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).
that your child’s hearing and auditory
discrimination are tested. Children who hear
dress as jess usually spell it that way.
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.
early age separate phonic spelling from your
high frequency or sight words eg: there,
although, because. Ensure that you work
child to break up longer words, and tackle each
syllable separately eg: ma-ni-pu-late.
spelling fun by playing scrabble, hang man etc
and comment on odd words when you read eg: ‘look
at this word inn’, it’s spelt differently from
words often eg: which er are you choosing when
you write bird? er; ur or ir.
exercises to help your child eg: bird, bead,
bed. Say bird and ask your child to choose the
underestimate the value of building vocabulary
as you work on spelling.
the very best with your weekly spelling list, help
is at hand if difficulties persist.
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