Teaching children how to spell

Guest post by Nasrin Z. of Islamic homeschooling on a budget


Asalamu Alaykum,

Now that my son has crossed the threshold into second grade, we have begun to focus not only on writing coherent paragraphs, and the parts of speech, but also the basic rules of spelling, Alhamdulillah. As a child I remember vague tips to remembering the rules of spelling, but how do you teach your own children how to spell?

If you would like to help your child learn how to become a superb speller, here are a few tips.

                                 i.      DIY Presentations – For my son, we are very big on using PowerPoint or Google docs to create presentations. The advantage of Microsoft PowerPoint, is that there is a built-in image library which can be used to supplement current educational material. We can add transitions and sounds to make our lessons more interesting. When we are learning new words in English or Arabic, I can easily color code words, and animate them so that my son can easily practice spelling the word aloud before I unhide the word.

Also a big advantage to using PowerPoint is that we save on ink! We can reuse the same material, we can test each other, and my son can control when the words are shown. We even make our own sounds as each slide is transitioning, just for a bit of extra fun.

For my son, being able to make a ruckus, and using physical movements during the presentation gives him the absolute giggles! So don’t be afraid, to be silly, or act out the words. This is a great opportunity to have a bit of fun, and laugh, while spelling what my son calls “funny words”!  Alhamdulillah, I love how thrilled he becomes when he has successfully spelled a new word!

                               ii.      Color coding – Previous research has shown that the vivid hues of warm colors have a greater impact on memory retention. Not only do warm colors, such as red and yellow, increase memory retention but they also advance in space. Cooler colors, such as green and blue tend to recede into the background. Use brighter colors in patterns to increase retention of each word.

The background color also has an impact on rate of which the words and letters can be recalled. A study done by McConnohie in 1999, found that the slideshow with the white background resulted in higher retention rates both immediately, and one hour after viewing the slideshow.

                              iii.      Color Patterns – It is much easier for children to memorize words and numbers in patterns. Much the same as memorizing phone numbers in sets, replicating this with spelling words increase the amount of words that a child can memorize.

When each word is unveiled, ask your child to spell the words in patterns, such as “a-w-k”, “w-a-r”, “d-l-y”. Ask them to study the word, and close their eyes. They should be able to “see” the word in their minds. If they need a hint, they can open their eyes, peek and close them to recall the word once more.

For example:


                             iv.      The rules of spelling – There are many resources on the internet that can guide you in regards to the basic rules of spelling. If you teach your child the basic rules, and have them practice by doing word studies, they will be well on their way to being a master speller.

                               v.      Spelling quiz game – Forget the boring spelling quizzes you remember as a child, make your quiz more fun! With my son, I have him write down each word after I dictate them for him. When he is finished, he joyfully counts each letter he scored correctly and adds them up!

Alhamdulillah, last week he scored over 46 points! Now when we are studying he will say, “Mommy, how many points did you get?” after I close my eyes and spell the word. I let him unhide the words, and he will count the letters that were spelled correctly.

We each take turns spelling the words aloud, and congratulate each other on our achievements. Alhamdulillah, my son has learned to love spelling.


Nasrin Zoghbia is a homeschooling parent to her six year old son, Matthew. She is also one of the contributors to Islamic Homeschooling on a Budget and the http://islamichomeschool.edu20.org/, an online curriculum guide for home educators.


Asalaamu Alaikum (Peace be upon you) your thoughts? Your comment, questions?? Please share

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s