Alternate Methods for Teaching Spelling

GENERAL TIPS

Post the list of spelling words in big, bold print where it can be easily seen throughout the week.

Play lots of Scrabble, Scrabble Junior, Upwords, Boggle, Probe, or other word games. Simplify the rules as necessary, or “stack the deck” to adapt play for younger students.

Make up your own word games using the letter tiles from Scrabble, etc.

Form the words for the week’s spelling list using the letter tiles/cards from Scrabble or other word games.

Using letter tiles/cards, connect the words from the spelling list crossword-fashion.

READ, READ, READ for experience seeing correctly spelled words.

Instead of weekly spelling lists, try 30-40 words per month, grouped together by similar spelling rules.

Read The ABC’s and All Their Tricks for explanations of why words are spelled the way they are.

Word puzzles work well for those students who like word puzzles: word finds, fill-ins, unscrambles, crosswords, cryptograms, etc. (Puzzles do not work for students who are not good at puzzles.)

Let the student dictate a story (while Mom or older sibling writes/types it) using the words from the spelling list. (Be sure to teach about plagiarism and crediting ideas properly.)

FOR THE VISUAL STUDENT

Write the words with several colors of markers, one color per word, but several words in each color; then sort words by colors. Some students may learn better if they are allowed to choose the colors and write the words themselves; some will need Mom or an older sibling to do it for them.

Use different fonts to fit the students’ personalities: script or cartoony, etc.

Write individual words on index cards and use as flashcards. Let the student practice spelling the word out loud by reading from the card; later ask the words spelling-bee style.

FOR THE AUDITORY STUDENT

Pronounce the words phonetically as a memory device; “sincerely” becomes “sin-sair-eh-lee,” “definitely” becomes “dee-fie-nite-lee.”

Vocal toys such as Speak ‘n’ Spell or some computer games can speak the word to the student.

FOR THE TACTILE STUDENT

Make letters/flashcards in different shapes or on different textures:
–Sandpaper
–Fabrics (check with Grandma or the remnant bin at Wal-Mart)
–Craft felt
–Craft foam
–Wavy cardboard and other textured papers (available with scrapbooking supplies)
–Pushpins on a bulletin board or stacked layers of corrugated cardboard
–Plywood (enlist Grandpa and his jigsaw)

FOR THE KINESTHETIC STUDENT

Teach sign language letters (manual alphabet)

Use Morse code or Braille-alphabet dots for a decoding puzzle (and bonus of learning another alphabet)

MULTI-LEARNER IDEAS

Tactile/Kinesthetic
Challenge your doodler to invent his own font and then write the entire spelling list in that font.

Visual/Tactile/Kinesthestic
Cut letters from magazines, popcan cartons, cereal boxes, etc.to use for the letter tiles/cards activities mentioned above (more adept students can help cut).

Let the student use a set of alphabet rubber stamps to print spelling words.

Write the words on 1-inch graph paper, one letter per square, then cut out each word and rearrange the list alphabetically, by length of words, etc. (SAVE these letters to re-use over and over.)

 

 

Many more suggestions are available in our book Taking the Mystery Out of Learning Styles.

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