Spelling champ

Raise a first-rate spelling star with these expert tips.

We all want our children to enjoy reading and writing, but children often get frustrated when it comes to spelling. They may have a difficult time recognizing spelling errors or become anxious when told they have misspelled words. Here are some easy things to do with your child to make spelling a natural part of reading and writing.

Pre-K through kindergarten

  • Enjoy ABC books together. Knowledge of the alphabet is important preparation for reading and writing.
  • Help your child learn the names and shapes of letters. Together, write the letters being taught in school.
  • Play with letter blocks, and point out letters in your everyday environment. Be patient and have fun.
  • Share poetry, songs and storybooks with rhymes.
  • Encourage writing at home. Start with simple things:
    • Who Sits Here?—Have your child write the names of everyone in the family on separate pieces of paper. Tape the papers to each person's chair in the dining room.
    • My Busy Week—Have your child help keep a monthly calendar (use large paper or a whiteboard for younger children). Together, write in special activities or important dates.

Grades 1–3

  • Encourage frequent reading and writing in your home. When children read and write they pick up useful information about spelling.
  • Have your child help you make grocery lists, greeting cards and labels. Do not criticize your child's mistakes; show pride in the fact that your child attempted to do it, and then show him or her how to look up the correct spelling in the dictionary or online.
  • Help your child get into the habit of looking for misspelled words in his or her writing. Pass those words along to your child's teacher for possible inclusion in individualized spelling lists.
  • Assist your child in learning weekly spelling words using the following technique. Have your child:
    • Look at the word
    • Say the word
    • Cover the word and try to visualize it
    • Write the word
    • Check the word

Reprinted with permission from Knowledge Learning Corp.