Improving Spelling: How to Help Your Child Spell Better

Are you looking to help your child improve his or her spelling skills? If this is the case, keep reading for a few tips, techniques and ways you can do so.

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Ways You Can Help Improve Your Child's Spelling

Why Spelling Is an Important Skill

If your child struggles with spelling, you may want to spend some time helping him or her improve spelling at home. Children with strong spelling skills often get better grades on writing assignments because many teachers grade for spelling. The better a child's spelling is, the easier it often is for the child to increase his or her vocabulary, which is an integral component of reading comprehension.

In the computer era, many adults and children have become completely reliant on spell-check. Although spell-check can help poor spellers create quality written work without spelling errors, it doesn't catch every mistake. Strong spelling skills can actually help your child recognize his or her own mistakes or not make them in the first place. In order to help your child avoid being tricked by spell-check, you can teach him or her specifically about words with similar spellings, like 'their' and 'there.'

Learning Parts of Words and Spelling Patterns

One of the ways your child can learn about letter combinations is by studying common roots, prefixes and suffixes. Create lists of common word parts and go over them with your child. You can design spelling lists around two or three words parts, which will help your child become familiar with the parts of various words.

Help your child learn and practice spelling patterns. Although some words in the English language are exceptions, many other words fit in general patterns that can be broken down. For example, many words that end with the 'shun' sound are spelled 'tion.' By learning common letter combinations and studying word structure, your child can learn how to make educated spelling guesses about unfamiliar words.

Spelling Techniques and Tricks

Teach your child spelling techniques and tricks. For example, by gaining knowledge of phonics rules, your child may become able to spell words that he or she hasn't heard before. If your child knows that placing an 'e' at the end of the word will make the preceding vowel hard, then he or she will apply this knowledge next time it's necessary.

Use learning techniques like mnemonic devices, which use an association a child already has in order to help him or her retain new information. Initials, rhymes, poems and chants are just a few mnemonic devices that you can use to help your child with spelling.

Useful Spelling Resources

Have your child practice with spelling games. Many websites have free spelling games that your child can play to practice his or her general spelling skills. At some sites, your child can even input his or her own spelling lists and play free practice games based on these words.

If your child needs extra help, there's likely to be a number of after school, weekend or summer programs that focus on spelling. These might take place at your child's school, a local library or a community center. You might also consider hiring a private tutor if you think that your child needs one-on-one assistance from a trained professional.

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