Help with Spelling

Help with Spelling2

So, your child is doing a writing project and is moving along well, when suddenly she asks, “Mom, how do you spell..?” You politely spell the word for her and she is on her way again. A few minutes later she asks, “Mom, how do you spell…?” and you help a little more reluctantly, wishing she would make use of the spelling words she has already learned. One last time she asks, and you begin to think of creative ways to help her to know how to spell or how to remember how to spell the words she needs to know. What can you do to help her without teaching a spelling lesson then and there? (And by the way, sometimes that is necessary.)

Here are a few tips.

  • First, if your child is writing about a certain subject, have some words handy from research. For example, if your son is writing about butterflies, he might need to use these words: metamorphosis, caterpillar, chrysalis, and pupa. These are words that are not necessarily in his vocabulary or words easily “sounded out” as we parents like to say to our children when they need some spelling help.  So, having a short list of helpful words can keep the writing flowing without stopping for lots of help.
  • Secondly, keep a list of the most commonly used and most commonly misspelled words handy. The Dolch List and Fry List are both helpful tools to keep handy when writing.   As your child is writing, he can consult the list.  I recommend the alphabetic list because it is simpler to find the words. Let me mention here that the use of a dictionary, using spell check on a word document on the computer, or even doing a search for correct spelling online is also helpful. However, if your child is easily distracted or does not know how to use those tools well, you may have to give some assistance.
  • Finally, along with the others suggestions, you might want to consider using a word book. Free Word Book.  This is a little book that you can prepare for your child to keep track of words that your child uses frequently or needs help with often. For example, when I was teaching third grade, the word “friend” was often misspelled by my students. Even though it was one of our spelling words, and I explained the little ditty that “a friend is a friend to the end” (hence the word friend ends with the word “end”), children still misspelled it. It was a must as an entry on the page for words that begin with the letter F in their word book.

Next time your child is working on a writing project, try one of these tips, and let me know how your child is doing! Feel free to share your tips as well!

Free Downloadable Schooled by Grace Word Book


  • Heather says:

    I’ve had “natural” spellers (no instruction needed!) and “impossible” spellers (thank goodness for spellcheck). For those who have struggled, the frequently mispelled word list was a lifesaver!

  • Debra says:

    Excellent suggestions Sharon. As a fundamental building block on the road to literacy acquisition, spelling is an essential skill which, for some reason, has become overlooked and under emphasized. However, an excellent (and FREE!) interactive resource is that provides hundreds of grade appropriate lists (Dolch and Fry included) as well as Tricky 450 lists which are the 450 most often misspelled words for grades 3rd-8th. A highly engaging, multisensory user interface progresses the students through 22 learning modules with mastery of each list the goal of the site. Fun and free!

  • […] friend created a word book that is really helpful to keep track of words to […]

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