Spelling can be a difficult for some children to grasp. There can be many factors influencing your child’s learning process and those can delay their ability to learn how to spell. We've put together a list of five steps you can take to help improve your child's spelling.
STEP ONE: Check their Vision
You can talk with a teacher and see if he/she has noticed any other problems in the class, such as squinting when reading or difficulty seeing the board. This could mean that the child merely has a problem with their eyesight which needs to be corrected. Many parents think schools are still conducting vision checks, but that is simply not the case any more. Fixing that kind of eyesight problem could be very simple with a proper eye exam.
Vision acuity (how well your child can see the board from a distance) is one issue. Now imagine trying to memorize spelling words as the letters blur, move together or actually keep moving as you study. These are just a few things children may be experiencing while they are still too young to understand that these problems are not happening to every child. Undiagnosed vision issues like these can contribute to a child problems spelling. A more in-depth vision assessment is needed to discover these issues.
Once vision has been addressed there are many other things you can do to help your child or grandchild at home. Here are four additional tips to help along the way to spelling mastery!
STEP TWO: Enhance their Phonics Learning
Visit any office supply store and find their teacher section. Pick up a few phonic work books that are for your child’s grade level. Spelling is no longer just memorizing words, it is broken down into phonetic syllables and if your child cannot grasp that, then spelling will be very difficult for them. These books will help you to guide your child in how to break down words simply and easily.
STEP THREE: Get in Line with Classroom Tricks
After a strong grasp of phonics, you should speak to the child’s teacher again for a list of phonetic tricks they use in the classroom. Different teacher employ different tips and tricks which serve as quick reminders for spelling. These tricks are tied to the specific sound letters make. Reviewing simple sayings the teacher uses even with words your child already knows how to spell can be a big help for classroom success.
STEP FOUR: Tackle the Vowel Sounds
The vowel sounds are a difficult part of mastering spelling. Vowels are the hardest ones for children to grasp because each vowel has multiple ways that they are used. Take the letter A for example; there is a short A sound, a long A sound, an AI sound, etc. and each one has a different sound. While this may seem really confusing to adults, imagine how it seems to a child. It is unrealistic to think a classroom with 25 plus students are all going to master this at the same time. Helping your child work through these vowel sounds will again create more classroom success which will translate into less frustration at home.
STEP FIVE: Increase the Challenge
As your child begins to master the weekly spelling list, don't be afraid to start introducing complex words. Adding one or two new complicated words can add confidence and also give your child more confidence. Be sure to spell and teach them how to break these new, difficult words down by sound. Giving them compound words to spell like homework, airplane, and sidewalk will show them how small words can be put together to from bigger words. When they understand that words can be broken apart like that they will start to see that pattern in bigger words.
Being able to see those patterns and having an understanding of the sounds that letters make will help your child to become a better speller. As with anything, once a child sees the progress and experiences success they will have the confidence they need to spell bigger and more complicated words.
At Coleman Vision, we are always looking for ways we can improve lives through vision. If your child or grandchild is struggling with spelling this may be due to an undiagnosed vision based learning problems. Take our free quiz (link) and find out what you can do to put success in their future!