How to Help Kids Learn Their Spelling Words

A mother helping her son with something on the floor
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Are the kids bored with the same old repetitive memorization practice for learning the week's spelling words? Whether your kids are learning how to spell "car" or "cartridge," make spelling fun and easier for them.

Tips to Help Your Child Learn Spelling

Try a few of these fun, easy tips and tricks to help kids learn spelling words.

Play Alphabet Ball

Alphabet ball is a great game for kids when you introduce them to phonics but it's also a great tool to use with spelling lists. All you need is an inflatable ball and a marker.

Write the alphabet all over the ball, writing each letter randomly and not all in order. Now stand across from your kids and bounce the ball to them. As you bounce the ball, call out one of the spelling words.

Not only do they catch the ball, they then search for the letter on the alphabet ball and call it out while showing you the letter. If they get the letter right, they bounce the ball back to you and you say the next letter in the word after you find the letter on the ball, taking turns until the word is complete.

Clap the Vowels

A twist on memorization is to clap the vowel as your children orally spell each word. For example, if the word is "quarrel," your kids would clap when saying the "u," "a" and "e."

The rhythm gets in their heads while making spelling lists a fun learning activity. Once they start to get the hang of the week's spelling list, challenge them by having them sit and clap the vowels but stand up every time they say a consonant. Once they're more advanced, you can break the clapping activity into learning the syllables of their spelling words, clapping once with each new syllable.

Make Your Own Worksheets

There are plenty of online resources for making your own worksheets. Type in this week's spelling list and you can create everything from a custom crossword puzzle to a spelling list word search.

Type "worksheet generator" into your favorite search engine. Common Core Sheets is also a great place to start.

Most sites allow you to customize everything from font to layout or you can save time by going with the default. Best of all, making your own worksheets is completely free and you can create spelling lists, word jumbles, multiple-choice worksheets, and word searches.

Scramble the Letters

Try this twist on flashcards. All you need is a black marker and a piece of paper. Write each letter of the week's spelling words. Get your scissors and cut each letter into its own card. Now the fun begins.

Pull out the letters for one word and mix them up. Kids can then move the letters around until the spelling is correct. If you have a bell, let them ring it when they think the answer is correct. Are they too good at the game? Set a timer for each word to increase the difficulty.

Create Your Own Board Game

Making your own board game is a lot of fun for the whole family. One advantage of making your own board game is that once you do, you have a template for every spelling list that comes home from school.

You can create a life-sized board game with slides, musical instruments, and other activities to keep their interest along the way or tone it down with a more realistic version using a piece of foam board as your game board and adding your own colored spaces for gameplay.

Or if you need a quick version to study tonight's spelling list, simply use one of the game boards you already have and make up a quick game by replacing the game's money with spelling words, such as spelling "castle" or "shadow" to buy property in Monopoly.

For gameplay, you can create your own trivia cards around the word, such as:

Q: This spelling word has three vowels in it and is a number.

A: E-L-E-V-E-N

The more fun you can make learning spelling words, the easier they will become to your child ... and the easier it will become for you to get them to sit down and get ready for the week's big spelling test.

Make Spelling Puzzles

You can buy blank puzzles that let you create anything you want on the pieces. They're also affordable so your kids can create new puzzles with every new spelling list.

With one blank puzzle, kids can decorate their puzzles any way they want and then write their spelling words on the pieces. Once the puzzle's complete, kids can cut around each word to make their own unique puzzle or simply use the pre-cut pieces to begin studying their spelling words right away.

By Apryl Duncan
Apryl Duncan is a stay-at-home mom and internationally-published writer with years of experience providing advice to others like her.