Teaching children how to spell can be a long and difficult process. Last week, we covered the five different stages involved in the transition from invented spelling to conventional spelling. This week, we’re going to talk about practical applications and how you can encourage conventional spelling and writing in your children or students.
- Encourage writing from a young age. Children enjoy expressing themselves and they feel proud of themselves when they are able to write out stories and feelings. When children are still in the Precommunicative and Semiphonetic Stages, there should not be too much emphasis on conventional spelling. If young students start writing as part of their daily routine, they are more likely to continue it as they get older. Thus, they should be encouraged and positively reinforced to write.
- Scaffold the learning process. Once a child understands the letter-sound correspondence, parents and teachers can start teaching him or her basic spelling conventions. There are plenty of games, online and off, that kids can use to learn how to spell. However, it is important to remember to start with the most basic spelling conventions (such as one-to-one letter-sound correspondence) in order to build up the child’s spelling repertoire. Also, while spelling correction is vital, a child should not be penalized for words that he or she hasn’t learned yet.
- Writing and spelling aren’t just for school. If you want to encourage your child to write at home, create opportunities for it! Have him or her start a journal, play word games as a family (such as Scrabble or Boggle), or solve a crossword puzzle together. Suggest creative writing activities like writing stories about your family or family life. Be imaginative!
The most important idea to take away from this blog is to encourage your child to write without putting the entire focus on spelling. If children delight in writing, that emotion should be encouraged. Conventional spelling takes time and patience, so don’t worry if you still see spelling mistakes in your child’s writing. Go over the misspelled words together and make a game out of correcting them. If you make writing fun, your child will continue to do it.