Here is the information I promised in my recent podcast episode, Seeing Spelling as a Servant.
First, have them carefully pronounce the words to make sure they were actually saying them correctly. You would be surprised how many times words were being misspelled because they were being said wrong. Lib-erry became library and all of the sudden it was being spelled correctly!
Break up the word into syllables. Many times this helped them to see spelling rules in action. Such as when a word has a short vowel sound, you double the consonant when adding a suffix. For example: hop becomes hopping by doubling the p before adding the ing. Otherwise it is hoping, and hoping down the side walk just doesn’t make sense!
Put all of their words in alphabetical order. This got a little interesting if 6 of their 8 words all started with the same letter! This was excellent in building their critical thinking skills.
Write the definition and part of speech for each word.
Write the word in a sentence.
For younger kids, use window markers to write your words BIG!
Also for younger kids, write your words in a tray of rice, whipped cream, or pudding (depending on how brave you are, Mom!)
At the end of the month, I had them take all of their words and write a short story or,
Use Scrabble or Bananagrams letter tiles to make a huge cross word puzzle with as many words as possible.
Or have a spelling BEE!
I also encourage you to sit down with your kids and come up with some activities that they would like to do to practice their spelling. Let them own it!
When my children get to high school, I take 9th and sometimes 10th grade to run through a list of 500 of the most commonly misspelled words. By this time, even the ones who are not natural spellers have a grasp on at least 2/3 of the words on this massive list, so we study only the ones they need. We do the same types of activities… definitions, alphabetizing, writing or saying in a sentence, etc.
The biggest thing we need to remember about spelling is not let it sit in too lofty a place in our homeschools. Remember that it is not the end of the world if our kids have to crack open a dictionary to look up a word when they are 35 years old!
I also mentioned that I have two resources for teaching/learning spelling that I keep on my shelf.
The first one is “The ABCs & all Their Tricks” by Margaret Bishop, and the second one is “The Natural Speller” by Kathryn Stout. The Natural Speller gives the teacher a toolbox of ideas for building their student’s spelling ability.
Both of these are extremely reasonably priced and available through Christian Book Distributors.