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How to teach spellings to Kids?

Updated on September 26, 2015
Padmajah Badri profile image

A freelance writer,academic consultant,HR manager with a passion for writing and reading.

I have a 6 year old kid studying in ICSE board ,The portions in ICSE board is vast and vocabulary is at a different level.There will be weekly tests on dictation ,spell bee rounds and words will be lengthy words like important,exhibition,following etc.These words are written on the blackboard and my daughter copies it and studies the word twice.This is the practice given in school.When there is a dictation test,I will be absolutely clueless as how to teach her and make her spell correctly.I raised my query in a parenting blog and got very good suggestions.Most of them suggested me to teach my kids phonics and it helps in spelling.I also researched on few phonics websites and tried to teach my kid through videos,audios ,worksheets etc.There was improvement but still there were some critical spelling errors.

I was confused as why I need to teach phonics alone for my daughter to improve spelling..When I was young,my parents were working,no body was there to teach,no phonics learning system but yet I managed to become a good speller.I tried to recollect what did I do to correct my spell errors .I recollected that I studied spellings by writing the word five times ,reading aloud,repeat and revise the spellings of words.On the flipside,my kid hates to repeat and revise as she is a kinesthetic learner.After a lot of brainstorming and research ,I opted for very easy methods to spell correctly on a daily basis.

Spelling awards

First and foremost method is “What is the next letter game “?

I tried to teach DOLCH sight words appropriate for my kids age .I wrote the words in a large font and cut them as alphabet cards.It is like the opponent needs to give a word and the player need to spell and arrange it.When my kid gives the word ,I purposely spell it wrong ,then she corrects it.Wow ..She was amazingly good at corrections .If she is able to correct,it means she has learnt the spelling .If we have a points system for the winner and also a little gift associated to each points range ,it boosts the children to learn the spellings by heart.

Second method is to Classify the Dictation words as “Easy Words”,”Medium Words”,”Difficult Words” based on difficulty level in spelling the same.This motivates the kids confidence level towards spelling easy words first ,followed by medium words and she will be transformed in to a challenge mode while reading the difficult words.Break the difficult words spelling in to fragments so that there is clarity in spelling and can be remembered easily.For instance ,If the child wants to spell beautiful,we can create fragments like bea/uti/ful with a tempo tone to enhance memory of the word.

Third method is to opt for a graph kind of image where I will place the alphabets of a corresponding word in a scattered mode and ask my kid to spell and join the letters in sequence and arrive at a shape that she can relate to.This will eliminate the confusions of sequence of letters while spelling and it can enhance memory to spell the word.

The three techniques have brought a visible improvement in minimizing the spell errors of my kid and I wanted to share this practice to other moms who have similar issue.Lastly,enrolling in spell bee competitions ,playing scrabble with kid,spelling quiz as team play are different strategies which can add more emphasis on kids to spell perfectly.

Story using Dolch sight words

(This passage contains all of the 220 Dolch Basic Sight Words.)

The Best Thing In The World

Once upon a time, there were four brothers who lived in a far away land. Their father was an old king. One day he said, "I will not live long now. Today you must start out into the world. In a year, bring back the best thing you have found. The one who can pick the best thing shall be the new king." The first brother said, "I will look in every city or town. I will buy the best thing I can for my father." The next two brothers said, "We will both go on fast ships over the sea. We will find something better." The last brother said, "I am going to ask the people here in our own land to tell me the best thing." The other three brothers began to laugh. "Then you will never be king!" They said.
The last brother started off. When he had gone about six miles, he met a man. "What do you carry in those big bags?" he asked. "The best thing in the world," said the man. "These are full of the good nuts which fall from my five nut trees." "I don't think that would work," said the brother to himself, "I must try again." The brother went on another seven miles. He found a small brown bird. It had been hurt, so he put it in his coat where it could keep warm. As he went on, he saw a little girl crying. He ran to meet her. "Why are you crying?" he asked. "I want to get some water from the well," she said. "We use so much. We drink cold water. We wash the clothes clean with hot water. But I do not know how to pull it up. Please show me." The brother said, "Hold this bird and I will help you. It does not fly around any more because it got its wing cut." "Thank you. What a pretty bird!" she said. "I wish you would give it to me. If you will let me keep it, I will always be very kind to it. I will take care of it myself. I will make it grow well again." "Yes, you may have it," said the brother. So he gave her the bird and went on. At night, he went to sleep under a round yellow haystack. When it was light again he walked on. Every day he would walk eight or ten miles. He asked the people about the best thing in the world. Some said it was best to sing. Some said it was best to run and jump and play. Some said the green grass was best. Some liked the red and blue and white flowers best. One man said the best thing was to ride a black horse. He always stopped to help people who needed it. Soon he made many friends. All the people began to like him. They would say, "See there goes the king's son. He would be just the right kind of king for us." Every door was open to him. The people would call to him to stop. They would ask him to come and eat with them. After he ate, he would sit down and read to the children. After he read, he showed them how to draw and write. Months went by. He still had no beautiful thing to take to his father. Just before the year was done, he went home again.
The time came when the king called his sons together. "What did you bring?" He asked them all. The other brothers had many beautiful things. "And what did you bring?" said the king to the last brother. "This is too funny!" said the other brothers. "He has nothing!" But the king was kind to the last brother. "What did you bring me?" the king asked again. "I bring only the friendship of your people," said the last brother. "That is the best thing!" cried his father. "You shall be the new king."

The End

Pre-Primer Primer First Grade Second Grade Third Grade Submitted by:

Video on Dolch Pre Primer Words

Spell bee Champ

Do you think phonics alone can help the kids to learn spellings?

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Please share your success stories in teaching spelling

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    • RandaHandler profile image

      Randa Awn Handler 

      5 years ago from USA

      Thanks for sharing what worked with your kids! Good suggestions from peach purple and ktnptl too!

    • vasantha  T k profile image


      5 years ago from Bangalore

      Using flash cards, picture/posters with words would be helpful in learning the words.

    • Padmajah Badri profile imageAUTHOR

      Padmajah Badri 

      5 years ago from India

      Thank you so much ..I tried these things with my kid and hence I wanted to share the same.

    • ktnptl profile image


      5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Great deal, learning kids should be fun and you show a nice way to learn.

    • Padmajah Badri profile imageAUTHOR

      Padmajah Badri 

      5 years ago from India

      Thats interesting peachpurple ..Thank you for the info

    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      I use the phonics card that i made myself, very useful

    • Padmajah Badri profile imageAUTHOR

      Padmajah Badri 

      5 years ago from India

      Thank you so much for sharing my Hub ..Have a nice writing experience

    • Padmajah Badri profile imageAUTHOR

      Padmajah Badri 

      6 years ago from India

      Please comment on your strategies to teach spellings for children


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