Despite the proliferation of spell check in word processing documents, it is still important to teach spelling to children in school. Not every document will be written in a computer program, nor will these programs pick up every mistake. Proper spelling is a fundamental part of language arts skills and continues to be taught in elementary schools across the United States.
Students who have trouble spelling may need remedial help. While most problems can be overcome with time and practice, it is important to help and encourage a struggling student. Reasons children may have trouble with spelling include:
- Memory problems resulting in letter reversals
- Lack of understanding letter-sound relationships
- Failure to apply spelling rules or make connections between the rules and application of them
- Not reading or writing enough
- Trouble remembering sight words (common words on the Dolch word list)
Strategies for Spelling Teachers
Classroom teachers and tutors can help students reach their potential by planning exercises and activities to reinforce spelling rules and words. Practice and repetition of the words to emphasize concepts, patterns and rules regarding syllabication and word structure is helpful, but other tools can be used as well.
- Make up songs, chants, and rhymes to help students remember words or rules for spelling. Reciting these chants can help students have fun while they are learning.
- Develop memory aids and mnemonic devices to help students spell words correctly. Individual learning tools can work wonders for helping students learn.
- Designate a portion of the day for students to quietly repeat the words out loud to themselves, and then write them down in contextual sentences.
- Assign students reading materials with their spelling words as part of the vocabulary. Have them write their own stories if the vocabulary words are not commonly found in books or texts.
Other ways to help students reach their spelling potential include use of the following approaches:
- Correcting reversals
- Computer games
- Making individualized spelling lists
- Learning how to self-correct
- Playing classroom games like Roll a Sight Word
- Positive reinforcement
- Auditory, visual, and kinesthetic activities
- Additional reading and writing activities
Reviewing a student's progress is imperative to helping him/her learn. Seeing growth and progress is a motivational tool for the child and helps the teacher understand what strategies are working.
Practicing at Home
Students who need remedial help with spelling benefit from practicing skills at home. Communication between schools and parent is imperative. Teachers should send home word and vocabulary lists for the student to practice with. Reading and writing these words can help, but other activities will also make a difference.
Interactive computer games and websites can provide entertainment and reinforce spelling rules. Additional ways to practice words at home include:
- Clapping in a beat as the student spells a word
- Making word puzzles
- Writing the words in different colors
- Marching in place while spelling or bouncing a ball back and forth while spelling
- Playing the game 40 Sensational Site Word Games
- Writing the words on graphing paper
- Students who need additional remedial help may benefit from hiring an outside tutor or enrolling in an educational program that teaches remedial spelling skills.
- Workbooks, CD-ROM tutorials, and other supplemental materials can also provide an extra boost for kids who struggle with their spelling skills.
Talking to your child's teacher about his/her progress can let the teacher know you are involved and are working on skills at home. The teacher may be able to suggest different activities and ways to approach spelling practice at home that you have not considered. Keeping the lines of communication open with the school is the best way to help your spelling-challenged student.
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"Teaching Remedial Spelling." YourDictionary, n.d. Web. 21 June 2018. <http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/for-teachers/teaching-remedial-spelling.html>.
Teaching Remedial Spelling. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21st, 2018, from http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/for-teachers/teaching-remedial-spelling.html