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Spelling Strategies

(5 Posts)
AnonymousBird Wed 12-Mar-14 13:06:03

DD (8 - Y3) is doing really well at school, loves all aspects and is diligent, achieving great level and effort scores across the board.

The one thing she struggles with a bit is her spellings. Brilliant at learning for tests, or if I ask her to spell something ad hoc, she will probably get it right, but then moving this across to her written work it all falls apart a bit. Which is a shame, because the creativity of her written work and the content and ideas are very good so if we could improve consistency with spellings it would be great. I don't want to just do lots of rote learning if we can avoid it, but we need to practice key words and spelling "rules" somehow to help her with this. She knows that she finds this a bit difficult, so obviously I don't want to knock her overall confidence in producing her work, just help her on this one aspect.

Any great apps or other ideas? I'm happy to use iPad or online tools, and make it fun for her.

PastSellByDate Wed 12-Mar-14 15:02:23

Hi anonymous bird:

First thing is that this was definitely the case for my DD1 in Y3. She was very slow to move from plausible attempts at spelling words to accurately spelling words.

CGP literacy workbooks ( are quite funny and did seem to really help my DD1 (we started in Y4 - but looking back probably could have started earlier).

St. Ambrose Primary has some useful spellling pages: - there are spelling word lists - but we just played the on-line games (most self-correct - but a few don't so be prepared to help out there).

woodlands junior school literacy pages: - has useful links to games/ resources

I'd also recommend some useful old fashioned games:



Scrabble (the junior version has a two-sided board - one side has words already spelled out and the other is the traditional board) - at age 8/9 we played with DD1 by having her free to use all size words but Mum and Dad could only make words 5 letters or more and couldn't just add 's'. DH complained like mad.

Crosswords are really useful practice as well! Often word games/ crosswords are in children's magazines.


Ferguson Wed 12-Mar-14 19:16:24

In MN book reviews, 'children's educational books and courses' section, I reviewed the Oxford Phonics Spelling Dictionary: have a look at that, as it could help quite a lot.

Also other Oxford children's dictionaries, appropriate to age, are worth looking at, and a suitable Thesaurus and Rhyming Dictionary add extra focus on words and spelling.

Mashabell Wed 12-Mar-14 19:18:53

I don't want to just do lots of rote learning if we can avoid it, but we need to practice key words and spelling "rules"
If English spelling obeyed 'rules', no reasonably able child would have spelling problems. Unfortunately, at least 4,000 common English words contain one or more unpredictable letters, e.g. speak, speech; move, groove; fleece, geese' and can only be learned by rote.

Word games are one of the best ways of making this lengthy and time-consuming chore less tedious. So any of those she enjoys are worth doing.

But for words which keep causing trouble, there is a place for simply writing them out by the old LOOK, SAY, COVER, WRITE, CHECK method. - The action of writing helps to lodge them in learners' minds.

The nastiest of all are the 335 words which have different spellings for different meanings (heterographs), such as 'there/their', 'hear/here'. They provide an endless source of spelling errors for children, and adults too.

The basic secret to success is simply lots of writing.

AnonymousBird Wed 12-Mar-14 20:12:53

Thank you all very much, you've given me some great resources and ideas here.

And yes, I know English is a very irregular language, and when I say "rules" I mean "rules that apply most of the time" just to get her thinking about usual endings etc.....

Really appreciate you taking the time to post. Given me plenty to think about.

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