Making it fun to learn those spelling words

After sailing through Year 1, 2, 3 and 4 with son #1 it has been a very different journey with son#2.  For #1 it all came easily and we had to spend very little time revising sight words and then spelling words.  He just seemed to acquire it through osmosis.  But for #2 we have had to really work hard with him, first to master the Year 1 sight words and now to learn spelling words in Year 2.  We sort of realised what we were in for when he came after his first spelling test with 4/10.  I didn’t want him to continue on this path for the sake of his self-esteem and I wanted him to really learn these words to help him with his writing.  And speaking of writing, he has to write out his spelling words each night of the week and he will do that but after that he is very reluctant to do any other task that requires writing.  So in the past few weeks I’ve been searching for and trying out ways to learn the ten words each week without writing them more than once.

So far I have tried:

Scrabble tiles – When we bring home his friend on a Tuesday afternoon I try to play a few games with them and hunt the letters with the scrabble tiles has proven popular.  It  has also occurred to me that I could set up the words myself but scramble the letters and have them unscramble them.  I wonder if you can buy cheap scrabble tiles anywhere?

Jump on the letter – 26 half pages of paper with a letter of the alphabet on each and spread out on the rug in our living area.  Dh enjoys this one so he calls out the words and #2 jumps on each letter of the word.  I could do nice letters on the computer and get them laminated I suppose.  I might do that or I might not.

Pipe cleaners – This week I had him make the letters he needed for his words out of pipe cleaners.  He needed some help initially but quite enjoyed it and it had the added bonus of giving him the chance to see when he reversed letters and to be able to correct them far more easily than if they were written.

Spelling – This site is a great resource that you can pay for but has plenty of activities available for free.  I can just type in his words and then he can choose from a wide range of activities.  His favourite is the word search and he has actually asked me to make him a word search this weekend with the words he learned for Friday’s test – go Daniel!

Some things I would like to try:

Play dough – I have to make the play dough of course but I think he will enjoy making his letters out of play dough “sausages”

Sidewalk chalk – I’m sure Vera (our adopted blue cattle dog) would enjoy helping him write his words out on the driveway!

Sandy words – I’d like to dust off/de-grass the sandpit and have him “write” the words with a stick

Nerf bullets – This would take some preparation but I thought I could put each word four times on a sheet of  paper – spelt correctly once and incorrectly three times.  Then I’d put them behind some plastic and have him bring out his trusty nerf gun to shoot at the correct words.

Swing and spell –  I got this from – #2 son sits on the swing and I call out word.  he then has to say one letter each time he swings towards me.  I think we could easily come up with a trampoline version of this too!

Crazy words – a Year 2 boy, a tray, a spelling list and shaving cream!

Ransom words – Write your words by cutting out letters in a newspaper or magazine and glue them on a paper.

Secret Agent Words – Number the alphabet from 1 to 26, then convert your words to a number code.

Before retiring for bed, write your child’s spelling words on separate pieces of paper. Hide them in different places in your child’s bedroom (i.e.; under their pillow, in their medicine cabinet, where they keep their toothbrush, and etc.) When they find any of the pieces of paper they must give the paper to you and spell the word correctly that is written on the paper. If they can spell it, they get to keep the paper. If not, they must let you hide it in another place the next evening. The object is to collect all the words (papers) before the end of the week.


5 Comments on “Making it fun to learn those spelling words”

  1. Kerrilee says:

    Yes Teresa you can buy scrabble letters – EDSCO!

  2. Fifikins says:

    Great ideas! How about seeing if you can grab some letter shaped cookie cutters and cutting out cookie dough or even pastry which you could make mini pizzas out of (I cut out puff pastry and spread with tomato paste and cheese and bake.)

  3. Trish says:

    wow, you’re really putting in some effort there 🙂 I watched a documentary once about adults learning to read. one lady struggled, but pipe cleaners seemed to work for her, they said she was a “tactile” learner. it was very interesting.

  4. D is a kinesthetic and an auditory learner as far as I can tell. That’s why he likes jumping on the letters so much.

  5. Karen Hayward says:

    What a great list of ideas! Are you sure you should be giving these away free?

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