to Spelling Tips and Rules!
I really could have used some good
when I first started homeschooling. I think this subject has by far
been the most challenging for my boys, who are slightly dyslexic at
times. On the other hand, my daughter
spells with ease. I'm not sure if it is a difference between boys and
girls or if it is because by the time my daughter started
had found techniques
When it comes to spelling two
different processes need to be addressed separately.
1. Spelling -Does your
child know the words and how to spell them?
2. Recall and use -Can
your child spell them again a week or two later?
Spelling Tips ON SPELLING
Techniques that we use that seem to work the best, are techniques
that focus on the visual aspects of spelling. If you ask
someone who is a good/great speller how they spell, most of the time
they will say something like, I
see the word or visualize it in some way.
So, for someone to become a good
speller it seems to be important that they see the word in
their mind. Spelling correctly is about putting letters in a
relative position to other letters.
Also, it is important that when they speak/hear the word that they
hear it correctly and if it is not phonetic they need to
isolate those areas. Then when trying to spell the word they need to be
aware of that potential problem area.
Tips Method 1:
1. One effective way is to ask them to
spell the word orally several times but not necessarily all in one
period of time. See next tip to take out the boring
2. Go through each word on the spelling list, identify areas where your child
might have problems, and point out the correct way to spell the word,
then quiz him/her orally once or twice...then an hour or so later, ask
him/her to spell it out loud again, then a couple hours later again,
lengthening the time frame until there is no doubt your child can spell
the word. This forces your child to recall the spelling and it doesn't
have to be traumatic.
While this method works and is effective, it is time-consuming and
requires the teacher to keep track of words and which ones need to be
re-tested. The next method is one I use and recommend trying if you are
just starting out or have struggled for years with spelling.
It took me several years to find
a great spelling method..
The simplified method which we now use
successfully and where I have seen the most improvement is...
Tips Method 2 Optional Starting Point:
a. This step is optional but it is something we
have started doing recently and to explain it in depth would take
awhile-so while I mention it I don't necessarily think you need to do
Photoread a dictionary or part of dictionary
with focus on spelling patterns and vocabulary improvement to help in
spelling and writing. Photoreading is a process similar to speed
reading but with a different twist.
Spelling Tips Method 2 Start
b. Do one word at a time....ask your child to write down the word...like
a spelling test without the studying. If he spells it correctly, go on.
If he has to think about it a lot or gets it wrong proceed with the
c. Let him See
the word, by itself, written correctly. It is
important that you isolate the word on a paper or blackboard whatever.
(Because I do all three kids at once, if one gets it wrong they all do
the process...but I spell the word correctly to them, they check and
write it down as I spell it out loud.
Identify potential spelling problem areas, for example,
"sense" an area to focus on would be
"s" or "c" for the second "S" sound
e. Then rewrite
the word, isolated-meaning by itself with no
other words around it-emphasizing the problem area in bold or
Color is more fun and helps to visualize it
f. Tell your child to look at the newly written
word-notice the area in bold/color....then have
your child close his/her
eyes, look up and to the right and
try to see the word in
his/her mind....this takes practice.
If this is a problem, try it with a word your child knows, and practice.
Now, while seeing the word in
his/her mind, have your child spell the word forward and then
backwards- this will help put the letters in
the right spaces...this gets easier the more you do it.
Then have your child look at the word again and self check.. Did
he/she spell it right.....regardless....repeat the look at
the word, look up to right, eyes closed, spell the word forward and
backward and check. Repeat this 5 times. Then have your child
write the word down.
orally or on a subsequent test. I do ten words per day and at
the end have them turn the paper over and retest problem words and
words from previous days-especially focusing on words they have had
Spelling Tips Method 2 Simplified
1. Write down the word
2. Identify problem areas
3. Rewrite the word
4. Close eyes, look up to the right
5. Spell word forward and backwards
6. Self check
7. REPEAT 5 times
Tips ON RECALL AND USE
This area is especially troublesome for some
teachers because one week your child spells the word, passes the test
and you go on assuming they have it down only to find that very same
word misspelled a week later in a written essay. Can we say,
My advice is, RELAX, this is normal. I think it is important to not
STRESS about this...around 13-14 for boys and a little earlier for
girls, something clicks and this is one of those things that improves.
However, if you, the teacher make a big deal out of this when they are
9-10 or earlier while they are learning to write and make it a
chore to write because they are going to stress about spelling, it will
be more of a problem. I know this from experience. Check out my Homeschool Journal
and see how
often my oldest is struggling with getting words onto the paper.
A bigger problem is that your child may eventually not enjoy writing
and consciously or subconsciously dread it. Remember the bigger picture
about spelling is that spelling is a tool of writing and while
important can be checked in other ways if necessary.
Tips Important Note:
So, instead of getting stressed about it when
checking a writing
assignment, note the
spelling error and go on....writing is something that can
easily be stifled by details. When doing writing, focus on ideas
and the presentation. Gently correct everything else.
Spelling rules can be helpful and using them in combination with the
visual techniques above can reinforce or help make spelling more
I don't recommend trying to drill them into your child's brain. Instead
if you find a problematic pattern in their spelling that is directly
related to a rule bring that rule to their attention. Point it out in
their spelling and review the rule.
Tips Important Note:
There are many rules and if you focus on rules too much it can be
confusing. There are some basic rules that are worth knowing.
1. i before e except after c.
2. To add a suffix or verb ending when a word ends in y.
Put i before e
Except after c
Or when it sounds like a
As in neighbor or neigh.
If the word has a
consonant before the y, change the y to i.
If the word has a
vowel before the y, keep the y.
3. How to make nouns plural.
For words that end
in ss, sh, ch or x add es.
that have a consonant before a final y, change the y to i before adding es.
For mst nouns
that end in f or fe add s. Please not that some change the f
to v and add s
Most nouns ending in o add s.
However, some may add es.
4. Words ending
in a silent e drop the e before adding ed and ing.
5. Words ending in a
vowel and y add ed and ing without making any other change
6. Words of one syllable word ending with a single consonant preceded by a single
vowel double the
final consonant before adding ed and ing.
7. Words with two or more syllables double the final consonant before
ed and ing if: the last
syllable ends in a
single consonant preceded by a single vowel, and the accent is on the
8. Along with silent e there are other silent letter patterns, gn,
pn, kn= n sound, rh,
wr = r sound, pt,
ght = t sound, ps,
= s sound
9. The letter g has the soft sound of /j/ when it is followed by an e,
i, or y.
10. To spell a long sound you must add a second vowel
11. The letter c has a soft sound like/s/ when it is followed by an e,
i, or y.
12. The letter j is usually used if the sound if followed by an a, o,
13. The consonants, v, j, k, w, and x are never doubled.
14. No normal English words ends with the letter v and words
that end with the v sound need a silent e.
15. Silent e can appear in 5 types of ways.
(1) The word has a long vowel-says its name
(2) When C and G say their soft sounds (chance,change)
(3) Every syllable of a word must have a vowel
(4) English words cannot end in I, U, or V.
(5) A miscellaneous category where the e is not serving in
one of the above ways.
This set of rules is a good starting point. If you feel I have missed
an important rule please submit it in the form below.
At this point, I am not planning on adding spelling lists to this page,
I may later if several people request lists. The reason
being, is that most homeschoolers use spelling programs that already
have lists and spelling words. Also, most history and science texts
have vocabulary words which can be used as age appropriate spelling
words as an alternative.
If you are looking for a list, I would suggest trying to create your
own. Afterall, individualized learning is one of the benefits
of homeschooling. Take words from books your child is
reading. Choose a variety of words in difficulty and that focus on
different spelling patterns.
Tips for Spelling
As I mentioned earlier, both of my sons suffer from mild dyslexia,
where they have a tendancy to switch letters around. In order for them
to improve in spelling, they had to recognize they had a problem, focus
on methods that helped (like identifying problem areas) and learn to
double and triple check everything they write.
When they hurry to write something, they make mistakes. If they go back
and check it, they almost always spot their errors and sometimes they
even laugh at themselves over it.
I wish I had discovered the technique I talked about earlier because I
know it would have helped them, but I didn't. So now, we deal with the
consequences and work from there. It could be worse, I could be beating myself up about
I don't do that...I know I have always kept my children's
education as a priority and I always will. Sometimes I will make
mistakes but every day I get a chance to correct those mistakes.
I can hope that my mistakes which I have shared here on Spelling Tips
will help keep someone else from making the same mistakes.
Spelling Tips: Spelling
Once on a trip with my family, my younger sister who attended public
school in another state and a friend of hers were doing some homework.
The conversation turned to spelling and we started to quiz my daughter
who was about 7 years old at the time. They were amazed as my daughter
spelled huge words not only forwards but then backwards.
Spelling can be fun when boring methods are replaced with spelling tips
and methods that work.
Do you have a great spelling tip?
Do you have a great spelling tip, rule or list? Please, share it!
Spelling Tips from other Visitors
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