Saturday, September 15, 2012

Spelling Word Study Strategies

Spelling comes easily for some and is a little more difficult for others.  No matter where your child falls in the spectrum, a bag of study strategies is always nice to have handy.  Here is our families bag of tricks.  Find the one the works for you or switch them up!
1. Write each spelling word seven times.  First red, then yellow, orange, green, blue, indigo and violet!  (We usually switch up indigo or violet for PINK)
2. Type all of your spelling words on the computer, you could even email them to grandparents!
3. Use a paintbrush with a bowl of water or water gun to write your words on the sidewalk.
4. Write your words in alphabetical order. Then write them in reverse alphabetical order.
5. Write a story using ALL of your spelling words.
6.  Write a sentence for each spelling word.
7. Use two different color pens to write your spelling words. Use one color to write the consonants and the other for the vowels.
8. Triangles - Write words as if they are a triangle, adding one letter each time.                                w
9. Write a spelling word with your pencil. Now trace around the outside with a crayon, hugging the same but not touching the letters. Pick two other crayons to continue tracing outward!
10. When repetitive practice doesn't work for a certain word we head to word mapping.  (Dr. Bruce Murray from Univ. of Auburn explains this great).
W or d / m a p / p i ng

The wordmapping procedure has nine steps. For five steps, the student examines the phonological structure of the word by attending to phonemes (mouth movements), all without seeing the word. For the remaining four steps, the student constructs and studies the spelling as a word map.
First, examine the mouth moves of the spoken word. Example

1. Say the word. night
Say the syllables if there are more than one.

2. Stretch the word. /nnnIIIt/
Work syllable by syllable with multisyllabic words.
If a phoneme can't be stretched, exaggerate it.

3. Segment (split up) the phonemes.
Work by syllables if necessary.
First phoneme? /n/
Next phoneme? etc. /I/
Last phoneme? /t/
Skillful spellers may simply report the segments.

4. Count the phonemes. 3

5. Draw blanks. __ ___ __
The blanks stand for the phonemes.
Put slashes between syllables.
Next, construct a word map to learn the spelling.

6. Record the spelling phoneme by phoneme.
On the first blank, write [letters] n ___ __
On next blank, write [letters] n igh __
On last blank, write [letters] n igh t
If there are silent letters, caret them in.

7. Write the word in your best cursive handwriting.       night

8. Study the spelling.
Ask what a pattern] says OR What does igh say?
Ask about how a phoneme is spelled OR How do we spell /I/ in night?
Ask what we need to remember about the word. What's tricky about night?
Only ask about tricky parts.

9. Give the meaning.
What does ___ mean? When it's dark out.

These are the strategies that work best at my house for my daughters.  Every child has their own learning style.  When I was teaching, I would provide my students with a spelling contract broken down by learning style for them to complete on a weekly basis for practice.  This helps with studying by allowing them to have choices and allowing for differintiation.  (This particular contract is from Learning In Bliss)

Sometimes we need to get a little techie!  Check out these websites.

Leave us a comment and tell us how you study spelling words at your house!


  1. Wow thanks for the great tips! It will really come in handy with my son!

  2. Great spelling tips. Thanks for the article.

  3. Great tips! :D Spelling is one of those things a lot of kids have issues with - and I hate to say I dealt with a lot as a high school teacher.

  4. Fantastic tips......never heard several of these before, but will have to try them with my Sunday School kids. julieann r

  5. These are really great study tips. Straightforward memorization can be so difficult, and I remembering writing my words 10 times each really helped them stick.