Supporting Children with Spellings
Spellings in Reception and Year 1:
Spellings are an important part of the curriculum so, if you haven’t already received your first spelling list in your child’s school bag, then you can guarantee it won’t be long before you do. In fact, many private schools begin spelling tests from Reception; with state schools they usually start in Year 1. If your child is beginning to have spelling tests in Reception, these will most likely be based around the sound your child is learning at school that week. For example, if they are learning the air sound, they will have spellings like hair, pair and fair. They may also have one or two ‘tricky’ words to learn; words that your child cannot spell out phonetically, and just have to learn, for example, the and what. If your child is at a state school, they will still be learning to spell words, but it may be less formally tested. Children in Reception are expected to be segmenting sounds in a word to help them spell it in their writing. These words will be CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words, such as cat, CCVC words such as slip and CVCC words such as hand.
From Years 1-6, children begin to learn certain spelling rules and patterns as well as continuing to learn those ‘tricky’ words.
Helping with spellings at home:
Look, cover, write, check…look, cover, write, check… If you think this is the only way to get your children to learn spellings, then think again! When it comes to learning spellings at home, the key is variety. Children can become bored with one method and one method might work well for one child, but not for another, so continue to try different methods and strategies. Doing so will keep it interesting and prevent it becoming a chore; rather it will be fun and enjoyable…most of the time! Read below for some different ways to learn those spellings.
Tricks to help with challenging words and frequently misspelled words:
- Underline or highlight the tricky part of the word together. Doing this will literally and metaphorically highlight the part they often get wrong so that whenever they come to spell the word, they will mentally picture the tricky part highlighted.
- Come up with another way of remembering the tricky bit:
Weird: We are weird so they remember the we goes before the i.
Dessert: Desserts are sweet and sugary so ss
Weigh: Think we weigh more than i do alone
- Come up with acronyms for commonly misspelt words:
Because– big elephants can always use small elephants
Rhythm– rhythm helps your two hips move
- Break it down into syllables.
- Say it as it sounds, for example, fusssssss.
- Display the words around the house and surprise them with spellings in places they wouldn’t suspect! It will make them actually look at them.
- Point out the words in books when your child is reading.
Games to make spellings fun!
- Use magnetic letters on the fridge to practise spelling words.
- Write the words in chalk on the ground outside.
- Use water painting and spell the word on the wall outside with water.
- Have a password to get into the door where your child has to write out a tricky spelling to enter!
- Use each word in a silly sentence – the more silly the better as it will be more memorable for them!
- Spell out the words on a computer.
- Match the spelling with a funny picture that they draw for each spelling.
- Create anagrams of the spellings and get your child to work out which one is which, writing each one down when they have worked it out.
- Write out words in the wrong order on a piece of paper and your child has to cut up the letters and then correctly order them.
- Get your child to write the word on your back with their finger and you have to guess which word it is. Then swap round and write it on his/her back.
- We are big Mrs Wordsmith fans and they have some great resources including the See It, Stick It books.
- Speed spellings. See how many times they can write the word in a minute!
A Selection of Songs to make spellings fun!
Tricky Words and Sight Words Song!
Phase 3 Tricky Words Song!
Phase 4 Tricky Words Song!
A Selection of Apps to make spellings fun!
DoodleSpell builds the spelling confidence of your 5 to 11 year old with a work programme tailored to their strengths and weaknesses.
Squeebles Spelling Test
Spelling Test by Squeebles is an app aimed at helping 5 to 11 year old children practise their spellings in a fun, motivating environment. It allows you to set up your own personalised spelling tests, as well as download from over 150 pre-recorded tests based on the UK national curriculum, containing over 1800 words.
A great app aimed at raising the standard in spelling, especially for KS2 children. A fun and interactive way for the children to learn and practise their spellings.
Other useful blogposts
Other blogposts of ours which you might find useful include: