i‑Learner Education Centre

Steps to Success » Engaging Early Learners

Spelling Tips for Early Learners

Your child can speak fluently and read confidently, but they make constant mistakes in their spelling. Is this scenario familiar? It’s one I’ve seen many times during my time at i-Learner, and I’ve found three key tools can make a significant difference:

1. Phonics

Early learners of English need to use two systems to read – phonics and sight words. If we want to rush a child into reading, we might focus on spellings rather than sounds in order to get words correct quickly. However, this is a short-term strategy; phonics is essential for reading throughout life and it’s key to decoding the enormous vocabulary of the English language. If your child spells ‘nurse’ as ‘ners’, make sure to praise them for identifying the sounds first, and then correct the misspelt word together. 

At i-Learner Education Centres, we have Phonics and Reading Aloud courses for younger learners and Phonics and Dictation for older learners. Both short courses provide a great boost to spelling skills.

2. Rhyming 

Learning about rhyming helps children spell new words more accurately. Teach them what rhyme is and give plenty of examples of rhyming words. For example, teach them about how ‘book’, ‘look’, and ‘cook’ rhyme. This way if they are asked to spell ‘hook’ for the first time, they can use their knowledge of other ‘-ook’ words to spell it correctly. 

3. Visual prompts 

The more children see a word spelt correctly, the better they remember it. You can play memory games with flashcards of commonly used words such as ‘like’, ‘eat’, ‘have’ and ‘good’. The Dolch word list is a good source of words suitable for different levels. For words your child often forgets, stick the flashcard somewhere they will see it often. This works especially well for visual learners!

Don’t be discouraged if your children are not natural spellers when young. This doesn’t determine their long-term success with English. Try these three simple tips to put them on the path to improvement.