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Grade School Spelling At Home
Kids listen up! You can call us old school, boring, a pain, anything, but the fact of the matter is: you cannot spell.
Seriously though, spelling is still important because the real world writes learner driver’s books, cook books, legal contracts, traffic signs and other information in proper Spanish, Italian, French, English, etc. Hashtag languages are fine when you are texting your crew about this and that.
Twitter and Texting Language
Oh my god/gosh!
Laugh out loud!
Best friend forever
See you soon
Spelling Home Training
Grade school begins at home. Teachers just re-inforce what kids learn from parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents, if they are lucky to grow up in an extended family.
My uncle, mama’s elder brother was the editor of a weekly newspaper called Ilanga Lase Natal. He taught me most of my English because he was always reading.
He asked me to read headlines and paragraphs. He wanted me to give him the sports section of the paper. He asked me when the paper was printed. He showed me the price of the paper. Maybe that is why I ended up in New York at Columbia University Journalism School.
Food as a Teaching Aid
Most parents buy toys that will help kids improve their spelling and reading in general. They can also use food as a spelling tool. It is important to start spelling before their first cellphone, before texting and other hashtag languages.
You can use the kitchen table as a classroom once a week. Buy kids a little spelling notebook. You can have the following on the table.
Box of teabags
Box of cereal
Packet of pasta
Can of baked beans
New Words From Food
Let’s take a box of teabags for example. Ask your child to read words and numbers on the box. She will stammer and stumble which is a good thing because her next question will be: Daddy/Auntie/Grandma, how do I say this?
Ask her to read 100. There are 100 teabags in the box. She should write down quantity in her notebook. You will tell her to check other boxes when you go to the grocery store. Some have 24 or 36 teabags.
Ask her to read the address on the box. This has a lot of information. This box was packaged in Ontario, a province in a country called Canada. She should write it down.
This is the time to teach her about postal codes. She writes down the postal code on the box.
This box of tea is imported by the people who wrapped it. She writes down imported. This is the time to tell her about imports and exports. She might not remember those words the following week when you do revision, but she now knows that some things are grown in other countries like tea. India has lots of it and it is sent to other countries.
Tell your daughter to write the 200 g on the box. Some things are heavy. Others are light. She must write down weight.
She must read aloud 100% pure Ceylon tea. The word pure will be very important when she is grown up. People will try to sell her tap water as pure spring water, fake gold as pure gold, fake love as pure love, the list goes on.
You are also introducing percentages.
You can use a box of cereal as a teaching aid for this section.
Your son likes cereal because it tap dances on the milk. That is okay. You will teach him how to cook grits or oats when it is safe for him to be around the stove. There is instant porridge? Oh! I’m sorry.
Ask your son why he likes this particular cereal. His answer might amaze you. Who put this cereal in the box? He writes down the company name and the address in his little notebook.
Give him a blank card and ask him to write to the company. He will tell them why he likes their cereal. Don’t forget his name. He doesn’t have a signature yet. Show him how to address an envelope.
Drive or walk to the post office. Give him money for a stamp. He doesn’t lick it. That is old school. LOL.
He drops it in the box and tell him he can have his reward. Chocolate ice cream or strawberry?Reward is the most important word he learnt today.
Kids growing up in most of Africa, Asia and South America are lucky because they don’t have to wait for the summer to see fresh garden produce, like their counterparts in North America.
Your kids should bring their spelling notebooks when you visit farmers’ markets. It is also fun for them because two pumpkins can be from the same garden, but they don’t have the same shape and size.
If your kids visit a stall that is not busy, they can ask politely:
‘Excuse me maa’m, what do you call that?’
‘How do you spell it?’
Incentive for Reading and Writing
These spelling classes must be consistent, like once a week, otherwise the new words will not sink it. They must also be followed by some reward, like driving to grandparents to show off the new words or visiting friends. You will teach your child the word incentive, later on in life.
The incentive for going to work is money, which we need to pay the bills.
The incentive for going to school is to learn your vocabulary so that people don’t cheat you and say put your thumb here, and rob you of your land.