this method to determine if your child is a visual learner:
“Let’s try a new way of memorizing your spelling words. I want you to think of your eyes as a camera. You can actually take pictures with your eyes. I’m going to give you 10 minutes to practice the words, but instead of just thinking in your brain about how the words are spelled, I want you to also take a picture of each word with your camera eyes, so when you take your spelling test, you’ll remember what the words look like.”
When you quiz your child, first remind him to think about how the words look. If your child does exceptionally well with this method, you’ll know he’s a visual learner.
Spelling Practice for Auditory Learners
Try this method to determine if your child is an auditory learner:
Kids love hearing how they sound on a recording. Let your child record himself practicing his spelling words and have him play the recording back. Make it even more fun by practicing the words with him. Record and listen to your voice. After your child takes his practice quiz, have him give the quiz to you. Your child will love it if you miss a couple of words. Choose the words he has the most difficulty spelling. When he corrects your spelling, it reinforces the correct way to spell them. You can even get a little silly about it. Having fun is a great way to reinforce learning.
Spelling Practice for Kinesthetic Learners
If your child is a “touchy-feely” child, he’s/she’s probably a kinesthetic learner. There are many fun ways for the kinesthetic learner to practice their spelling words:
- Spell the words with play dough
- Write the words with chalk on the sidewalk, in sand or by using Scrabble letter tiles
- Place dry jello or some cake mix in a pan to write the words in with him/her finger. Let your child taste the mix after each word is spelled correctly
Try all of these methods and learn how your child gathers and remembers information. If you have trouble deciding on one learning modality, use them all for spelling practice. The more fun you can make it; the better your child’s success. Before long, he will look forward to practicing his spelling words.
When helping your child study his spelling homework, utilize all of the learning modalities. Try to determine which modality your child’s strength is in and utilize it heavily. These tips can help all learners; not just LD children. Remember that English is not purely phonetic and many successful adults have difficulty with spelling.