Tag Archives: Spelling

How Do You Spell…?? (a reproducible sheet to help with dictionary skills)

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

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No matter the age of your students, chances are you get this question often during writing assignments: “How do you spell….?”

While the answer “Look it up” may be an effective route for some students, oftentimes students don’t even know where to start in figuring out the spelling of a word. Thus, cracking a dictionary to find the word is a daunting task.

To break down the steps of how to look up a misspelled word in the dictionary, walk students through guessing the spelling, first. Once they sound out the word phonetically and take the time to really think about the ways in which the word might be spelled, they’ll be much more likely to locate the correct spelling in a dictionary. The key is prompting them to write down several spelling guesses so that a concrete version of possible spellings is in front of them. They can then use those guesses as they scan the dictionary.

To make this a simple, student-directed activity, here’s a Spelling Guess & Check sheet that your students can keep in their writing folders. Download a pdf of the sheet here. Anytime they run across a word that needs correcting, instruct them to use this sheet before diving into the dictionary.

Of course, their phonetic guesses still need to be somewhere in the ballpark of the correct spelling to be found in the dictionary, but at least this tool will get them thinking like a speller. Added bonus: figuring out multiple spelling guesses is good brain exercise, too!

Happy spelling!

For more spelling aids, check out these useful resources


Filed under creative writing, grammar, Language Arts, Spelling, Writing

Fresh Ideas for Those Boring Ol’ Spelling Words

by Kelli Lewis

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Looking for some creative ways to help your children learn their spelling words?  Need something new next time your child has spelling homework and you’re tired of telling them to write them each repeatedly?

Here are two unique ideas that I have seen implemented in a few elementary classrooms:

Four Times Each

Okay, I know. Write the word four times…at first it seems boring, right? But here’s the catch. Your child will still write the word several times, only with a little more excitement! Create a simple chart with 10 rows (or however many spelling words your child has) and four columns (or you may want to create more on our own, after you see where I’m going).  The columns should each have one of the following listed at the very top: pencil, colored pencil, marker, crayon.  Have your child write each word under the particular type of writing utensil, in that utensil.  For instance, if the first word is “cat” then you child will write “cat” in pencil, under the pencil column; they will write “cat” in colored pencil, under the colored pencil column; they will write “cat” in marker, under the marker column; and they will write “cat” in crayon, under the crayon column.  Click here for a printable sheet to use!

Feel free to get even more creative and add more columns.  You could even put colors in the columns (red, yellow, blue, etc.) and allow the child a choice in which type of writing utensil is used, as long as it is the correct color stated in the column.

Spelling Pyramids (or Spelling Stairs)

Have your child make pyramids out of each of their spelling words.  Let’s say, again, your first spelling word is “cat.” Start by first writing the first letter of the word “cat.”  Then underneath that, write the first and second letter of the word “cat”.  Underneath that, you then write the first, second, and third letter of the word “cat.”  Obviously “cat” only has three letters so you’re then done with that word.  If it had more letters, you would continue on in the same way.  You can have your child make as many pyramids as needed.  Here is a quick example of this:


Hopefully these ideas will help you breathe new life into your weekly spelling routine!

Kelli Lewis is an Early Childhood Education graduate student at the University of Georgia who often shares her wonderful ideas on A Learning Experience. (Lucky us!)


Filed under Academic Success, Spelling, Study Skills, Test Prep, Writing