How to Study for a Spelling Test
During the school year, on every Friday afternoon, my daughter brings home a spelling list. She gets a week to prepare for the spelling test that will be given on the following Friday. It's been this way since she was in first grade.
Over the years, the words have gotten more difficult and some weeks are tougher than others. Let's face it, studying for a spelling test is not everyone's idea of a good time. All children have strengths and weaknesses and spelling can be tough for some.
To help her study, we have used a number of different methods over the years, and she usually does well on her spelling tests. These methods make things more interesting for her.
Hopefully they will help your child out too.
As almost any parent can tell you, it's not always easy practicing for a spelling test. Children are not always enthusiastic about it, and practicing the same way everyday gets old quickly.
We always try to alternate our study methods and the ideas listed seem to work best for us.
Mix up the word list
Instead of always going over the words in the order on the practice sheet, mix them up. Sometimes children memorize things in order and mixing them up makes them think about it a little bit more.
Switch between writing the words and saying them
Sometimes we will have our daughter write them down and sometimes she just says them. It makes her think about the words in different ways.
Use in a sentence
Either give them the word in a sentence, or have your child write a sentence using the word.
Use in a song
We use this technique when my daughter really doesn't want to study. It usually makes her laugh and because she is mortified at our singing, it gets her to spell a word. Try to think of song lyrics with the spelling word in it and then have your child spell the word.
Type the words
Use a typewriter or a computer to type the words. Don't forget to turn off spell check if they are using a computer.
Study in a different area
When the weather is warm, my daughter loves to go over her spelling outside. If you are running around to various after school programs, run through them in the car.
There are many different thoughts on this and many do not agree with it, but sometimes I'll give my daughter a penny for every word spelled correctly or even a piece of candy for doing a good job on a particularly tough list. Sticker charts work well with younger children.
Spelling test games
Games worked better when my daughter was in the earlier grades like first and second. Now that she is older, she prefers other methods, but every once in a while, a quick spelling game still helps during study time.
Have a supply of blank bingo cards handy. When you get the spelling list, fill out a few with the words and play a couple of rounds.
Have the child write down the words in alphabetical order. If they need more incentive, time them and keep a record to see if they can beat their previous time.
Design a weekly wordsearch game.
Bath time spelling
Using washable crayons, do spelling during bath time. They can write the words on the wall and then wash them off.
Hangman (If you are not comfortable playing hangman, use a stickman or some other figure instead)
This is a favorite for all ages. Draw lines representing the letters in a word and have children guess letters. If they choose a letter that is not in the word, draw a heard, arm, leg etc... The object is to guess the word before the stick figure is completed.
There are loads of online programs with all sorts of fun games available.
Spelling practice tips
Sometimes studying for a spelling test is a real struggle. Either the child is having problems spelling the words, or they just don't want to practice.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you hit a road block during study time.
- Take a step back and revisit the list later in the day. Sometimes an hour or two makes all the difference.
- Don't study too late at night. If your child is anything like mine, any time after 8:00pm is off limits for studying. She just doesn't retain what she learns, and she is not in a great mood.
- If your child is ill, skip a day of practice.
Make spelling test practice fun
For the last four years we have been trying to make our spelling test practice fun.
Although I substitute teach, I am not a professional educator, so I don't have any special insights. However, I do know that these methods have worked well for our family and I think they can help you too.
Good luck on that next spelling test!
© 2013 Claudia Mitchell