How do you choose the spelling words you want to use in your weekly spelling activities?
Search for spelling lists on the internet and you’re presented with a few choices. One is
Or you might find spelling lists where words have a similar phonetic make up. That is; a word with a similar pattern like word families and vowel teams.
Avoid Learning Spelling by Rote
When we have lists of random words, students are relying on memory to be able to write that word.
Think of a spelling list like this: milk, sister, little, went. There’s nothing that links those words together. Nothing that can help a child remember how to spell them, so they must rely on memory, and often it’s short-term memory.
In a spelling test, your students might get 8, 9, or 10 out of 10. But ask them to use those words in sentences the following week and you’re likely to see spelling mistakes.
With over 80% of English words actually having a predictable spelling pattern, it makes sense to give students words that follow predictable patterns. So instead of milk, sister, little, went you have
Teaching spelling this way encourages students to look for patterns and meaning chunks in words. Of course, students will always need to know how to spell high-frequency words, but rather than a list of 10 or 20 unrelated words, using words with predictable patterns and adding 2 – 4 high-frequency words to the lists will make spelling easier.
Introducing Spelling Words
When you introduce a new word list to your students it’s important to draw attention to the spelling patterns within those words. As children work through the spelling activities you’ve provided, they’ll continue to practice writing words with those spelling patterns.
Just by understanding one spelling pattern, they’ll expand their spelling knowledge from the 10, 12, 15, or 20 words you’ve given them to a whole lot more.
The Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check Method for Learning Spelling
By altering the look, say, cover, write, check method for learning to spell just a little, you can teach children to look for meaningful patterns and listen for the sounds within the words. Recognizing these patterns when writing will lead to mastering its spelling.
The first step is to look at the word. Looking involves more than just looking at the shape or visualizing the word. When a child focuses solely on these factors, they are using their short- term visual memory and seeing the word as a single unit rather than the parts it’s made up of.
The next step is to say the word. Students read the word and then tap out the sounds they hear. Vowel digraphs or vowel teams are heard as one sound. When a child taps out the word rain, they will tap three times, once for each phoneme, r
Then students cover the word. This is easy when they use the Look, Say Cover, Write Check visual. They can just place it over their word list.
Now it’s time to write the word down. As they’re writing they should think about the sounds they heard when they tapped the word. Once it’s written, they should ask themselves “does it look right?” If students forget while writing they should ‘sneak a peek.” It’s important to write the word correctly.
The last step is to check the spelling and correct any mistakes.
Words with two or more syllables have a similar process for learning spelling however students listen for syllables when saying the word and tap each sound in a syllable before writing that syllable.
Using a look, say, cover, write, check visual gives students a valuable strategy for learning their spelling. It works perfectly with any spelling activity you provide.
Purchase a Pack
If you’d love a set of motivating spelling activities to help your class master their spelling check out this pack:
You can grab your pack from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.