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How Can I Help My Child With Spelling?

Spelling Tests
Children learn spellings for a spelling test each week. Accept that there will be mistakes in tests, and just look for consistency and improvement. After all, two out of 10 is twice as good as one out of 10!

Identifying their own mis-spelt words
We encourage our students to identify mis-spelt words in their own writing.

How to learn weekly spellings
One of the ways in which children learn their spellings is by using the 'Look, Cover, Write, Check' Method. This encourages your child to 'see' and 'hear' the word, and to see for themselves if they spelt it right.

  • Look at a spelling word.
  • Cover the spelling word.
  • Visualize the covered word in the mind.
  • Write the word from memory.
  • Check what has been written with the uncovered word.

During their English lessons, children are given the opportunity to look for patterns in the spelling of words and to invent rules and saying to help them improve their work.

Other ways to learn spellings

  • Find words within the word (there's a 'hen' in 'when'!)
  • Break the word up into smaller parts (Wed + nes + day = Wednesday)
  • Break the word up into sounds (th-a-nk)
  • Make up a silly sentence using the letters (big elephants cause accidents under small elephants spells 'because')
  • Say the word as it is written (like 'knight' = ‘k’ ‘nite’)
  • Find a word that rhymes with it: is the spelling the same?
  • Write or type a story using all the spelling words. Make sure all the words are used accurately.
  • Use Discovery Education’s puzzlemaker tool to create word searches using your child’s spelling words.
  • Write the word list in alphabetical order.
  • Spelling List Paper Pass: Take it in turns to write a letter of the word being learnt. ‘Up the Ante’ by asking them to write the next two or three letters.
  • Play with food! Write a tricky spelling in mashed potato or use chips to form the letters.
  • Use a paintbrush to write words using water on the patio.
  • Cut out words from old magazines or newspapers.
  • Get them to test you! Make some mistakes and see if they can spot them (always a good excuse!).
  • Use magnets or Scrabble tiles to spell out words.
  • Make sure your child understands the words by putting them into a sentence.
  • Play spelling memory: Make two sets of cards; set one is the words and set two is the definitions. Mix up the cards and lay them out on the table. Each player takes two cards, one of each type. If the word and definition match, the player keeps them. If not, they put them back in the same place and it is the next player’s turn. The player with the most cards at the end wins.

Spelling patterns
Help your child to learn spelling patterns or ‘best guesses’. There will always be exceptions, but they work most of the time:

  1. Most question words start 'wh'
  2. ‘I’ before e except after ‘c’
  3. Add 's' for plurals except those that end in 's', 'x', 'z', 'ch' and 'sh', when you add 'es'
  4. Nouns ending in 'y' change to 'ies'
  5. Use 'ce' for nouns and 'se' for verbs (you advise with advice)
  6. When adding 'ing' or 'ed', double the last consonant after a short vowel sound (so drop becomes dropping or dropped)
  7. Don't drop the final 'e' when you add 'ly' ('comely'), but do drop it to add 'ing' ('coming')

Spelling Tips

  1. You hear with your ear.
  2. The word separate has "a rat" in it (separate).
  3. Donkeys, monkeys - There are ‘keys’ in donkeys and monkeys.
  4. The word here is also in its opposite there.
  5. Villain - A villain is one who lives in a villa.
  6. There is no English word ending in -full except full.
  7. Further help on the NET

    Spelling Game

    Musical Spelling Rules


    Parents can register for the free version. Input words, then play games or take a practice test on the site.

    Use Discovery Education’s puzzlemaker tool to create word searches using your child’s spelling words.



    Use the free games to support Phonics. Ask the teacher or your child which Phase they are working at to target the correct level for them.


    This is a developing site but has some good resources including games to support spelling.


    Not just for children with dyslexia! This site has some great ideas and games.

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