Making Spellings Stick

by | May 6, 2022 | 0 comments

Why is spelling so tricky for some? Perhaps, it is because there are so many processes to manage. For example, you have to:

  • Isolate sounds in words and then translate those sounds into print.
  • Recall spelling rules — and the exceptions.
  • Choose between different words that sound the same: Sent, cent, or scent?
  • Have reliable motor memory and pencil control.
  • Have a reliable working and sequential memory.
  • Inspect for errors and correct.
  • Spell words whilst generating novel content, demonstrating correct grammar and punctuating.
  • Place keeping.
  • Deal with the emotions and anxieties involved.

So how can we help? The first thing is to ensure that spelling is a multi-sensory learning experience. When we work in multi-sensory way we:

  • Interact with the letters in a more memorable way allowing for deeper processing.
  • Can work three dimensionally.
  • Can get rid of the pen and/or pencil. No pen/pencil – no pressure.
  • Increase engagement.
  • Can make sure errors are easily put right – no crossing out.
  • Enjoy it so develop positive associations.

In practice this can look like any of the following activities:

  • Revisiting sensory experiences such as tracing the word in a variety of substances (sand, cornflour, glitter, shaving foam, slime, on carpet tiles….).
  • Using large gross motor movements to form the word. For example, drawing on a large chalkboard, squiring the letters with paint, using a wet brush on a large surface.
  • Making the words using pipe cleaners, WikkiSticks, wooden and magnetic letters.
  • Rainbow writing over a word several times.
  • Saying the letters aloud as you write them.
  • Attaching a movement to each letter – spelling whilst skipping, hopping and jumping.
  • Building the letters to spell a word from LEGO.

Remember that spelling rehearsal should be fast, fun, regular and stress free!

Written for Read Successfully by Beccie Hawes – Head of Service – Cadmus Inclusive