English spelling is a source of great frustration for your child who’s learning how to read and write. It can also affect how a student writes, and the complexity of their written work as well. The trick to learning how to spell sometimes involves creative learning, and here are some multi-sensory learning tips for kids.
When spelling abilities fall behind for whatever reason, it can undermine your kids’ confidence and sometimes, it results in poor performance at school.
Poor spelling sometimes leads to avoiding words that are part of their spoken vocabulary out of fear of making spelling mistakes. They might be hesitant to participate in group activities, especially those that involve writing on the board, and sometimes less likely to take notes during lessons.
Cognitive Processes Involved in Spelling
Kids and adults alike can possess smarts and still have trouble with spelling. With children, sometimes, the answer lies in enrolling in an excellent reading program that assists kids through a reading and writing tutorial.
Spelling is a complex activity that involves cognitive processes and skills.
- Encoding a word: Letters are symbols that represent the sounds of a language. To spell, a child needs to hear the sounds in a word, and it’s an important pre-literacy skills for your kids to develop. Afterward, they need to know the letter that map to those sounds, and then translate them into written language.
- Letter formation: Before children can master spelling, they need to know the letters of the alphabet. To succeed at letter formation, you need extensive cognitive resources and coordination of fine-motor skills before automatizing the process.
- Short-term memory: When words aren’t spelled the way that they’re pronounced, short-term memory is needed to memorize a word’s written form. The same case applies for homophones, which are words that sound the same but are written differently. The more a word is encountered while reading, the easier it is to remember their spelling.
- Automatization of writing: The more your child writes a word by hand, the more the spelling becomes automatic.
Multi-sensory Learning Tips to Help Kids
Just like any kind of learning, avoiding common spelling mistakes and learning spelling takes more than just the eyes and the ears. It also helps to create a rich sensory experience that effectively reinforces information into memory.
Similar to finding fun ways to teach phonics, we’re giving you 5 multi-sensory learning tips to help you, as a parent, reinforce your child’s journey as they learn spelling.
#1 Using small objects to spell out words
Anything from beans, peas, beads, to small stones for spelling out words will work just fine. It’s excellent for younger children who are still working on mastering letter formation. In addition, it helps with spelling too.
It turns spelling into a fun challenge that can be played with groups of kids building letters. For added challenge, use beans with different colors to differentiate one letter from another.
#2 Draw out words in the air
In school, children are often asked to write words on the board or in their notebooks. But it also helps to trace words and their written form in the air. Other substances like dirt or sand can be used for tracing shapes.
This is especially helpful for a child with dyspraxia, because they have difficulty holding writing instruments. Say the words out loud and while they’re writing, involve more than one sensory channel.
#3 Form letters using human body chains
This is a fun game for a class of students, or if you children are siblings. It’s ambitious, because it involves encouraging children to go outside and play a game where all of you create words through a human body chain. The game is a big change from traditional classroom spelling lessons.
To make things more manageable, create a written plan of your word first, and map out who will go where and how you’re going to create each letter. Elect team captains next, and time yourselves to see how long it takes to get into place.
#4 Bust out the ink and the rubber stamps
To practice spelling differently, take out an alphabet set of rubber stamps. This involves movement, and steers clear from writing by hand.
Give your kids ink with different colors, and encourage them to use markers to draw a picture that represents the word they’re spelling, only if possible, because not every word is easy to depict.
#5 Do some touch-typing lessons
One of the best multi-sensory approaches to spelling is learning through the use of a computer keyboard. Students see words on screen, hear it, read it aloud, and then move their fingers to the corresponding keys in order to spell the word out.
Touch-typing involves all three senses and helps reinforce the learning. In addition, typing drills can be repeated until a word’s spelling is encoded as a series of muscle movements.
A Link Between Spelling and Reading
Literacy skills are linked. Students who struggle with reading may have low comprehension due to misreading words. Reading can also take longer, and results in frustrating tasks. Inadequacy to spell and read leads impacts confidence negatively. But fortunately, there are activities you can do, and multi-sensory learning tips that you can implement to help reinforce your child’s learning.
And in a time where leaving the house is not a good idea, we’ve taken the Dicker Reading Method online. Learning how to read never stops, and if your child is having reading difficulties, we encourage you to participate in our one-on-one live tutoring sessions over Zoom.
Learning how to spell doesn’t have to be painful. Together, we can help your child succeed.