How Can Parents Help Kids Learn Their Spelling Word Lists?

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One way that parents can effectively help their child learn spelling words is to ask the child to slowly say each word out loud while looking at it, then to say the letters in the correct order out loud, and finally to silently spell the word and write it down. Incorrect pronunciation of a word usually results in incorrect spelling, so saying spelling words out loud is important. These steps can be repeated as necessary for each word.

A multi-sensory approach, such as writing a word in finger paints or crayon, and then tracing it while saying it out loud is effective for some children. Experts suggest that parents work with their child on only part of a spelling list at one sitting and that they group similar words, such as contractions, words with two syllables or words beginning with a vowel. Dr. Kenneth Shore, a licensed clinical psychologist, recommends writing misspelled words on index cards placed in a box where they can be randomly drawn and practiced.

Dr. Shore also stresses that parents need to be patient and positive when helping their children with spelling words. Placing too much emphasis on spelling at an early age can result in a child who refuses to write at a later age. Just as important, however, is correcting mistakes that are repeatedly made so that they are corrected before they become learned behavior.