The dreaded spelling word practice is (as you probably know) a very important part of your student's week. I know from personal experience that many children do not enjoy spelling practice UNLESS it is fun. How can we make it fun?? Definitely NOT by the boring and not very effective "write your spelling words 3 times each" practice but instead by playing fun, educational games that will keep your students' interest throughout the entire week.
Here is a list of some of the activities I did with my first graders throughout the week that can be done at home:
*Find the Word - Have your child write his spelling words on pieces of paper or postcards. Then, without him looking, tape them on the walls throughout the house and have him become a detective and go searching for the lost words. Don't forget to have him take his handy notebook that might be a special "spelling word notepad" and a fun writing instrument such as a glitter pen or marker. Also, have him take the list of spelling words too so he knows what he's looking for. Every time he looks at the word, provides extra practice. As he finds his words have him make a list and write them down. Next have him tell you or a sibling the words he found by reading them out loud. Then you can check his list by reading them to him and having him spell them back to you.
*Spelling Word Dance Off - Using your stack of note cards that have the spelling words written out, write additional words to add to the stack. These words can be sight words your child is currently working on at school. They can be any type of word as long as your child can read them. Next play some music and have your child begin to dance. Using your stack of words (that are shuffled up) hold up each word one by one while your child is watching and each time your child sees a spelling word have him FREEZE and pause the music. In order to become unfrozen and continue to dance he has to spell the word correctly without looking. Once he spells it correctly you can play the music again and continue on with the game until all spelling words have been spelled.
*Spelling Word Word Search - This is self explanatory. Have your child write his spelling words scattered about on a white piece of paper. Make sure he writes them neatly and in the same direction. Next have him fill in any blanks with the letters from the alphabet until his words are hidden. Last, using another fun writing instrument, have him find his words and circle them. You can then check that he has found all of his words and once again have him spell them back to you. If your child finds the words too easily, you can create the word search to make it more challenging.
*White Boards or Magnets - This one is plain and simple yet fun because it's different. Simply read your child his spelling words as he spells them on a whiteboard or with magnets. Children learn in all different ways and by simply switching up the way they create a word you are aiding in their learning success.
By doing one of these a day (or more of course!) you are helping your child learn each word in a fun and interactive way. No more whining about practicing spelling words! At the end of the week, have your child do an actual practice test before his real test so he can practice writing the word as you read it aloud by itself and in a sentence. This way he will be ready for the real thing and not feel anxious and instead feel confident.