Basic tips to help children with their spelling

Mastering essential spelling skills can help to enhance a child's overall competency in literacy and give them the confidence to begin writing independently. There are a number of ways that parents can support children's competency in spelling, including those below:

Phonics
Children can use online phonics games and printable activities to improve their understanding of the words that make up a specific sound. Once children have mastered basic phonemes they will be able to split a word up into smaller sounds (d-o-g or n-igh-t). This will help them to spell effectively without the assistance of adults.

Spelling rules
Parents can also introduce children to different spelling rules over time, such as when to add 'ed' to the end of a word. There are also several rhymes that can help children to understand where vowels and consonants are placed in a word, such as the following:

When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking: This helps children when they are spelling long vowel sounds. Examples include boat and seat.

Big elephants cause accidents under small elephants (because): Silly sentences such as this one can help children spell 'tricky' words.

Y spelling rhyme:

If a word ends in consonant "y"
Here's a rule you must apply.
Change the "y" to "i" and then
Add the suffix to the end.

Look, cover, write
This is a simple way of helping children to remember how to spell words which may be particularly challenging. They can follow the steps below:
  • Look at a spelling word
  • Cover the spelling word
  • Imagine the covered word in your mind
  • Write the word from memory
  • Check what has been written against the uncovered word
Additional techniques
Other helpful strategies include helping children to find words within a word, such as 'hen' in 'when' or keys in donkeys and monkeys. Games such as 'quick write' will also help children to remember the spelling of a word. Give children a word they are having particular difficulty with and ask them to write the correct spelling down on a mini-whiteboard or piece of paper. They will then write the correct spelling down as many times as they can within a minute, embedding the spelling in their minds.
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