learning to read, writing, Writing Support

Spelling for Littles

When you’re learning to read and write, spelling can be a double-edged sword.

It facilitates the learning process as your child internalizes the interplay between words and sounds.

It frustrates your learner because nothing is spelled or pronounced consistently.

Here’s how to start
Ask your child: How do you spell “HIT”?
Break down the sounds /h/ – /i/ – /t/ – clap out the sounds so they hear all three sounds
/h/ /h/ /h/ – what says /h/? – H!
/i/ /i/ /i/ – what says /i/? – I!
/t/ /t/ /t/ – what says /t/? – T!
So how do we spell hit? H – I – T!

Don’t worry if they can’t remember the letters they just sounded out, just help them start to hear the sounds, then identify the letters that make those sounds, then put them together

Start with obvious words, the shorter the better

If they “spell” it right, with the right letter for each sound (even though it’s spelled incorrectly) – IT’S OK! This is “kid spelling” and is way preferable to memorizing words, but not being able to sound anything out.


Some considerations for while you’re child is learning

“Kid spelling” is PERFECT for your beginning speller
BEAR can be spelled B – A – R
CAT can be spelled K – A – T

You can tell your child that they’ll learn adult spelling when they get older, but right now practicing kid spelling is more important.

I like to tell my students, “you sounded it out perfectly!” – not that they spelled it correctly.

Once your child starts learning how to spell words (the, and, can), then THOSE words should start to be spelled correctly. But not until he or she has started internalizing words and learning to blend them better.

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