English is such an irregular language, borrowing words from all cultures like Latin, Greek, and Germanic. This can make it hard for even native speakers to learn the correct words to use when and where. With the various roots of words, spelling is especially difficult. When you’re a schoolkid, trying to figure out how and why everything works, the irregularity of spelling can make it difficult and disheartening to master. Coming up with various activities for practice will make a huge difference and help young students understand.
1) Dip a cotton swap into water and spell out the words onto the chalkboard (if you still use one). The words will disappear once the water dries.
2) Smear sanitized table tops with whipped cream or frosting and have each student spell out a list of words at their seats. It’s engaging and delicious! For each word that student gets right, give them a small cupcake or cake treat to dip into the frosting and eat.
3) An interesting idea is to write words in glue on a piece of paper and, before the glue dries, sprinkle them with gelatin powder. It creates a scratch-and-sniff as children trace their fingers over each letter.
4) Get some magnet letters from a department store and have students rearrange them to form words. This could also be done using block letters, Scrabble pieces, cut-out construction letters, or many other forms of single letters.
5) One website mentions a Pepsi Challenge: Designate a cup for each student and each week have them write words they miss on their spelling tests on cards and place them into their cups. Include the extra words personalized onto each students test and, if each each cup is empty when tests are returned, allow the student to have one Pepsi, or treat of choice.
6) Have children form letters using pipe cleaners or straws and make words with them.
7) Learn while giving them a treat for their efforts! Find some cookie cutter letters and make letter cookies. If they spell out a correct word, let them eat one of the letters. Then have them spell out another word with the remaining letters. Have the class do a contest to see who can make the most words before they run out of letters.
8) Use the cookie cutters once again but this time use Play-Doh. You can’t eat these, but it as equally fun.
There are still even more ways to help kids understand spelling even better. Whether you give them a sweet treat or reward them scholarly, these kids will someday come to appreciate the efforts as they pay off later in life.
“60 Ways to Practice Spelling”: http://teachers.net/gazette/DEC02/spelling.html
“Spelling Words Practice”: http://www.proteacher.org/c/689_spelling_words_practice.html