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Why Do Some Kids Struggle With Spelling

Why Some Kids Struggle With Spelling

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Kids struggle with spelling in different ways. Some face confusion about letters, they reverse the letters, such as b and d. Others do not get silent letters in spellings. Some are not good at reading which impacts their spelling as well, and so on. Parents and teachers think it’s their laziness. However, even a hardworking kid can have difficulty learning and remembering spelling. Kids misspell words because they find it hard to read and write, or there can be a lack of focus which leads to misspellings.


The most common mistakes children make in their early school stages are related to spelling. They find it difficult to pass tests due to misspellings. Spelling rules are tricky, and one must focus properly to remember and recall the rules. Kids might face confusion and take time to get the rules. Usually, kids facing spelling challenges are those with anxiety and stress issues. Their mind is already struggling with stress, making it difficult to think of correct spellings.


What Trouble With Spelling Looks Like


When kids have trouble with spelling, they cannot read properly. Furthermore, while writing, they make lots of spelling errors. They might also pronounce the words incorrectly. These issues lead to a decline in their academic performance. They score less in their tests and exams due to spelling fails. Kids’ misspellings are a key issue at the early educational stage, which might also affect the kid later. However, the issue can be resolved by focusing on it, and parents may get help from teachers. There can be ways in which learning spelling can be made easier and stress-free activity. Children should enjoy learning spellings rather than thinking of them as some burden.


Reading and writing difficulties also indicate that there are spelling troubles. Moreover, the child may pronounce the words incorrectly. They may reverse the letters or skip the silent letters etc. Kids misspell because they either do not know the spelling rules or forget them. Guidance from parents and teachers also plays a vital role. The trouble with spelling can also lead to stress. When children having issues with spelling are asked to work on it, they get frustrated and annoyed. They look for ways to run away, and this is what trouble with spelling looks like.


What Causes Trouble With Spelling


Each child has a different potential. Some may be good at picking spellings while reading and writing or learning to spell. While others will find it difficult to pick spellings and always end up spelling the words incorrectly. Below are some factors that cause trouble with spelling;


The Trouble With Reading And Writing


When children are unable to read correctly, they cannot spell correctly. Spellings make them able to read and understand the sound. They become aware of the spelling rules when they know what sound the spelling makes. Their spellings become stronger this way. Furthermore, the spelling rules become a mess when children cannot write properly. It creates confusion and anxiety whenever they read or write. A child who faces issues with spelling cannot write properly since he cannot recall the spellings.


Trouble With Focus


While learning to spell, it’s important to focus. If a child is not focusing on the word’s spelling, he can never learn the word. Learning spellings need a lot more focus than learning sentences or paragraphs. It is because certain principles need to be followed, without which spellings might not make any sense. For instance, a child who does not know a spelling would never guess any silent word present in the spelling. This is where there is a likelihood of blunders. Spellings are, therefore, tricky and need a specific focus. Children will not be able to spell words until they focus properly while reading and learnings are spelling.


How To Help Your Child Get Better At Spelling By Making Spellings Multi-Sensory


Multi-sensory activities are helpful for children since they can make connections, and it helps them recall things easily. For instance, make a child say the letters while writing them so that they make a flow of the tone. It will help the child tap out the letters down their arm. Learning spellings can also be made into something fun rather than a stressful chore. Make a child play scrabble etc., to make them aware of spellings. They can start with easy spellings and keep learning to go on an advanced level.


No Thematic Lists


Teachers may make children learn words that are related to some unit study, like on animals. In this way, they may learn the spellings of such related words. However, the focus is not on the spelling patterns. The key issue with a thematic list is that a person chooses words that do not share a phonetic pattern. It is better to learn a spelling pattern rather than memorizing the spellings randomly.


Word Families


Word families help a lot in learning spellings. When a child learns the spelling of ‘like,’ make them aware of family words like ‘hike,’ ‘spike,’ etc. This is how they get the spelling rules and become capable of spelling similar words even without memorizing them. It is an easy and achievable way of learning spellings. One can make a word family flip book even easier for the child. The pronunciation and spellings become interlinked, and children can even spell a word they are unaware of. For instance, if they know the spelling of ‘dog,’ they will probably be able to spell ‘fog.’


Make Connections


Making connections also make it easier to learn to spell and understand the spelling rules. Related meaning words often have related spellings too. For instance, while learning the word ‘compose,’ a child would not misspell ‘composition’ because he knows half the spelling already. It may also go for ‘sign’ and ‘signal.’ If they know the spelling ‘fair,’ they would not find it hard to spell ‘fairness.’ There are a lot of spellings that have connections with others. Hence, making connections can help a child learn to spell.




Learning to spell is the first step toward a child’s academic life. It starts even before joining a school. The process is useful for life, so it has to be effective. It becomes stressful when the process is not properly planned, and they are just required to memorize random spellings. Not every teacher or parent knows how spelling rules work and how learning can be made easier and more effective without stress or anxiety. The process can be fun by making them play games such as writing spellings on a salt tray, scrabble, etc. There are a lot of games available in the market that help children learn spellings while enjoying the activity.


Children find it difficult to learn spellings, and it can be because of or lead to incorrect reading and writing. Hence, effective ways of learning spellings must be followed. When learning is combined with fun and interaction, it becomes better. Making such learning boring and stressful for children would take more time and effort. Spelling fails can be avoided by making spellings multi-sensory, no thematic lists, using word families, and making connections. It is how a child becomes aware of the spelling rules and can memorize spellings.

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