Spellcheck Please!

At a recent presentation I was asked about spelling and why a child who can read still makes spelling mistakes, particularly in creative writing assignments. Reading and spelling are closely linked and are learnt side by side. When we were growing up and learning to read and write, the theory went like this ‘the better the reader the better the speller’. However nowadays this is not always the case and spelling issues are on the rise. Why? For the simple reason that children are growing up in a highly stimulating and fast paced learning environment, as so much information is at our fingertips attention to detail is often jeopardized and no sooner has a child ‘looked at’ one piece of information then they are moving onto the next.

It is a myth that some children are born good spellers and some are not. Spelling is taught. Learning to spell grows from a child’s understanding that words are made up of separate sounds and that letters represent those sounds.  What is fact is that the more experience and interaction a child has with words the sooner they begin to notice common patterns in the way letters are used in words and the repetitive sequences of letter usage.   Having said that; not all children are strong phonics learners and need more spelling strategies to make it stick like glue in the long term memory.

Try this at home with your child’s spelling words:

  • Ask your Child to look at the sounds the word makes and chunks them into manageable parts
  • Ask your Child to find out the meaning of word so he or she can form an association to the word and remember firstly what it says and secondly how it is spelt
  • Help your Child notice recurring patterns in words – e.g. hat sat mat have a common ‘at’
  • Use simple tricks to make spelling fun like mnemonics, e.g. as your child spells out the word ‘said’, he must say out loud South Africa is dry

Spelling image




Use multi-sensory activities and games to practise spelling words. Get in touch with Raising Readers for more spelling ideas…

Young children need to interact with concepts (words, letters, shapes, and numbers) over and over in different ways to engage different parts of the brain to render better long term retention. In the early years of primary school practise spelling words using sensory options and games. As children get older encourage self- monitoring as they write; asking ‘does that word look write?’

The tweens and teens of today communicate in code (or so it seems to us the Parents)! Insist on good spelling habits for schoolwork and let them have it their way with friends.


Spelling strategies

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