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How to Help Your Child Spell (Without the Tantrums!)

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Two Tips To Help Your Child

Spelling is often the number one “Go To” place where parents help their children with writing.  Let’s face it, misspelled words are a distraction from what the writer is trying to convey, and it urges us to get out the broom and dustpan and just clean it all up!  


But, as often is the case with household chores, this well intentioned idea on the parents part is often met with resistance.  Those big eight year old eyes looking up at you, clenching a pencil, remarks, “It’s fine. My teacher doesn’t care.”  Or even worse their heart sinks through the floor, and they say, “I guess I’m not a good writer.”  


This is why I am going to offer you two solutions to helping your child with spelling.  They are both tried and true.  One will take you 10 seconds, and the other will take you around 10 years.  But the results will amaze you! 


‘Ten Second’ Tip:

I will give you a couple of examples of how it works.  And you won’t even need any further directions.  It’s simple.


TRUE, spelled CHROO.


Rewrite the word for your child as follows on a separate sheet and say out loud:

“Looks like you got in all the sounds.  Good job!  

But there is another letter at the start of this word, and it’s not ch. So I put a blank line there.

Your R is correct, 

And there are another two vowels that also go together to make  the oo sound.


___R__  ___


And your child might take a few guesses, and that’s okay.  The focus is just on the area that needs work.   


Another example:


You say, “You have a lot of letters correct.  But there is just one sound missing.”

Rewrite on separate sheet and say:

“You got the s, a, there is a sound missing here (so I put a blank line), d, b, o, x


And now you reread the word slowly together, as you sweep your finger under the word, slowing down and emphasizing the n sound.

Your child can fill in the n, and will likely recognize the nd blend over time. 


Use this strategy with any word!


The second tip that I have to offer you takes many years, but  does help with spelling.  I speak with tried and true experience with this.  The tip is to play Word Games.  Games like Boggle, Scrabble, Poetry for Neanderthals, and others!  They are fun, take all the pressure off, and give your child lots of practice spelling and enjoying words.  We let my youngest use inventive spelling for years when we played Big Boggle.  And sometime around her junior year of high school, she started beating us using correct spelling. 


Please email us and let us know if this helps! And let your child know that even J,K, Rowling, and any of their favorite authors for that matter, have an editor who cleans up their spelling!   All good writers have an editor in chief.  They just have to continue to try their best and use the spelling strategies they have learned.

You got this!


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