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spelling resources

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    My DDs teachers have asked me to work on her spelling this summer. She’s 8 and it’s appalling and frustrates her too.

    She reads lots at an advanced level and has very good comprehension so that’s not the issue. She however can’t hear/associate (she has perfect hearing) sounds well for example ask her to spell ‘us’ and she writes ‘as’. She misspells 40 of the next most common 100 words after the golden words and her guesses are often way off. Reading and understanding anything she has read is very difficult due to this. She has just finished Gr 3.

    So what other options other than phonics have people tried with success. She has a moderate vision impairment so the stick words on the wall approach isn’t really appropriate for her.


    Hi Kerrieb, I have a child the same age going into year 3 this year. Before he started school and during the last couple of years I have used some computer programs I got from the chemist. One was called Phonics for Beginners by Eureka, they also have a program called Learn to Read and Spell with phonics. The kids love them and it keeps them interested and they are very repetitive which is what I’ve found to be the best thing, repetition.

    I remember when I was learning how to spell with the old spelling lists that I used to write and rewrite the word list up to 10-20 times before a spelling test, and my childs teacher also used this method last year. They had to write out their spelling list 3 times in their homework book other than what they did in class then they had a test later in the week.

    I am working on his handwriting over the holidays as they barely touched their handwriting books over the year and he could do with a little improvement in that area and that also is based on repetition and copying. You can get the books to copy from at bookstores. I’m using the one he brought home from school at the end of the year with only 2 pages done :angry: , so not happy with his teacher on that front and his handwriting is one of the better ones in his class which I’ve seen helping out with literacy in the classroom.

    Another thing to ask yourself is how is the spelling of the other kids in the class? Perhaps if you know some of the parents you could suss it out. It may have been the teaching method used or she may just need some extra work at home.

    On another front if she is having problems with reading and associating has she been checked out by a Paediatrician? I have a friend who has 2 kids with a condition which sounds very similar, it’s some auditory processing thing but I can’t remember the name, certainly isn’t anything like ADD or autism but something to do with the brain not processing properly what they read, some of the kids in my DS’s class also have special coloured glasses for reading so it may be worth getting her tested to make sure it’s not anything medical, also an optometrist may be able to help.

    Good luck 🙂

    Edited: Sorry just read she has a vision impairment so you’ve already seen an optometrist.:blush:


    Hi Kerrie,

    When Im doing a spelling lesson I have two great spellers, one a little bad and one painful!! So now I get all of them to write out their spelling lists (different levels different words) in groups of two or three letters depending on the length of the word. They will spell their words in these groups of letters instead of trying to do it one letter at a time. Its working and my bad spellers are getting better. We have spontaneous spelling bees at any time of the day any day of the week but the kids usually have an idea when as I get a bag of something to use for correct spelling. They are all so eager to get the treat they do the ‘three steps’ before attempting their word – 1. stop and take a breathe, 2. say the word a few times to hear it all and 3. spell it out to themselves. DS has gone from struggling with ‘tent’ to nearly getting ‘suspicious’. I was floored but he is struggling at the moment again because the momentum is not there with it being holiday time. I will do a few ‘bees’ before we get back to lesson time to start the ball rolling for him. HTH


    Hi Kerrie,

    This website: has a lot of spelling resources. They use the Dolch list of 100 most common words — there are a number of different lists getting around!

    It really does sound like there may be an auditory processing problem, especially if your daughter’s speech and reading levels are good. If you decide to pursue this at your child’s school, it may be worth asking where you can have her assessed privately (if you can afford it) as many schools struggle to get these sorts of things done in a hurry.

    Having spent the last 3 terms working in a school, and spending a fair bit of time in junior primary classrooms, I can give you some ideas of strategies that I’ve seen teachers use, which you may already know about anyways. Encourage your child to S – T – R – E – T – C – H out the words she is trying to spell, exaggerating each sound in turn. Perhaps focus first on the first or last sound in a word. Has your school used Jolly Phonics? Sometimes having an action and visual picture to go with each sound helps in remembering what that sound is. And as others have suggested, repetition is the way to go. Choose 3 words at a time to work on, simple 2 or 3 letter ones. Write them out using the Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check method and then find other ways to practice them. My kids always had a spelling contract at that age at school, and could choose from a variety of activities to use with their words: write the words out in rainbow colours, write them using cut out letters from newspapers, make a simple crossword with them, etc.

    Good luck and don’t give up! My youngest is only just “getting” spelling now and it has been a long hard struggle. A lot of joy comes from her recognizing her spelling words in everyday situations when out and about!


    I didn’t think it was an auditory processing problem but may be wrong. I’ve a few friends with kids with it. And the one thing they all can’t do is follow more than one or two verbal instructions at a time as it gets lost (even the bright ones). DD one the other hand can be given a long list of complex verbal instructions and carry them out without batting an eye.

    Still I might ask her ped next time I see him if he has an explanation that might help.

    Don’t worry I’ll be discussing it with her school this year when she gets back.


    Hi Kerrie

    Not sure if you are still looking for ideas but I use a website

    for my 9 year old. You can enter your own list of words or use theirs, and there are all sorts of variations of straight out spelling, like choose the correct word to fit the sentence etc. My son enjoys it because it is all online game style. You can pay to join, but I just use the free stuff and haven’t felt the need to join yet.

    HTH 🙂


    Not at the moment. But thank you I’ll keep it in mind. I’ve handballed it back to her teacher who seems to be on top of dealing with it. She is actually checking her homework to see it is done correctly. Last years teacher has a bit of a reputation for being slack. I’ll see how she is going and we will work on it if needed over the holidays. I find that her normal workload (+netball and her typing practice) is about as much as she can manage in the school term.


    Grouping words according to their spelling is a good way, coupled with word building on the base word helps. I was a teacher for 40 years- still teach. A huge factor is to make sure the learning and practice is relaxed. If your child is a good reader they predict meaning and know what the word is without reading each word individually. Does that make sense to you- if not it is because I have not explained it well enough.

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