How to become a good speller

Parents' Corner

April 18, 1999

Editor's note: In her biweekly column, Jerdine Nolen today explores spelling and what parents can do to help their children master this challenge.

Spelling is the forming of words with letters in an established order. It is a developmental skill, so practice is essential. Seeing correctly spelled words and learning to write the proper sequence of letters in a word can help us improve. It takes a lot of practice in the beginning until this method of representing sounds and letter is mastered.

Help your child:

* Learn the alphabet.

* Learn the sounds of alphabet letters.

* Read (or read to them) often.

* Draw, form letters or write.

* Experiment with letters and sounds.

* Recognize word patterns (wall-ball, mat-cat).

* Practice spelling words.

* Write frequently.

* Take risks with writing

* Make spelling corrections on his or her paper.

Other things you can do

* Have patience with your child's limits at the moment.

* Become familiar with basic sight words (the, as, was, saw, birthday, etc.).

* Help your child see the relationship letters have with sounds (start with his or her name).

* Allow your child to invent ways of spelling a word using the skills he or she has.

* Teach the proper way to spell a word.

* Obtain a list of basic sight words from the child's teacher.

* Post and review this list of words with him or her.

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