When you shop for spelling games for kids, you want to be sure that you get great value educational word games that your will kids love to play.
Some children seem to learn to spell naturally, with very little effort. You may have heard teachers say that spelling is “caught not taught”. You want to encourage these children to be the best they can be and games are a great way to have fun as you practise spelling.
For other children, it is an uphill battle and you know you need to support them with their efforts in every possible way. You want to know which games to choose to make things easier for them to learn.
If you would like to understand a little about how children learn to spell before you choose, read on for some tips and information.
Firstly, let’s take a look at what makes a good speller.
A Good Speller Must...
If your child is already doing well with spelling then you can focus on increasing the complexity of their spelling vocabulary. Stretch their abilities with games that reward them for spelling more complex words such as boggle or scrabble or the ever popular bananagrams game.
If spelling is a weakness for your child, you may need to look a little closer at why this is the case. Learning to spell is a complex process and the breakdown can occur at various stages. Your child’s teacher will be able to advise but some general reasons for spelling difficulties are as follows;
Poor Spellers may...
They lack the phonic and decoding skills that are necessary for both reading and spelling
A mental ‘picture’ of the whole word is needed to avoid relying on letter by letter copying
Children who need to see or trace the words in order to learn may struggle in a classroom where the instruction is given mainly via the auditory channel
The child who knows their spellings at home but has forgotten them by test day at school may be having difficulty in committing them to long term memory
When a child has been taught totally through the auditory channel (by listening to and responding verbally to spelling instruction), they spell each word phonetically (as it sounds) and don’t always recognise the written form
If a child feels they are a bad speller and are failing they begin to lack motivation and stop writing in a meaningful way
One of my favorite spelling games for kids is not as well known as some of my earlier recommendations but kids love it all the same. The word for word phonics game is made by Learning Resources and is designed as an educational word game that kids will love to play.
It is a part of my Speechie kit that I couldn’t be without for helping children with phonological awareness, learning to decode and for learning to blend and manipulate sounds.
If your child attends a Speech Therapist for help with a speech or language disorder, you may have been told that the type of difficulty they have leaves them at greater risk of problems with spelling.
This is not always the case but it is a common occurrence. The nature of communication problems means that these children are at higher than average risk for spelling difficulties. Poorer phonological awareness skills, speech sound errors, errors in word structure (morphology) and language disorders all have an impact on the skills needed to be a strong speller.
There is a lack of research into the links between communication difficulties and spelling difficulties. A good article I found that covers the main points can be found here
One of the key things you can do to support your child with spelling when they have speech and language difficulties, is ensure they have strong phonological awareness. To help you get started, I have put together some phonological awareness activities.
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