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Combine the weekly spelling lists from First Grade Reading with these 10 ideas to accelerate your child’s learning.
I’ve already written about the benefits of the weekly spelling lists presented in Reading 1 of the Ron Paul Curriculum. The teacher, Mrs. Picard, suggests writing out each word on the list multiple times each day until the day of the test.
You could do this and it would probably work, but it might get old after a while. Here are some things that we do to study our spelling words.
- Read – The very first thing that I do is pause the video and have my 6-year-old read the words on the new list. If she struggles to read one of the words it is certainly going to be difficult for her to spell it. So, we make sure that she’s confident at reading each word before we get to spelling them.
- Write – I know, I insinuated that we don’t do this. We do, just usually only one time per spelling list and we only write each word out one time. The first thing I do when we get a new list of spelling words is have my kids write out all ten words on the list.
- Phonics – Go through the list and talk about the phonetic rules for each one. This one may seem strange to you or boring, but I used a version of this skill to get myself through college and it was a great help with 6 years of studying Latin. Look at the list and see which words have things in common. For example, do any of them rhyme? If they do, is the rhyming part spelled the same way? If not, is there a phonetic rule to explain why, or is one word an exception? Point out the words that are “easy” because they use simple and straightforward rules. This helps when it comes to test day because it can help jog the student’s memory. If they come to a word that they aren’t sure about, they can look at the other words they have spelled so far and they might be able to remember something about the word. For example, they may think, “There were three straightforward words and it isn’t one of those. There were two words with silent letters at the beginning and I’ve already written one of those, so is this a word that has a silent letter at the beginning?” This may seem like a complex strategy for a first grader, but it has helped my 6-year-old. For being the longest suggestion on the list, we don’t spend a lot of time on this one. I just go through the list with her and we talk about it.
- Alphabetize – This gets my 6-year-old to write the list out again, only this time in alphabetical order! It’s a good skill to practice and since it is a little bit like a puzzle she doesn’t think of it as writing out the words again.
- Syllables – We don’t usually write anything at all for this one, but it gets the kids more familiar with the words on the list. We go through the list together and figure out how many syllables are in each word.
- Oral Quiz – Being able to spell a word out loud is a great skill to have. It helps children organize their thoughts and focus. They may be able to spell a word by sounding it out and writing it, one letter at a time, but not be able to focus enough to spell a word out loud. However, if they can spell a word out loud, they will almost certainly be able to write it.
- Sentences – Using spelling words in a sentence is a tried and true method. Sometimes I have my 6-year-old write her sentences out for extra handwriting practice. Sometimes I just have her come up with sentences using the words and tell them to me. It is another way to reinforce the spelling of the words that she can have fun with. It also makes sure that she understands what the words mean! It’s very important to know what the words mean that we are spelling.
- Stories – Come up with a short story that uses all of the words on the list. This goes along with number 6, but it requires the student to use more creativity to fit all the words into one story. This can be a silly story or a serious story. Being able to tell a cohesive narrative is a valuable skill to learn too! My children love to illustrate their stories too!
- Parts of speech – If we are learning about a certain part of speech in a set of lessons then we’ll go through the list and see if we can find any words that are that part of speech. For example, when we were learning about nouns, we looked through the list to see if any of them were a person, a place, or a thing. Once we are confident in spotting nouns, verbs and adjectives, we can label every word on the list. One cool thing we realized by doing this is that some words can be more than one part of speech depending on how we use them in a sentence!
- Hands-on Activities – Sometimes your kid’s eyes might glaze over when they see a list of words on a sheet of paper. That’s understandable. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest for spelling word activities. (You can see some that I have gathered by viewing my Pinterest account here.) They range from stringing letter beads on string to spell the words to writing out the words in shaving cream. We don’t always have time to do something like this for our spelling words, but when we do the kids really appreciate it.
Learning spelling words doesn’t have to be a tedious and onerous task! My kids enjoy many of these activities. I also love how excited they get to tell people when they do a great job on their spelling tests.