How To Help Children Learn To Spell

Help your students 'crack the spelling code' and learn how to spell by focusing on word families or CVC words once they can recognise and distinguish between letter sounds.

Once a child has a firm grasp on letters and the sounds they make, teaching them how to use that phonemic knowledge to read and spell comes next.

We are not born understanding language but most young children develop an understanding of spoken language well before preschool. Learning how written language works takes far longer and requires more explicit teaching but is still strongly tied to a child's ability to process oral language.


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How To Help Children Learn To Spell - teaching ideas and printables help your child learn how to spell by starting with CVC words | you clever monkey

USING DECODING

Research tells us that one of the most effective method of teaching a child to read and write is linked to being able to decode, to use their phonemic awareness to read new words. 

Decoding essentially describes the linking of letter patterns and speech sounds to be able to read unfamiliar words. 

You've heard that expression - 'cracking the code'? Well a child who can join these patterns and sounds together to read both familiar and unfamiliar words including made up ones is key to learning to read.

Having a through understanding of this phonemic code, also helps a child build a successful foundation for spelling or you might even say, re-coding because essentially that's what we do to spell words correctly. A child needs to be able to recognise and distinguish between sounds in words before they are then able to transfer them to print. 

HOW TO BEST HELP A CHILD LEARNING TO SPELL

Most preschoolers can capably tell you about their weekend or what they ate last night but as they continue through school they need support to learn to record this same information as accurately through writing.

Before learning to spell, a child must have good phonemic awareness and have learnt the phonemic code on which English is based. 
Then start with simple word patterns to help them build in confidence. 

I like to use short words like CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words first to help young children recognise spelling patterns but this all takes plenty of practice for most children which means finding different ways to allow them to master this without becoming bored or worse frustrated from their lack of success.

Literacy centres or literacy work stations are a perfect way for children to practice their spelling in a playful way. Literacy centres are 
a fun and engaging way to practice early literacy ideas intentionally taught during class but it can be a struggle to find new and inspiring ways to practice these concepts in purposeful, engaging small group activities. 

We collected some of our favourite ways to practice spelling in this one post for you to try in your classroom.

START WITH CVC WORDS

I like using photos of real life objects when I can. Together with some helpful letter frames, these CVC word cards have seen lots of use. Just add magnetic letters or laminate and use whiteboard markers to write. You can find these CVC cards here.


How To Help Children Learn To Spell | you clever monkey

We love using these CVC word wheels from From The Pond. Children can use whiteboard markers to write each word but sometimes we like using our alphabet beads to make the words instead. Magnetic letters also work well too.

How To Help Children Learn To Spell - teaching ideas and printables help your child learn how to spell by starting with CVC words | you clever monkey

Use picture cards, stamps and kinetic sand to create a sensory rich invitation to spell. Few children (or adults) can resist playing with kinetic sand. 

Don't have any kinetic sand? Play dough works just as well.

How To Help Children Learn To Spell - teaching ideas and printables help your child learn how to spell by starting with CVC words | you clever monkey

Use some Duplo blocks to help children visualise the word. Great for sight word practice as well, Duplo blocks are a useful resource to have in any classroom. You can find other ideas of how to use them in this post.

How To Help Children Learn To Spell - teaching ideas and printables help your child learn how to spell by starting with CVC words | you clever monkey




Many children love using game based resources. These CVC word family I Spy mats have been a hit in class. Younger students are just finding the rhyming words while those ready to write have been spelling the word families.

How To Help Children Learn To Spell - teaching ideas and printables help your child learn how to spell by starting with CVC words | you clever monkey

We've found some many different ways to use our FREE Say It, Make It, Write It mats! Use small objects or picture cards to prompt children to spell the CVC word they can see. You can grab your FREE copy of these mats from here.

How To Help Children Learn To Spell - teaching ideas and printables help your child learn how to spell by starting with CVC words | you clever monkey

Grab a pool noodle and make your own letter blocks to make CVC words with! I would use lower case letters on my pool noodle blocks but you can see how well they work. 



They can also be used on the edge of a desk or book shelf to build words like Amy from Playful Little Learners has. 

How To Help Children Learn To Spell - teaching ideas and printables help your child learn how to spell by starting with CVC words | you clever monkey

No pool noodles handy? No Time for Flashcards created similar with recycled ribbon spools and nuts and bolts.

How To Help Children Learn To Spell - teaching ideas and printables help your child learn how to spell by starting with CVC words | you clever monkey

I made these CVC puzzle cards recently for a couple of reluctant spellers in my class. I knew they loved puzzles and these were well received. You can find a copy of them here.


How To Help Children Learn To Spell - teaching ideas and printables help your child learn how to spell by starting with CVC words | you clever monkey

Of course you want your students to also understand how these CVC words work so I also made these simple sentence strips for one literacy centre activity. The children had to pick a picture card that made sense and write it in to finish the sentence. You can find these printables here.

How To Help Children Learn To Spell - teaching ideas and printables help your child learn how to spell by starting with CVC words | you clever monkey

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How To Help Children Learn To Spell - teaching ideas and printables help your child learn how to spell by starting with CVC words | you clever monkey




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