Tips on Teaching Your Child Spelling Words

By Karen Hollowell
Help your child learn to spell with letter tiles.
Help your child learn to spell with letter tiles.

Learning spelling words can be a laborious experience for your child if she has been taught only the traditional methods, such as writing each word five times or writing a sentence using each word. Although these methods are not without merit, there are some different -- and perhaps more fun -- ways to learn spelling words that could be more effective for your child. Use a variety of methods so that your kiddo is less bored and more attentive to her spelling lesson.


Young children can learn and have fun at the same time using manipulatives. To teach your child spelling words, get some magnetic letters and have her spell words on the refrigerator or a magnetic board. Other ideas include spelling words with alphabet cereal or forming the letters with play dough. By handling objects while seeing the letters, your child is more apt to remember the words.


Word games are effective for helping your child learn spelling words. You can play Scrabble or work crossword puzzles together. You can also make a word search puzzle with your child's spelling list. There are websites that can generate customized word games based on a list of words that you type in.


Memorizing spelling words is a traditional method that you can teach your child. Explain to him how to visualize a word in his mind. For example, he looks at the word written on paper. Then he closes his eyes and pictures the word, letter by letter, in his mind. He should spell the word aloud, then check to see if he was correct. Repeat this procedure for each word, and don't rush it. It may not be the most exciting method, but for many people, visual memorization is the most effective.


Writing spelling words can be beneficial if it's done in a variety of ways; think outside the box of pencil and paper. Let your child paint the spelling words or write them in whipped cream. There are also specialized drawing apps for tablets that could be fun for kids to use to practice writing spelling words.

About the Author

Karen Hollowell has been teaching since 1994. She has taught English/literature and social studies in grades 7-12 and taught kindergarten for nine years. She currently teaches fourth grade reading/language and social studies. Hollowell earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi and her Master of Arts in elementary education from Alcorn State University.