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5 ways to optimise your child’s spelling at home

Coming home on a Monday afternoon ready to start their homework. Pulling out mountains of books and worksheets, ready to face the biggest challenge yet – learning close to 25 new words before the big test on Friday.

While many students look forward to this moment, others find it overwhelming and d-a-u-n-t-i-n-g!

For some, children struggle to understand these complicated words. New letter combinations allow the child to easily become confused and mix up their letters, resulting in frustration and defeat. We can easily spell out a word to younger children, however explaining to them how to spell can be a little more tricker.

Understanding these spelling words and their letter structures can enhance and build on your child’s everyday vocabulary. It will also give them a boost in confidence and self-motivation towards their learning, as this can also be applied in the classroom.

It is crucial for young students to overcome this barrier and address their spelling in a more interesting and fun approach. It is almost guaranteed that fun learning activities can help them defeat these challenging words, as they learn and adapt these words in everyday activities.

As each student has their own unique learning style, here are 5 fun and interesting ways to approach challenging spelling homework!

1. Buzz Off Hairy Legs!

Growing up, this game was my all-time favourite! Playing this game as a class or even in a small group of friends, it always was fun and competitive. It motivated us to learn the word quicker so we wouldn’t be eliminated and win the whole game!

The game goes like this.

For a little competition, there should be at least 3 or more people. A word is selected from the homework spelling list (the bigger the better!).

Each person goes around and says a letter to spell out the spelling word (no peeking!). If someone misspells the word, they are eliminated and must sit out. Once the whole word is spelt correctly, the remaining players continue to say “buzz”, “off”, “hairy”, “legs”.

The player next in line after “legs” is called sits out for the duration of the game. The game continues to become competitive until there are two people left in the game. Different spelling words are selected until the last person is out!

‘Buzz Off Hairy Legs’ is highly recommended for students (like myself) who love a little adrenaline and fun in a game. It’s exciting – the countdown to see who gets out can motivate the student to spell the words correctly, and fluently.

2. Spelling Ball

This game is suited for energetic children, or even for the whole family! Students can gain an understanding of their spelling words, whilst absorbing some Vitamin D as well!

All you need is a ball; whether it’s soccer, basketball or even a handball. As each student passes or kicks the ball, they must each spell out the chosen word selected from their spelling list.

3. Word of the week!

Every spelling list always has that one word that students struggle to spell (or even say). Hence, Word of the Week is always the best way to go!

Each week, a student picks out the most challenging word in their list and must use it in their everyday language.

Not only will this increase their word vocabulary, but your child will be able to adapt to bigger and more complex words and understand its meaning.

This word can be on display in the house, bedroom or even in the car for the whole family to see!

Writing out its definition below the word is a bonus. That way, it is clear what the meaning is, and the word can be used in correct context.

4. Silly Sentences

Every child loves to have fun, so we should use this to our advantage!

Students can use the words in their spelling list to write out silly sentences which best amuse them. This highly encourages young children to use their wild imagination, and write extraordinary sentences with their spelling words.

In addition, students will be motivated to spell their words correctly and will write their sentences in the correct context.
To add that bit of pizazz, different shapes and coloured words can be used to make their sentences stand out even more!

However, there are some students who might find this activity difficult. To prompt them with creative sentences, grab the nearest popsicle sticks or dice!

Divide them into 5 different coloured categories and label them; Who, what, where, when, how?

For example, the green popsicle sticks are Who. The student can choose 4-5 different characters such as a clown, dog, mum, teacher, fly.

This step is repeated with What, Where, When and How.

Once all 5 categories are filled out, give each die a toss or pick out a random popsicle stick and ta-da! There’s your silly sentence!

(Don’t forget to add your spelling words!)

5. Stair Steps

Stair Steps is one of the best activities to do for young minds who need some extra revision.

Basically, each word is written one letter at a time, regardless of how many there are! This will help your child to progressively learn the spelling of the word and its letter combinations. This activity is also recommended to do before those big spelling tests. Children also are able to visualise the pronunciation of the words, letter by letter.

It pretty much goes like this.

e.g. Spelling
S
Sp
Spe
Spel
Spell
Spelli
Spellin
Spelling

These creative strategies are a small boost to support your child with their spelling homework. They’re fun, interesting and definitely a different approach that they can adapt to understanding their words.