How to Teach Spelling Strategies.
Your Students Will Truly Benefit!!

How to teach spelling was a subject area that was lost to the wayside for a while but thankfully it's on its way back!

Perhaps spelling lessons were an area that was huge at one time but was forgotten because of all the subject matter that had to be covered.

Before I retired I still taught spelling weekly, whether it was grade 3,4,5 or 6. Your students need that structure. "Spell Check" on a computer is just not good enough - and anyway spelling encompasses sooo many areas of Language Arts/ Literacy.

You may wonder how to teach spelling to your students. It's easy and it doesn't take up much of your time and again it's part and parcel of your curriculum.

As I mentioned, I taught weekly spelling lessons. In the schools where I taught, there were grade spelling textbooks.

EAch week, there was always a theme to the words on the list. For example:

* Find the root words

* Different plurals

* Antonyms and Synonyms

* Homonyms (homophones)

* Prefixes/Suffixes

* Multiple meanings

* 2 or 3 syllable words

* Super or challenging words

* etc., etc., etc.

On Monday, I would have a pretest of all the words (say word, use word in a sentence, repeat word). They would print these words in the "Write" column (on left side of the page).

After I finished with the list, I would spell each word orally and print them on the blackboard. If the student spelled the word incorrectly, they would print it correctly in the "Rewrite" column (on the right side of the page). If they spelled it correctly, they didn't have to rewrite the word.

Finally, they would hand in their spelling workbooks and I would mark and return them.

On Tuesday, I would assign various spelling exercises that I thought were relevant; e.g., dividing words into syllables, finding word meanings, finding short and long vowels, choosing words and creating sentences or paragraphs, etc. They would hand these exercises in and any mistakes would need to be corrected and shown to me again.

On Wednesday, I created spelling games activities. These could consist of creating a word search, crossword puzzle, spelling bingo, hangman, guess word in 3 clues. Even spelling bee games would be other types of spelling word games.

Obviously, these spelling games are done with single partners, small groups or even the whole class.

On Thursday, I didn't plan any spelling lessons, I taught something else or if for some reason I didn't teach spelling on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday then Thursday became a catch up day.

On Friday, it was final dictation, printed in a separate dictation book. I would say a word, then use the word in a sentence, then repeat the word. I would then mark the test.

In the younger grades, I made a spelling chart and the students would get a sticker if they got perfect on a particular lesson. Even in the older grades, the students loved stickers. Any mistakes and the student would write the word out 3 times.

Now you may say, my school doesn't have spelling books. How to teach spelling may be going through your mind. No textbook, no problem!

Spelling words can come from anywhere. If you are doing a novel study, choose words from the book, or from your Science or Social Studies unit or even from a Math unit you happen to be teaching at that moment.

Start off with a list of 10 words and increase the number of words every 6 lessons. I usually increased by 2 words.

You can make up your own how to teach spelling activities - they can be generic so they can be used for a variety of words. You can use the spelling word games I suggested or create your own.

When I gave the final dictation, I would record the words my students spelled incorrectly and every 6th lesson, I would use those words in the spelling lesson.

As I mentioned, spelling encompasses all facets of what needs to be taught according to the curriculum in the Language Arts / Literacy subject areas. Parts of speech, paragraph writing, teaching dictionary skills , and even how to teach grammar is all part of the spelling programme.

After reading this page on how to teach spelling, you will be more confidant and more willing to take the 15 minutes a day to do the various spelling activities. Your students will truly benefit from your spelling programme and that's what it's all about!

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