In the last year of kindergarten, most children will be expected to learn to spell and write. While some take to it like ducks to water, most not only struggle with spelling but also come to dread writing because of it.
Learning to spell, need not be boring nor does it have to be a stressful time for learning. Spelling it out orally and then reinforcing it with writing, helps the child remember it. Here are some fun activities you can try at home to have fun with spelling:
- Spell in the sand or foam. Teach your child to spell during play time, by writing in the sand. You can have them spell in a tray of sand in your house if you don’t mind the mess. Alternatively, try shaving foam. Children love the textural element to their play and tend to focus better on learning the word.
- Spell on Post-its. Little children simply love little sticky notes and wait for a chance to be allowed to use them. Have your child spell two words on each sticky note with an illustration. So if your child spells ‘button’ and ‘rabbit’, have them write the word on the note and draw a picture of a button and a rabbit beside the word.
- Email your words to a grandparent or parent. Is your child constantly badgering you about using your computer? Well, use it to teach them to spell. Have your child either type out a list of words you want them to spell, or have them practice creative writing by making them use those words in sentences. Do not use text or WhatsApp because our phones automatically correct spellings and it does not give your child a chance to learn to spell them correctly.
Once your child has learnt the spellings, you can reinforce the spellings through fun games that might alter your child’s attitude towards learning and spelling:
- Spelling Pictionary Game: This game can be a combination of dumb charades or Pictionary. You can draw out the word and your child has to spell it for you. For example, draw a button and your child has to write the word in their notebook. If they get the spelling wrong, have them rewrite twice while enunciating each sound to learn the spelling. Similarly, if you have a word like ‘cough’, act out the word and your child has to guess it and write it down. Remember to have your child rewrite the word correctly if they make a spelling mistake.
- Spelling Race: Try playing this game with two children. Invite your child’s classmate or a friend over. Have them stand at the start line. Each child takes turns to spell out words. With every right spelling, each child takes a step forward, closer to the finish line. Make the words progressively more difficult for children who are doing well, and easier for children who are struggling. That way the child who struggles continues to remain motivated throughout the game.
- Teacher-teacher: 5 and 6-year-olds absolutely love to pretend games and one of their favourite games is to pretend that they are the teacher. Pretend to be the student and have them teach you to spell.
Learning should be fun and not a tedious chore. For children who steer clear of studying, parents can change their attitudes towards learning by customising study hour to meet their child’s learning needs and tastes.