YourDictionary is all about word games, study aids and fun ways to learn to spell. On this page, we've brought together some of our favorite activities for mastering the oddities of English orthography. All is divided according to grade level, so these activities to practice spelling words are accessible fun for learners of all ages.
Kindergarten to Grade 2 Spelling Games
These games are appropriate for kindergartners up through students in the 2nd grade.
- Colorful Words: Have your students write out a vocabulary word or two, with each letter in a different color. Extra credit to the teachers who spell out loud to help students recognize their letters.
- Hands-On Spelling: Let your students make letters out of clay or Play-Doh, or cut them out of paper. Then, show them how the letters go together to make words.
- Heist Notes: Cut out the fanciest, craziest letters from a stack of magazines, then help your students sort out the letters and paste them into words. There's no spelling lesson like feeling every letter as you lay it in place.
- Hopscotch Words: Lay out a hopscotch court in any convenient open space, then lay out the letters of your vocabulary words. Let your students get physical (and tired) with some kinesthetic learning.
- Tracery: Have your students draw a shape for each of their vocabulary words. Then, spell out the word along the lines.
Grade 3 to Grade 5 Spelling Activities
These activities should suit students in grades 3 through 5.
- Dot Matrix: Write out spelling words in dots and let students discover which words they are.
- Red vs. Blue: Let your students write vocabulary letters in colored pencil, with red for the consonants and blue for the vowels.
- Rhyme and Reason: Choose a vocabulary word and call on students who can think of a rhyming word. See how long they can keep the rhymes rolling.
- Sentencing: Students can write sentences for each vocabulary word. Extra credit for students who correctly use more than one word from the vocabulary list in the same sentence. If you need a list, why not try our computer terms for children?
- Tossing Words: Have pairs of students lob a ball back and forth, spelling vocabulary words out loud, one throw per letter. Try our 4th grade science words for the vocab!
Spelling Activities for Grade 6 and Up
These activities are suited for everyone from 6th grade students all the way to adults.
- Anagrammer: Take a vocabulary word and see how many other words can be spelled with its letters. Use physical objects such as plastic letter magnets or Scrabble tiles to help.
- Letters for Letters: Write a letter to a real or fictional person you admire. Work in each of your vocabulary words.
- No Consonants, No Vowels: Learn the structure of words by providing students with their vocabulary lists, but with either all consonants or all vowels replaced with dashes or spaces. Have them fill in the blanks.
- Spelling by Hand: Use the sign language alphabet to spell out each word. Learn their spelling by sight and feel as well as sound.
Storytime: This may be an assignment over a few days. Have students write a story starting with a particular vocabulary word, then share the stories as a group. Our article on How to Write a Short Story is a great resource for this activity.
Reasons to Practice Spelling
Have you ever been writing something and thought, "I really need to practice my spelling?" You are not alone. Very few individuals have gone on to become spelling bee champions. Virtually every English speaker struggles with some aspect of spelling.
But, you may be asking, fun activities or not, why bother learning to spell? Just about every text-based application has a spell check these days. Given that the Spelling Robot is so ubiquitous, why worry over being able to spell yourself? Truth be told, in some ways, the advent of spell check has made the situation worse.
Not Everything Is a Computer
The days of the prominence of handwritten communication are obviously in decline. But, as things grow scarcer, they gain value. A handwritten letter can speak volumes. A handwritten essay on a test can make up a large proportion of a student's grade. Both are guaranteed to turn out worse if riddled with spelling errors.
It is an unfortunate truth that while spell check does decrease the need for individuals to know how to spell, it also makes a spelling error stick out like a sore thumb. It's all too easy for even a small slip in spelling to suggest carelessness or cluelessness on the part of the author.
Computers Are Not God
Spell check isn't perfect. As long as the word you've written is in English somewhere, the friendly robot will let it fly. Is it the right word? Have you been bamboozled by homonyms or homophones, or straight up misremembered a word? Are you certain you're using the right version of "there"?
The computer may not know. The person reading will. That's why it's important to make those judgments for yourself.
Not Everything Lets You Cheat
We write a lot about word games here at YourDictionary; in fact, we have a sister project dedicated solely to the subject. Crossword puzzles don't come with a spell check. That would rather defeat the point. If you want to play, you'll need to learn to spell.
Spelling may not be as much of a priority as it was in the ancient days of No Spell Check, but it's still a fundamental part of understanding the English language. For students learning English as a second (or third, or fourth) language, learning how spelling in English works is especially important.
For more on the joys of spelling, check out WordFinder! It's our word game site, which means it's all about spelling words right. Did you know there are words that start with X, or others that end in Q? Happy browsing!