Spelling words correctly


May 02, 1999|By Jerdine Nolen

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

To allow interesting and different ways for your child to study and practice spelling words at home, use:

* finger paints

* finger spelling

* pasta

* writing words on the sidewalk using chalk

* typing the words

* writing words in the sand

* using a finger as a pencil, have them write the word on your back

* encourage children to make up spelling rules for very long words (mnemonic devices or memory aids)

* talk to your child about the importance of spelling

* have your child correct his own spelling mistakes

* play spelling games

* provide your child with a paperback dictionary or thesaurus

* play word games that involve spelling, such as hangman.

* have fun with palindromes (words, phrases, verses or sentences that read the same backward or forward; e.g., Mom, Bob, Dad)

Include more traditional approaches, too:

* show children the proper way to spell words

* have correctly spelled words posted

* help your child sound out the word

* teach rules that apply ("u" follows "q," no English word ends in "v," etc.)

* learn about word origins

* become familiar with prefixes, suffixes, roots of words, word families, patterns in words, etc.

* obtain a list of the most commonly misspelled words for your child's grade level

* have that list available for your child when proofreading her work

A resident of Ellicott City, Jerdine Nolen is the award- winning children's author of "Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm" and "Raising Dragons." She is a former teacher and administrator in elementary education, and has personally field-tested her suggestions on her son and daughter.

Pub Date: 05/02/99

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