Helping children with spelling can feel daunting.
I’ve been there. In the hustle of after-school homework, my elementary children ask for help with spelling words as they complete their assignments.
It is tempting to rattle off the letters within the word. – It’s fast and moves the homework along without tears. I get it.
Homework can be a challenge for many reasons, and we all want to finish it. (myself included!)
But today, I will share with you a few helpful tips that will help your child problem-solve and help them become a better reader.
RELATED: Looking for help with sight words? CLICK HERE FOR SIGHT WORDS.
A solid understanding of letter patterns paves the path to reading, comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary.
Remember I before e except after c? I thought you would.
These spelling tips are similar, although scaled down for early elementary.
RELATED: Kindergarten activities are our jam. Check out these BIG KID cards to learn through play!
Let’s start with spelling here.
Spelling and letter combinations can be complicated, which is why we are going to keep it simple at home. Let’s learn a language to use that helps teach a child how to think a little deeper to problem-solve based on what they already know.
When your child asks, How do I spell, …
Respond like this
Hmm, let me say the word out loud – watch
What letter sound do we hear first?
That’s correct! I hear it too. Wah, just like the word wind. Let’s write a w on our page.
Not all words are spelled phonetically; however, gaining a solid foundation of letter combinations and sounds will help us spend more time on the less automatic words.
Next, think about the other letter-sound combinations within the word.
Now, don’t worry. I will not ask you to remember everything you learned in first grade 20 plus years ago. Nope. Instead, we need a guide for some ah-ha moments and lightbulbs to go off.
And nope. These posters are not part of a sponsored post. They are just a tool that my children and I use, and I want to help pass a valuable resource on to you as well—no more guesswork.
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Remember, we keep some tips in our back pocket. Handing over these 13 small posters at once will be too much.
For Kindergarten children, let’s start with the alphabet chart, short vowels, blends, and digraph chart because this is most likely where their class will also be working on in the classroom.
A child JUST learning how to read does not need to have vowel teams in front of them. That will come with time.
You can begin with the four posters listed above and slowly add on for older children. Over time, you will notice as you overhear homework questions which posters to introduce.
These are basic phonic letter combinations that you will use for YEARS. Keep them close where your children can eventually access them on thier own.
After your child asks for help spelling a word, do this.
Begin to break the word into the sounds you hear.
/W/ /A/ /TCH/
I know this sounds funny, but don’t aim for correct spelling just yet.
Instead, allow your child to THINK about the letter sounds and write down what they hear. We use these in conversation throughout the day and are especially important during homework.
Children spell in a predictable spelling sequence
First, children typically hear the first sound in their writing words.
Next, they begin to hear and write the ending sound.
Last come the sounds and letter combinations in the middle of the word.
When our children were in preschool and early Kindergarten, we saw lines and squiggles representing letters. These lines are also an important step, and you can learn all about the stages of writing.
Why is helping with spelling like this important?
Early learners are just beginning to connect the dots.
Putting the spelling back on your child helps quick thinking. Not all words are phonetic, but many words are.
Practicing this thinking will also help with reading and breaking unfamiliar words into parts.
Pushback when asking a child to think about spelling is normal.
When a child asks us how to spell a word, we immediately are given a correct spelling that is MUCH easier than thinking about the word parts.
Thinking about the sounds within a word takes work.
This practice is building a new habit, and it may take time, but it is well worth the effort to practice.
Keeping spelling resources is critical.
Resources guide your child to problem solve and build upon what they’ve learned. This is one of the many reasons we keep these posters on hand.