If your child is tired of simply writing and memorizing word lists, consider trying spelling activities to make learning more enjoyable. Spelling activities that tap into the kinesthetic aspect of teaching are fun for children who find it difficult to sit still for long study sessions. There is also evidence to suggest that a multi-sensory approach makes it easier for students to retain new information.
Activities for Spelling Practice
While printable worksheets can provide a basic foundation for mastering new words, spelling requires regular practice.
To keep your child excited about learning, ask him or her to choose an activity from the following list:
Draw a picture, then write words to label items in the picture.
Cut out letters from an old magazine, then glue them on a piece of poster board to spell the words in your list.
Use alphabet stamps and colored ink pads to make your own spelling artwork.
Use modeling clay to make a 3-D word sculpture.
Make a tape recording of yourself saying and spelling your words.
Write a short story that uses all of your spelling words.
Write your words in a bucket of sand.
Use a label maker to make your own "stickers" from your list of spelling words.
Make your own fun snack by spelling your words with alphabet cereal.
Challenge yourself to spell your words on an Etch-a-Sketch.
Make "Secret Agent Words" by numbering the alphabet from 1 to 26 and converting your words to a number code.
Make a crossword puzzle or word search from the words in your spelling list.
Try to find your spelling words used in a newspaper or magazine article.
Make your own flashcards to study and review your spelling words.
For more great spelling activities, check out the following helpful links:
Earn Spelling Points! - Over 20 activities for spelling for grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8.
Spark an Interest in Spelling - Five lesson plans with games that spotlight spelling. Tips and ideas for grades K-12.
Spice Up Your Spelling Words - Fun activities for spelling like writing backwards, drawing pictures, scrambled words and pre-made crossword puzzle.
Bible-Based Spelling Lessons - Designed for lower elementary grades.
If you're looking for an online game for your child to use when studying spelling words, the Gamequarium website has links to several different spelling resources for spelling practice. While most focus on building general spelling skills, some allow for parents to input words from the child's assigned spelling list to create a customized learning experience.
Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee
If you have a child who is an exceptional speller, he or she may wish to consider participating in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee. The competition is open to students under the age of 16 who are the winners of sponsored American regional spelling bees as well as top spellers from Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, and the Bahamas. The event takes place each year at the end of the school year in Washington D.C. and is televised on ABC.
Although many of the words students encounter during the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee can be considered obscure, the process of studying for the competition is said to enhance a student's general academic skills. Many students also say the experience helped them to build a greater sense of confidence in their abilities.
For top spellers, competing in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee can be a highly profitable experience. In 2013, for example, the winner received cash and prizes totaling over $34,000. The award package included large cash awards from the program's sponsors, an engraved cup from Scripps, a $2,500 savings bond and over $2,000 in reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica.
To learn more about what it's like to compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee, pick up a copy of Spellbound at your local video store. This 2002 documentary follows eight competitors in the 1999 Spelling Bee: Harry Altman, Angela Arenivar, Ted Brigham, April DeGideo, Neil Kadakia, Nupur Lala, Emily Stagg, and Ashley White.