As a tutor, many of my students find spelling difficult; their knowledge of phonics is often not strong. Some tell me that they try to learn their homework spellings but when it comes to the spelling test they are not able to remember them; they find spellings frustrating and sadly feel that their difficulty in remembering how to spell means that they are failing.
I have lots of strategies to support them. The strategies that I am sharing with you are practical and kinaesthetic, moving away from the more traditional way of copying out spellings. The resources that I use are all from the bargain shops and can be easily assembled, wherever possible I get my students involved in making the resources too.
The letter b and d confusion.
Discuss with the student how the lower case b fits into the upper case b. They can trace over the letters with a highlighter or create their own. This can then be placed on a desk, in a book, or in a place where the student an refer to it easily.
This activity encourages the student to think about the onset of the word and also the digraph. It can easily be adapted to the individual student.
Shaving foam and sand
Practising their spellings in shaving foam and sand is one of my students’ favourite activities; especially if they can go outside. You might be able to see that on the tray that i use, one of my students had the brilliant idea if using the sand and tray to practise telling the time.
Using pipe cleaners to spell words is also a good exercise for building hand and finger strength.
Beads, stamps and stickers
Look out for letters on beads, stamps and alphabet stickers. They are a fun way to practise spellings. I found that it is easier to buy beads, stamps and stickers that have the upper case letters but these can confuse some individuals. Thread beads onto cord or pipe cleaners to spell words is another good exercise for developing hand and finger muscles.
Most of my students enjoy being outside and it is not unusual for my patio to be covered in chalky spellings. I do have a blackboard on an easel which they like to use too.
These strategies are kineasthetic; the more I support students the more I realise how important it is that students experience their learning in many ways. Most of all, it reinforces my belief that learning should be fun.