Fun and Easy Ways to Strengthen A Child\\\'s Spelling
Feb 16, 2011 Young Learners 2881 Views
We would all be surprised about just how many fun ways exist to strengthen our children's spelling! In fact, whether we're driving in the car, going for a walk, or even watching television, small and easy opportunities exist all the time for us to strengthen and improve how well our child learns to spell and read.
Let's focus on one particular word that will be the heart and soul of strengthening your child's progress from the very moment he or she can take in information! The word is... wait for it... categorizing! Yes, categorizing is the most fundamental way that humans make sense of the world. It allows us to find some kind of order and the similarities among various objects, events, ideas, and words we encounter. And, when used right, it can be fun, easy, and effective at developing your child's spelling ability.
Why is it so effective? When children sort words they are engaged in the active process of searching, comparing, contrasting, and analyzing. Such play or study whichever way you look at it) helps children organize what they know about words and to form generalizations that they can then apply to new words they encounter when they are spelling or reading.
This categorizing or sorting requires students to pay close attention to words and to make logical decisions about their sounds, patterns, and meanings as they set to organize them into columns or piles in their mind.
A great way to do this would be to begin playing with sorting these words out. In fact, playing with word categorization is such a powerful and effective way to help children make sense of the world and the words they read. It makes a perfect sense to engage in fun games or activities that you can do with your child!
A great way to enhance your child's learning is through the use of flashcards. For children, flashcards are fun because they are a hands-on object you're able to manipulative, which means they can physically hold it, touch it, and control it. Flashcards take an abstract concept like letters representing human sounds, and places them nice and neat on a card that they can see, hold, and examine.
A little secret here: using flashcards to sort out words or vocabulary helps children to avoid the process of "memorizing" items. Instead, during sorting games used with flashcards, your child will determine similarities and differences and targeted features as they utilize higher level of critical thinking skills!
There are several categories of sorting that you can engage in with your child. The big three are sound, pattern, and meaning.
Let's break this down a bit.
Sound: As you might imagine, sound is the very first door a child needs to pass through in order to make sense with language. Therefore, pictures are naturally suited for these types of games, because a picture without a caption just begs to be named! Printed words can be sorted for sounds as well.
Patterns: When using the printed form of a word, a child can also sort through visual patterns formed by groups of letters or "letter sequences." For example, your child can sort words in like hat, fat, sat, mat or train, pain, gain. These are particularly important.
Meaning or Concept: This is a higher level sorting activity in which you can help your child construct categories of particular meaning or concept. So for example you can have Weather Words Meanings: breeze, wind, rain, sunny, etc.
With these three concepts you can either direct your child to sort any and all of these types of activities. You can also adjust the difficulty of sorting as your child develops. The very nature of sorting allows your child to discover ways to categorize words on her own. In addition, doing this, you are reinforcing a very effective tool for breaking down and building up sound, letters, phrases, pictures, and meanings in a fun realistic manner. A big bang for the buck, right?
A common question is often asked, "Well, how long and how often should I work on these games with my child?" The basic answer is always, for a few minutes as often as you can. The truth is, you only need to take a couple of minutes and construct the game, you're child with his or ability will find their comfort zone and work up from there.
When you practice categorizing and sorting through a world of information, you actually help your child draw necessary connections, strengthen their notion of patterns within words and within their world. The deeper their knowledge and ability to use words and categorizes the richer their world will be and the stronger their spelling skills will become! Using well designed flashcards are perfect for this sort of activity and can generate loads of fun and learning.