Spelling is my favorite lesson during my elementary days. I learned how easy it was to create words when you know how to spell them. So I thought of writing about how to teach spelling to elementary students with fun so they too can develop a love for it.
I’m sure you know the essence of engaging your students first. It’s an essential part of the process that you need in order to keep their attention burning.
Since most struggles begin with elementary children, the process should be in a way that helps cultivate their natural capacity to learn – which all depends on the approach you take.
The Importance of Spelling
Spelling helps reading. When you learn to spell and create correct words, it reinforces the connection between the letters and their sounds. You also get to master high-frequency “sight words” that are necessary to improve both reading and writing.
One major goal of learning to spell is not merely to get the correct pronunciation of the written word, but to convey meaning.
For example, the words mail and male have the same sound, so are tail and tale, but each of the words denotes a different meaning. Had they been spelled the same way, their meanings would be harder to differentiate.
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Here are two examples of why learning to spell is extremely important:
Accoccdrnig to study at Cambridge Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.
According to research by the Linguistic Department at Cambridge University, it doesn’t matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter is at the right place. source
In the first example, it requires a fluent reader to quickly perceive the misspelled words. The second example represents concise words that made it easy for every reader (fluent or not) to understand the whole context with ease.
The illustration above proves it is difficult to read when the words are incorrectly spelled. This makes spelling closely linked to writing and comprehension skills.
Here’s a video showing 10 fun ways to teach spelling in a homeschool. Fun ways can work with a wide variety of ages and grades, as well.
How to Teach Spelling to Elementary Students with Fun
So, as promised, here are some creative ways you can make spelling lessons fun and interactive for your elementary students:
1) Create rhymes and raps
One fun part of teaching students new spelling words is to involve them outside the classroom. With songs and rhymes, students find fun in words that they’re trying to learn which is a way to help them understand it better.
Children normally possess the ability to understand through sound. The raps and chants help them to remember sounds like music. They learn from the initial letter sounds of words before they put letter sounds together to make words.
Using ‘syllabic’ music when singing and reciting rhymes (where one note matches one syllable) teaches them to segment words into syllables. When they are able to produce speech sounds, it helps them collect the sounds to write.
How to do this activity:
Tell the kids that you’re having an activity outside their classroom. It can be under a tree, near the fountain, or perhaps in the meadow. Let them bring paper and a pen. Gather the children to stand or sit in a circle and together do the actions of the rhyming words in a song you have chosen.
After singing the song, ask them if they can think of any other words from the rhyme. Start humming the notes and tunes to help them remember the words. Then let them write and spell the words on the paper.
This makes spelling fun and so much easier for them.
2) Create a spelling wall in the classroom
Creating a spelling hub in the classroom can be inviting. Hang some paper from one of the walls for some spelling activities. You can inspire students to write down words they have learned on the paper. Tell them to sign their names next to the words.
Let the hub be free for use anytime so every student can go up anytime and practice spelling different words. You can also use other materials like crayons or markers, and even encourage them to draw pictures that they can associate with the words.
Make a special time recognizing those who got correctly spelled words. Let the achievers spell and read the words aloud in front of the whole class. Of course, you know they deserve a clap.
3) Make a fun crossword
Crosswords consist of a grid of squares and blank spaces where words can be written vertically and horizontally. This idea presents an exceptional chance to make spelling stimulating. This way, you are including a more active type of learning.
Solving a crossword not only aids kids to discover new words but they get to learn about word definitions as well. You can give the crossword to individual students or break them up into small groups to encourage group work where they learn together and collectively.
For total excitement, hang all completed crosswords and puzzles on the classroom walls to recognize spelling achievers. Before you know it, every child has created their own set of peers playing crossword puzzles. It’s your turn now to see them and correct their work.
Don’t you think it’s a perfect chance to ignite the sparked energy for spelling words?
4) Try the Jumble Word
Have you played Jumble Word before? With plastic magnetic letter shapes, you can begin the game by spelling out a word. Some come in plastic form, while there is one you can do online.
A word jumble is a word puzzle game that presents the player with a bunch of mixed-up letters and requires them to unscramble the letters to find the hidden word or create a new one.
You need to scramble the letters in the pile so your students can assemble another word. To find the letters that answer the given clue, the player must unscramble the scrambled words, where the clue letters are encircled. The contestant then unscrambles the circled letters to form the answer to the clue.
As everyone else advances in the game, you can start inspiring them to assemble more challenging words from a letter pile. For example, unscramble these four-letter words to make new words:
The letters LOPF, PEHO, IPTR, OVLE will form the words FLOP, HOPE, TRIP, LOVE.
5) Use arts and crafts
Students learn better when they’re being creative. The more artistic they are, the bigger the chances of learning. Instead of using the same plain pens and pencils to write down words, use paints, markers, crayons, and other colorful creative implements that students find fun when spelling out words.
This type of learning can also be a fun group activity as well, with students alternately write and spell out words. Prepare everything the class would need in this colorful spelling time. Let them group themselves into 3 or 4. Then announce words for them to spell one at a time using their colored materials.
You might want to prepare ahead cut out cardboard letters that you can provide to each team? It would be more fun!
6) Create a game of word bingo
Everyone loves a game of bingo! You can adapt this popular game idea for interactive spelling lessons that the whole class can engage in. Write a list of spelling words on the board. Then give each student a blank Spelling Bingo card and let them write one word in each of the boxes on the card.
Call out a word from the list and ask students to raise their hands if they have that word on their card. The fastest student to raise their hand has to spell the word on the board. If they spell it correctly, they get to cross the word on their card.
The game ends when a student has correctly spelled aloud all the words that comprise his or her BINGO. Give incentives to achievers to ensure all students participate and even excite them more.
7. Do the Action
To play this game, it is best to think of some age-appropriate themes. Younger kids might get frustrated if the phrases or words are too hard.
You can make a list of actions they do every day. Think of words that can cause some laughs so it’s not only fun but teaching them the right way to spell and read the words too.
Here’s how to do it:
Read the action phrase and then ask the children who want to act it in front of the class. Let everybody guess the action and then pick another child to spell the word on the board.
For example DRIVING THE CAR (the action word is drive), DRINKING WATER (drink), PLAYING BASEBALL (play), SWIMMING (swim), TYING THE SHOE (tie)… and more.
Kids love doing actions and they will be racing to be picked by you. This spelling game is interesting because it encourages children to play together, allowing them to find their own solutions. You’ll love how they learn collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking.
8. Build a word train
Words Train is another fantastic way to practice spelling and reading words that help learners form a sentence. It’s also a good chance to reinforce phoneme-grapheme recognition.
Here’s how to play: You begin by saying a word that begins with the letter “A.” The next student will have to think of a word that begins with the last letter of the previous person’s word.
For example, you say “ANT” and spell the word for everyone to hear. The next student should then say “TEA,” and spell it aloud. The third now says “APPLE,” and spells the word aloud. The fourth says “EGG” spells the word aloud…….and so on.
The person who gets caught up without a word in 5 seconds is out. The class continues to build the train of words until a final winner is decided.
So there go your 8 spelling activities. With all the action each game brings, you’ll have your students spell out words one at a time with fun. Show them how enthusiastic it can be. Remember…. fun is contagious. Why not prepare little gifts or fun prizes as well?
Using different mechanisms in developing the ability to spell out words also encourages interaction. Helping young learners create, read, and understand sentences need not be a hard lesson. It should not denote that which requires exhaustive analysis such as mathematics.
If there are students who hate English, or Math, then spelling similarly has its own number of students who don’t enjoy the subject. As a quick trick and remedy – spelling games can be especially helpful for people in these situations.
Once children learn the art of spelling a word, it’s something that they can automatically do and eventually master. But for this to happen, you first need to build up an interesting experience that helps them appreciate creating words with correct spelling.
So test out the games above, make some twists, or create your own spelling games. With so many ideas you can think of, every spelling subject can be an adventure.
So, good luck!
Did you find the spelling activities great to try? You might have other games to include in the list. It would be great if you could leave them in the comments.