Help with spelling


Encouraging children to see letter patterns in words by looking carefully at the word and thinking of other words containing the same letter pattern.

EG:       could                rain

             would               paint

             should              complain

             shoulder          container

  • Helping children to discover that words which are similar in meaning often have a common visual pattern. A good rule to remember is same meaning - same spelling eg sign, signature, signal different meaning - different spelling eg scene, seen.
  • Sharing strategies or making up ways to trigger the memory for persistently difficult words. For example, you could focus on a common letter pattern. You can use the end of because. A piece of pie.
  • Urging your child to use this routine when learning a new word:
    1. Look at the word. Take a photograph of it with the eye.

    2. Say it clearly and say each letter in turn.

    3. Cover the word and try to 'see' it in the mind.

    4. Write it from memory.

    5. Check with the original.

This routine can also be used when your child asks for the spelling of words. Write the word for your child and then use the Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check routine.

  • Encouraging children to write neatly so they see a clear image of the word.
  • Asking your child to write a new word in different possible ways and circle the one that 'looks right'.
  • Building children's self-confidence by praising them for what they do know, and then work on a small part that they don't know. For example, if the child writes butiful for beautiful, you can point out, "You nearly got this one right. You only need to learn eau." This provides a good opportunity to use a dictionary, examine word origin and link with other words that have the eau letter pattern. That's how children become aware of the patterns that exist in words.

Play spelling games

Children enjoy playing spelling games.

You can help by:

  • Examine word origin and link with other words that have the eau letter pattern. That's how children become aware of the patterns that exist in words.
  • Asking your child to spot misspellings used by advertisers to catch your eye and to make the product memorable. eg Snak pak, Beanz Meanz Heinz.
  • Playing word games such as 'Hangman'. (Your child will show you how.) By experimenting with possible letter sequences, children should discover how letters work together in words. For example, p is likely to be followed by vowels (a, e, i, o, u) or consonants such as h, I or r but not followed by b, g, or q.
  • Enjoying rhymes by reading them together and looking at the ways rhyming words are spelt.
  • Doing crossword puzzles and playing games of Scrabble.
  • Looking for spelling games in local newspapers and magazines.

Finally, it is important to understand that learning to spell is a long term process. Children do learn at different rates so realistic expectations must be kept in mind.

Last reviewed 02 March 2020
Last updated 02 March 2020