Starting school was a big change for my son. He loved (and still loves) going to school but after a long, tiring day, he did not feel very motivated to do his spelling homework. Over the last few years, I have tried to find different ways to inspire him to learn the words he is given using a variety of approaches. Lots of these ideas are already being used in schools.
- By making the time we look at spellings special. It is a time when we can sit down together and spend some ‘quality’ time. Even if it for only five minutes per day to read through them.
- By writing in rice, cous cous, sand, flour or anything else that you can think of! We start off by writing using one finger then by using a dry paintbrush.
3. By making words out of playdough, pipecleaners or rolled up tin foil.
4. Writing spellings out on a chalk board.
5. If the words relate to objects, make labels for them.
I think the most important thing to note is that we have not done these tasks all in one go. None of these tasks were forced upon my son either. When learning spellings, I have found that my son learns them better when we take a ‘little and often’ approach. Even looking at one or two spellings per night, using them in made up sentences is a good start. I display his work, take photos and he this helps him to become enthusiastic about looking back over what he has done. As it is different to learning the spellings by reading and re-reading them in list form, it helps my son to remember how to spell his words. For my son, this ‘doing’ by manipulating as well as designing his own versions of the words, helps him to keep the spellings in his head.
Every child is different. These methods work for my son but we are continually trying out new ways to look at spellings to keep things new and fresh in his mind. These are not the only activities we have tried, these are the ones we started with. I will put more ideas on some of my following blogs. Having a wide range of ideas will help you to choose which suits your child best.
It would be great to hear from anybody who has tried these alternative ways of learning spellings or any other ideas that we could add.