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Help learning to spell

(19 Posts)
beckieperk Wed 07-Feb-18 18:40:52

Hi all. My ds 6.5 has been given spellings to learn each week, which he is tested on every friday. My question is how do you teach children to spell. I know that sounds an odd question....but I'm finding it challenging. My ds has little to no intetest in school work - reading, writing spelling etc so the battle begins just to get him to the table.
Once there he moans a whines and says he's stupid if he gets one wrong. This week for instance is ou/ow words. Cloud, clown, around, about and brown etc.....the sound is the same so it's just a memory game i guess as using phonics to spell these words doesn't work.
So i ask him to write cloud - praise him if he gets it right or correct him if he gets it wrong. Then we move to the next.
My question is, is there a good way to teach and commit these to memory? Last week he knew all the spellings when spelling them out loud, got most right when writing them down but apparently only got 4 right on the test. Also he can read all of the words easily as he uses phonics, but struggles to write them.
I need tips? Advice? Patience? Devine intervention?
Any help would be much appreciated.

irvineoneohone Wed 07-Feb-18 19:54:45

My ds always segment the word into syllables and write it down while saying the word.

GhostWriter666 Wed 07-Feb-18 20:03:57

write, write, and write again.

My son is a bit older (9) and I first go through and get him to spell them. Any wrong we concentrate on. We look for any "patterns", eg all spellins may have "ss" for example. We will see if any are spelt how they sound. and then I'll get him to write them down 3-5 times.

AppleTrayBake Wed 07-Feb-18 20:04:40

"First word is 'cloud', say cloud.
How many sounds can you hear? Count them on your fingers. Well done it is 4! Let's say them together c-l-ou-d. Now write it down"

You could split them up and learn all the 'ou' words first, then the 'ow' words then mix them up. This could do this over a few days so he's not working for too long.

AppleTrayBake Wed 07-Feb-18 20:07:30

Sorry for the lack of proof reading, it's been a long day!

beckieperk Wed 07-Feb-18 20:16:46

Thank you. Splitting them into ou and ow i will try tomorrow. Getting him to sit still for more than 20-30 minutes each night is nigh on impossible too when he's been at school all day, and he reads to me every school night (sun-thurs) so repitition is tricky. Although i do this's the pen to paper thing i have an issue with.
I think i question whether I'm doing it right. I did consider a chalk board or magnetic letters/board to see if this helps make it more interesting. He is a kinesthetic style learner i maybe needs to get physical.
Thanks all.

irvineoneohone Wed 07-Feb-18 20:23:38

I've read somewhere, that writing actually helps remembering. (Motor memory?)
So, I think using anything(chalk, white board) would help, but not magnetic letters.
If he doesn't like pencil and paper, you can do it on the pavement with chalk or on sand with finger/stick etc. White board on the wall is good too, I think I've read somewhere that it helps with motor skills, which ultimately strengthen his writing skills.

Littlelambpeep Wed 07-Feb-18 20:31:32

Get him to trace the words in the sand
Sing the word

(For example.. to the tune of if your happy and you know it)

C. L. O. U and D spells a cloud
C. L o u and d spells a cloud
C l o... U and d
C l o. U and d
C loud spells a cloud

Also once he knows a word (for example he knows how to spell a word ring and you want to learn spring )

Write sp and draw a ring

Try visual spelling

Hope that makes sense

Theresahairbrushinthefridge Wed 07-Feb-18 20:32:23

Some more ideas

it can really help to see
The shape of the word.


c l ou d. So draw around the shape of it. If that makes sense. Noting the high and low letters. Particularly good if he wrongly sequences the right letters.

Or write it in a picture of the word. A cloud. A clown. Not always possible of course.

Use mnemonics to remember really tricky words.

Use different coloured pens when writing. So ou words in red. ow words in blue. Then when testing. Remember this was a blue word.

Write in flour. Very tactile and fun.

It's about triggering memory and long term retention not just " for the test". So better that he can remember the patterns and the logic of it long term even if he gets them wrong in the day.

CruCru Wed 07-Feb-18 21:08:46


My son has to learn 10 spellings a week. I get him to do 3 a day. Let him see the word, then cover it - get him to write it down. Then fold over the piece of paper and get him to write it again. Then do the same a third time.

Once you've gone through all ten, get him to sit down and write them all out. If there are any he doesn't get right, get him to write them out again a couple more times.

Depending on what we have on that day, I try to get him to write them out every day.

Chrisinthemorning Wed 07-Feb-18 21:16:27

DS has 10 spellings a week too- he’s 5 in yr1. His are also usually phonics based- 2 or 3 different phonemes that sound similar. His teacher says she’s not bothered how they do in the test, it’s a method of teaching phonics.
I write the phonemes at the top -ou, -ow etc and then say the word and get him to write it and say which phoneme he thinks it is.
We go through them twice written - at the weekend and on Tuesday evening and once verbally and his test is on a Friday.

Chilver Wed 07-Feb-18 21:23:12

I write out the weekly words, she then copies them once, then covers them and writes out again from memory. (Y1) We then go through them, noting any mistakes and correcting and noting similarities (Janu-ary and Febru-ary for example). We do this a few times in the week. Also, throughout the week when shopping, walking or at home 'doing homework' I ask her to verbally spell them out too.

Interestingly when she is just saying the letters, she is making the writing shape of the letter in the air! So obviously the writing down helps with memory!

Ifonlyoneday Wed 07-Feb-18 22:58:06

Squeebles app for spelling is good for practicising, you can add your own lists.

minipie Wed 07-Feb-18 23:00:51

May sound obvious but more reading will also help with spelling IME.

TickledOnion Wed 07-Feb-18 23:23:18

We get handwriting practice sheets with the words they are going to be tested on. It helps as they have to concentrate on writing the word out which seems to help the spelling stick.

Norestformrz Thu 08-Feb-18 06:02:50

I'd get him to write the words in two lists matched to the spelling ou or ow
I'd encourage him to say the sounds as he writes each sound ...not the letter names

Handwriting especially cursive helps create a motor memory

irvineoneohone Thu 08-Feb-18 06:38:44

Yeah, as mrz says, my ds say the sound while writing the words.

ShiftyMcGifty Thu 08-Feb-18 06:49:25

Separate handwriting from spelling. It sounds like he’s struggling with the writing so focus on whether he can spell the word and don’t worry if he does badly on actual test. Does he struggle with any other fine motor skills?

1. Have him spell the words by finding the right letters - print/write out alphabet on and cut up into squares. Make sure to make multiple copies of vowels and most often used letters. Or buy a game like Orchard Toys’ Match and spell that has the letters shaped into puzzle pieces that snap together to form words.

2. Find clip art pictures to represent each word. Some kids are visual and learn better when they can see a picture of the word they’re learning to spell. One of ours is a very visual thinker and the teacher allows him to have a copy of the clip art pictures at test time to help him recall the spellings.

beckieperk Thu 08-Feb-18 09:29:07

Thanks all. Some really great ideas here. Will try some of them over the next few weeks and see if any work for my ds.
Shifty please can you give me an example of the types of fine motor skills you are referring to?

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