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My daughter was given 30 English words for her spelling test. Her English teacher had asked the students to find the meaning of each word and write it down on the exercise book. She spent 30 minutes searching and copying the meaning of 5 words from the dictionary. Then she had to decide which meaning she needed. It took her more than 4 hours to finish finding the meaning of 10 words. And she was not learning how to spell the word itself!

“What was the purpose of this exercise?” I asked the teacher. “Will she be tested for the meaning or spelling of the words? ”

She replied, “I wanted them to get to know the words better.”

“Mdm, it is not working.” I had to contradict her. “Look, if all you need is to have them understand the words better, why not discuss them in school verbally? It is spelling that is required not the meaning.” I went on to explain how I thought would have been a better exercise.

There are 3 ways I use to help her spell. If you are doing this, you will need a piece of blank paper. At each step that says, “write”, you create a new column on your paper.

Game 1:

  1. Silent reading
  2. write (Column 1)
  3. read aloud
  4. write (Column 2)
  5. read aloud without looking
  6. spell
  7. write (Column 3)
  8. Go to Game 2

Game 2:

  1. Silent reading
  2. Write (Column 1)
  3. Make at least 3 other words from the same word (e.g. “accidentally” can produce three other words, accident, act, tally,dent, ant etc.) (Write below the word)
  4. Write the main word again (Column 2)
  5. Go to Game 3

Game 3:

  1. Silent reading
  2. Write (Column 1)
  3. Clap your hands as you say the word to find out how many syllables there are.
  4. Break the words into syllables. (e.g. “impossible” is broken into im-pos-si-ble) Write (Column 2)
  5. Spell (Column 3)

Check out this website for your free Spelling Worksheets. It would be in UK English but the method applied should just be useful for spelling American English words. If you need more help with improving your English, sign up here.