From my daughter’s very first spelling test in first grade, I knew that she was going to struggle. And I knew that I was going to have to find ways to help her learn those spelling words. I soon realized that even though writing the words and spelling them aloud helped a little, in order for the spelling patterns to really solidify in her mind, my kinesthetic learner needed to be able to touch and manipulate the words. Here are some activities that we tried that really helped my struggling speller.
Spelling with Dough
Play Doh®, cookie dough, salt dough, and even bread dough are all perfect for forming letters and words. Start by having your children make a word family (like ar) and then ask them to add different letters to that base to make different words (like star or tar). Ask them questions like, “How could I change tar to make star?”
Spelling with Alphabet Cards
If you don’t want to bother with the mess of dough, you can do a similar activity with alphabet flash cards (you may need more than one set). Start again by asking your child to form the word family with the cards, and then add and subtract letters to make different words.
Spelling with Sand
For some reason, writing with a stick (or your finger) is way more fun than writing with a pencil. And erasing letters with your foot is much better than erasing with an actual eraser. So practice writing spelling words in the sand (or dirt). Your kids probably won’t even notice that they’re doing schoolwork!
My daughter learns best when she can touch and manipulate her environment, so making spelling a sensory activity has really helped her learn and remember her spelling lists. How do you help your children learn their weekly spelling words? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!