Is it there? Their? Or even they’re?
What about write? Or right?
To, two, or too?
Spelling can be a difficult task, even for adults, as it is linked to several neurodevelopmental functions. For example, long-term memory is necessary to link sounds to letters and to recall the rules of a language. On the other hand, active working memory is needed to spell words in context while managing other writing demands at the same time. Attention is also connected to accurate spelling because we must be able to catch important details. And something called phonological processing is used to differentiate subtle word sounds. With all of these processes involved, spelling is a skill that can easily break down; however, it is also a very important skill for being academically successful.
If your child struggles with spelling, finding time for extra practice is essential. The more comfortable kids become with letters, sounds, and words, the better they will be able to apply their skills when it comes to spelling. The following are five useful strategies to help boost a child’s spelling skills at school and at home:
- Visit www.spellingcity.com. This website offers a variety of methods for practicing literacy skills and word study.
- Drill basic letter combinations. Have your child create flashcards or a letter pattern dictionary to practice letter patterns as well as common words.
- Use cloze exercises. Create a list of words with letters omitted and then have the kids fill in the blanks. After students become familiar with this activity, they can actually create their own.
- Play board games. Games like Scrabble, Spill & Spell, Boggle, and Hangman provide kids with the opportunity to practice spelling both familiar and unfamiliar words.
- Go to www.thesecretstories.com. This website provides stories and visuals to connect seemingly random letter patterns and their sounds, helping kids to better understand why certain letter combinations sound the way they do.
Dr. Craig Pohlman is the Director of Mind Matters at Southeast Psych. Stay connected by visiting the Mind Matters Facebook page and following @MindMatters_SEP on Twitter.