Five strategies to help your children improve their spelling skills


Thinking of how to improve your children’s spelling skills?

Here are the five strategies that will help them improve:

1. Introduce the letter sounds. Teaching your child the sounds of each letter (popularly known as Phonics) is the foundation in reading as well as in spelling. When they know the letter sounds, they will know how to read and decode the spelling of a word.

2. Teach phoneme segmentation. Break down the word into individual sounds. For example, if you want your child to spell “can”, break it into its component sounds – /c/, /a/, /n/.

3. Teach word syllabication. Break down long words into syllables. If your child wants to spell “garden”, let him break it into syllables: “gar” and “den”. Spell the first syllable first (“gar”), then the second syllable (“den”) and join together.

4. Introduce word families and let your child be aware of its spelling patterns. These include words with common endings. These have spelling patterns like vowel-consonant (VC), consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC), or consonant-vowel-consonant-consonant (CVCC). Examples of word families are cat, bat, mat, sat, pat, punk, skunk, dunk, funk, hunk, etc.

5. Introduce tricky words and let your child memorize the way they should be spelled. Obviously, there are those words that are pronounced differently from their spelling. The word “friend” is pronounced as “frend” and so usually, children have the tendency to spell “friend” as “frend”. That is because it is how it is being pronounced. You have to explain to the children that there are words that are pronounced differently from their spelling. Examples of these are “friend”, “have”, “said”, “were”, etc.

Do not be frustrated when your children spell “mother” as “mader”. That is an invented spelling and they spell it according to what they hear. With that spelling, they have shown that they have the knowledge of letter sounds and the skill in decoding words. Praise your children for that! Remember that, it is always the “process” that we focus on when we are teaching young children rather than the “product”. They just need practice and more practice because “practice makes perfect”. It sounds cliche, but that is true!

Let me know whether these strategies have helped you. All the best!


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