Spelling Difficulties In The Older Learner  

Many children have spelling difficulties, much to the despair of the teacher, parent and child.  Early in grade 1 these problems are not detected as grade 1 spelling follows a repetitive pattern and is phonic in nature.  However as spelling progresses, children have to memorize a sound-symbol relationship (called a phoneme – grapheme relationship in some schools).  In general children try to spell all words in a phonic way eg: kyoot (cute)

Children with severe spelling problems benefit from intensive sound awareness programs.  These programs are usually conducted by speech therapists.

The following simple ideas may assist learners (others may need to seek intervention).

  • Ensure that your child’s hearing and auditory discrimination are tested.  Children who hear dress as jess usually spell it that way.
  • Ensure that all sounds are spoken correctly eg: house has a rounded vowel and not a short vowel.  Many children spell this as hus.  If you aren’t sure speak to the teacher.
  • From an early age separate phonic spelling from your high frequency or sight words eg: there, although, because.  Ensure that you work differently.
  • Help your child to break up longer words, and tackle each syllable separately eg: ma-ni-pu-late.
  • Make spelling fun by playing scrabble, hang man etc
  • Pick out and comment on odd words when you read eg: ‘look at this word inn’, it’s spelt differently from ‘in’.
  • Talk about words often eg: which er are you choosing when you write bird? er; ur or ir.
  • Use visual exercises to help your child eg: bird, bead, bed.  Say bird and ask your child to choose the correct answer.
  • Do not underestimate the value of building vocabulary as you work on spelling.

All the very best with your weekly spelling list, help is at hand if difficulties persist.

By:  Sohana Kaliprasad                                                                   083 447 1894

Speech Therapist



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