Make Learning to Spell Fun

Good spelling forms a solid foundation for developing the skills to solve crosswords and other word puzzle games. Spelling bees are a great educational tool to help children boost their vocabulary and general knowledge.  In many ways they are just like a puzzle game that needs to be solved.  They are fun, but they can also be a daunting experience.  Simply standing in front of an audience (even if it is classmates) can be a scary thing to do.  But it’s a great way for kids to build their confidence and self esteem, and it can become quite competitive.

Preparing for a spelling bee

Preparing for a spelling bee is not the same as simply learning your words.  It is far easier to spell something correctly when you write it down.  When you are spelling out loud you don’t have the visual backup so it is easy to make a mistake.   As a parent, you can help by giving your child the opportunity to practise spelling their words out loud.

Make spelling like a game 

Traditionally, children learn by repetition so you need to find fun ways for your child to spell their words.  Why not make it into a game?    Each person takes it in turns to spell a word which is written on a card picked out of a ‘deck’.  You can include the words that your child needs to learn each week and build them up into a proper ‘deck’.  You might like to add words that a bit more of a challenge.  Why not even set it up as a team game, rather than just individuals.  The team who spells the most words correctly wins.  You might have a prize.  A packet of M&Ms? Pun definitely intended!  Getting your child to practise their words out loud, will make them feel much more confident, and they will develop his/her own technique for coping. It’s bit like being in their own spelling bee. Some will close their eyes and picture the word.  Others will rely on their hearing and sound the word out.  Practice is essential so they become comfortable with the technique before having to stand in front of an audience and spell.

Intergenerational spelling

Crosswords and codewords are are great for boosting your child’s vocabulary.  Crosswords help with learning words and definitions, while codewords allow them to become familiar with word structure. These type of puzzles are great for playing with your children and grandchildren.  Learning to spell will be fun for everyone.  I thoroughly enjoyed solving the newspaper crosswords with my Mother at a young age.  It is never too early to appreciate the principle of lifelong learning.

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