In my continuing literacy series, I am switching the focus from babies and toddlers to the emerging school-aged reader. This year, my son entered the first grade and is honing his reading and writing skills each day at school and during his nightly reading. It’s also the first time he was introduced to the spelling test. Like most students, each week there are a new set of words he needs to master when it comes to reading and spelling.
One of the first things I learned when getting my education degree is that there are several types of learners. For example, some are tactile (by touch) learners, some learn by movement, and others learn in the more traditional ways, like by reading and writing things down. So I thought why not provide a few different activities that build on his spelling practice, keep things interesting, and introduce him to various learning techniques. Below are five ideas I compiled and wanted to share. We vary which one we use each week, but each one has its advantages and may suit your child differently based on how they learn.
Stamp It Out
Taking a stamp pad and some lettered stamps (like these Melissa & Doug Wooden Alphabet Stamps), the child must search for the letters and stamp out the words one by one. I happened to type out the list quickly, but you can easily write down the words in one column and have them stamp beside it. What is also genius about this one is the length of time it can take for them to complete. Mom win!An alternative to using a stamp pad is to have the child flatten out a piece of playdoh and then stamp the word into the surface. After each word, they simply rework the playdoh’s surface to be flat again before stamping in the new word.Magnet Board
Using cue cards, write or print the spelling words on each card. Then place the card on a magnet board and have the child find and use alphabet magnets to create the word beside or below. It is both simple and very effective.
Salt Tray Spelling
This can be a fun alternative to writing the words down on paper. Simply fill a pan or tray with a bit of salt. Then have the child use their finger or a straight object (we use a chopstick) to spell out the words. To begin a new word, simply shake the tray clear.
I can’t take credit for this one. My son’s teacher often has the kids make their own memory game in the class to practice and play with at home. My son really enjoys playing this week after week. Simply take square pieces of paper and write the words down twice on separate squares. Then flip all the cards over and play the game, with players trying to get the most pairs of matched spelling words by the end.
Read It, Make It, Write It
This final activity is one that is multifaceted. It has the child reading, making, and writing the words down. When I was teaching, I had a similar form for doing math equations and simply modified it for spelling. You place the word down in the “Read It” column, the child says it aloud, and then uses the letter tiles (we use the tiles from the Banagram game) to create the word beside it in the “Make It” column. The final step has them jotting down the word with a dry-erase pen.
I am sharing this form with you as a free printable below. You can print it off and place it in a Reusable Dry-Erase Pocket, or if you are lucky enough to own a laminator, you can laminate it and reuse it over and over. Making use of dry-erase markers, all you need to do is simply wipe it off after each use.
I hope you can use some of these activities when working with your children’s growing vocabulary. It should also be noted that these are great for use with younger kids learning their alphabet. Simply switch out the words for single letters!
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