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Can't Spell, Won't Spell

Does this describe your child, or some of the children you teach? Or maybe, even, you? If so, take heart: there are some lifelines coming: not magic cures or instant remedies, but practical tips that can help make at least some sense of our language and its strange and wonderful patterns. What's more, some of these ideas are actually fun!

Spelling is not an impossible skill to learn: there ARE strategies. The more senses your child uses, the better and it helps to remember those two key words: patterns, and fun.

  Play Knockout Whist with spellings (click here for instructions)

Get messy: write in flour, sand, or finger paint.


Encourage the use of different colours when writing.


Make up codes with your child- cracking codes makes good use of visual sequential skills that are a key to spelling.


Put the letters of difficult words to the tune of favourite pop songs - a good idea for children with strong auditory memory.


Get your child to shout the letters of a word to you while you are upstairs: whacky = memorable!

  d Hide the letters of key words around the room on bits of card, with a number on saying if they are letter number 3 etc. of whatever the total is. Have a prize of a sweet (or whatever), with an extra sweet for every letter missing if the word is guessed early. Again, this encourages memorising and predicting sequences.

The key is fun. And if you still get nowhere, don't panic if the big "D" word (Dyslexia) comes up - that means your child is in good company. Einstein, Churchill, Wordsworth, General Patten and many other "greats" were and are all dyslexic. Dyslexic people can often see the "Big Picture" when mere mortals like you and I can just about manage a little corner of it.

So lift the burden, get out the card, scissors and felt-tips, and ENJOY!

© 2000 Bob Hext

Bob Hext qualified to teach English and French in 1973, and has been working for the last 13 years with children experiencing dyslexia and other learning difficulties. He founded Crossbow Education in 1993 to concentrate on publishing fun resources for learning literacy and numeracy skills and also lectures and leads workshops on using games as effective teaching tools.


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