Spelling Words

Spelling skills are critical for more than just spelling class. Knowing how to spell words in writing is also important.

Sizing Up the List

Help your child identify spelling patterns (at, bat, cat, fat, mat, sat, rat). These are easier than the vocabulary-spelling words from the week's reading story that often come in older grades.

With vocabulary spelling words, have your child look for smaller words within the word (math and mat are in mathematical) or listen for familiar sound patterns.

Accommodations and Modifications

Again, accommodations and modifications are listed on a child's IEP or 504 plan. Some common modifications for spelling tests are to give a shortened list or to concentrate on words that follow a particular spelling pattern instead of a vocabulary-based word list.

Ways to Practice

Spelling words may be practiced orally, by writing the words, typing them on the computer, filling in missing letters, and arranging tiles with letters. Some children need to have the tactile experience of arranging plastic letter tiles. Others learn better by hearing and reciting the spelling.

Why does my child do well on spelling tests but can't spell the same words correctly in her written work?

Often test material is learned for the moment. Your child may not yet have automatic recall of the word. She may be concentrating on other rules of writing (such as beginning a sentence with a capital letter).

Practice can be done in any way that is helpful, but it is wise to include the way in which your child will be tested. For example, if she will have to write the words for testing, have her write the words as you dictate them.

Beyond the Test

Help your child create two spelling word reference lists to use in her future writing. This can be done with a spiral notebook. First, print one letter of the alphabet at the top of each page, counting the front and back of a sheet as one page. Spelling words may be added to this list for her to use as a reference. Further back in the notebook print a spelling pattern at the top of each sheet (at, in, ale, ean, etc.). Some words will be on both lists.

  1. Home
  2. Parenting Children with Special Needs
  3. School Strategies
  4. Spelling Words
Visit other About.com sites: