7 replies 


Location: Setif, Algeria

Positions: Classroom Teacher Administrator, English Teacher

The Do’s and Don’ts of Spelling!!! What and How?

First of all, please note that very little research is available regarding the teaching and acquisition of spelling skills. However, evidence of good practice is. Many teachers have developed the tried and true strategies to help their students become better spellers. Here is what they say and do:

Do have a word wall.

Don’t forget to change the words.

Word walls provide a great strategy for young learners to see and write the words they need, when they need them. Change the words as needed throughout the year to ensure maximum learning. Use it all year, refer to it often and make sure the words are relevant to their learning throughout the year. Wordwalls will benefit students in kindergarten to the 3rd grade. However, they can be used in the inclusional classroom at any grade. Word wall words should be alphabetized to help children locate the word they need quickly.

Do provide spelling lists that meet the weekly/monthly needs.

Don’t use those traditional spelling texts.

Students need to be able to spell the words they need to write. Therefore their spelling lists need to be connected to other things that are currently being taught. For instance, if you are teaching transportation, the spelling words should be those that they need to know like: fast, slow, air, ground, fly, train etc. Have your students brainstorm the list of words they need to learn on a regular basis. Everyday words should be included in their word walls. Words that have certain patterns are good to learn as well. These would be the word families and words with similar patterns like through, enough, etc. I can’t find any research to indicate that spelling texts lead to improved spelling ability or new learning.

Also, note that word searches, alphabetizing words, writing words out rarely leads to new learning or improved spelling ability. Applying words in authentic situations is much more worthwhile.

Do focus on the 44 sounds throughout the year.

Don’t just focus on the long and short vowels and beginning and ending consonants.

When you think about ape and apple, long and short come to mind. However, what about the a sound in star and in jaw? Is it long or short? If you’re teaching about some of the spelling patterns, be aware of the 44 different sounds.

Do provide strategies to help them spell.

Don’t bother with weekly spelling tests.

Help students recognize spelling patterns, generalizations and some of the basic rules. When students write, have them circle the words they’re uncertain about. This will help them learn them. Spelling tests only support short term memory and don’t tend to lead to permanent learning. Help them to notice the patterns and help them to make connections. (If funny has 2 consonants, how do you think bunny and runny would be spelled? Prompt children to identify the patterns) Do use spelling patterns, everyday words and theme based words focused on your specific curricular area. Although some children enjoy the weekly spelling tests, others spend far too much time memorizing words and all too often forget them. The weekly spelling test tends to only be a test of short term memory.

Don’t over emphasize spelling rules. Remember that thinking is more important than memory and leads to more permanent learning. There are also many exceptions to the spelling rules so choose the rules you teach carefully.




Location: Rhode Island, USA

Position: Parent

Hi Ayoubmarket,

 Thanks for all the helpful hints. Although I see some of them here that are used with my boys such as word searches, weekly spelling tests. I love the word wall this is something that can be used at home with a dry erase board (that is if I can keep the kids from taking the marker!). I will have to look at the words and see which ones I can put up.

Thanks for all the wonderful information.


Thanks, Debby



Location: Philippines

During my childhood days, our teacher provide us spelling booklets. Every morning before she starts her lesson, she make it a point to have a spelling routine for us..Spell the word right, then a free candy/story books/pencils/pens for the  ten who will get the spelling right.

It works, because it always remind us to study the spelling of the words given before the class ends so we can have many candies the next day…



Location: philippines

Position: Classroom Teacher

Yes having a word wall is really does help. Every classroom in our school has that. And teachers noticed that students always read what is posted there every week.



Location: Setif, Algeria

Positions: Classroom Teacher Administrator, English Teacher

Thanks Vanessa I tried the way you talked about with my students a year ago and it still giving me very good results.



Location: Philippines

Positions: Parent, Classroom Teacher

You are right Ayoub, patterns are important in spelling. Let the kids recognize these patterns and spelling would be a step easier for them.

Patterns! Patterns! Patterns!


~~~a stone is not carved by force but by constant friction~~~



Location: Philippines

That’s it Ayoub, another suggestion is that you can always have a mini spelling quiz bee in your class. The winner’s name will be post in a bulletin board in the classroom, I’m sure you will make them more eager to study. Having ones name post in a bulletin will make the students proud of themselves.


keith at ela

Location: England UK and Philippines

Positions: Parent, Classroom Teacher Boy who could not read

you are right Vanessa a mini spelling quiz in the class with the winner’s name postted on a bulletin board in the classroom,is good for the one’s who can spell and like to improve it will make them more eager to study but at the same time it will help to distroy the confidence of the ones who find it hard or impossible to spell. They will just feel there is no point in trying, I will never have my name on the board.



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