Do you have upper elementary students who get easily frustrated with spelling and writing? If so, this post is for you! Here are 7 spelling ideas for helping older students who struggle in this area. PLUS–FREE spelling worksheets are included!
This post is a part of a series from The Butterfly Teacher on helpful content geared toward literacy instruction in upper elementary classrooms. Here are the other posts to check out once you’ve read all of this post:
- Why You Need to Have Literacy Centers in Your Upper Elementary Classroom
- 4th Grade Literacy Centers
- Teaching Strategies for Reading Comprehension in Upper Elementary Classrooms
- How I Use Choice Boards to Run Literacy Centers*
- Read Alouds for Upper Elementary Students*
- 10 Best Novel Studies for 4th & 5th Grade Students*
- 8 Clever Ways to Get Students Writing More*
Posts with * beside their titles have free downloads available!
Does Spelling Even Matter Anymore?
The rise of technology has caused a debate on whether we should even continue teaching spelling in the classroom; especially for older students.
With auto-correct, should we care whether students can spell or not?
YES! Think of the many times autocorrect has failed you:
- When there are two spellings that could be used for one word
- Grammatical issues related to spelling like it’s vs. its, your vs. you’re
Plus spelling, reading, and writing go hand-in-hand. As your students build stronger spelling skills, they could also become stronger writers.
Spelling Games & Activities for Older Kids
1-Game Based Spelling Activities
To take the boredom out of spelling practice, I incorporate game boards with spelling centers in my classroom.
Popular games like Chutes and Ladders have easy-to-understand instructions and set-up, which makes them great for spelling practice.
I use the board and game rules, but include spelling and sight words on cards that students incorporate with the game for fun practice.
Most older students who struggle with spelling also struggle with phonics. They lack an understanding of phonemes, phonograms, and word parts.
One way to help older students strengthen this skill is with word family practice. To learn how to use these with spelling practice, see detailed instructions here.
3-Online Spelling Games Like Spelling City
There are amazing online programs and apps that help older kids practice their spelling. Spelling City is one of my favorites! With the free account, I can I create several lists for student spelling practice.
4-Use Bananagrams or Scrabble Letters for Spelling Practice
Respecting the different learning modalities of students definitely helps when it comes to spelling. Many older students improve their spelling skills when offered a variety of ways to learn.
For my tactile and visual learners, I use the Double Bananagrams Set and Scrabble letters with different activities in our classroom for spelling practice.
Hands-on activities really help the learning to ‘stick’ with older students who struggle with spelling.
5-Spelling Showdown Team Game
This is one of my favorite ways to practice spelling with the whole class. To learn the step-by-step rules of the game, visit here.
Students love the high-energy of this game! I love how they get to work together. That can help older students who struggle with spelling to learn from their peers for improved spelling.
6-Put Words to Familiar Nursery Rhyme Melodies
Remember those catchy Barney, Dora the Explorer, and Sesame Streets songs? Please don’t tell me you’ve never heard of the friendly purple dinosaur?!
Music ignites learning in so many ways! Older students who struggle with spelling really benefit from learning to spell when words are applied to a familiar tune. This is especially true when the word doesn’t follow any standard “spelling rules.”
7-Emoji Themed Spelling
Another fun way I help my older students who struggle with spelling is with an activity I call “Emoji-Code.”
Students are given emojis that represent the letters of the alphabet. They create words based on those emojis.
Then they switch papers with a partner who has to “crack the code” and write the correctly spelled word.
Cracking the code requires staying focused and working carefully. They can’t rush through this assignment!
FREE Spelling Worksheets
Becoming a better speller takes time and consistent practice. Hopefully, these tips will help you get the ball rolling on helping your older students who struggle with spelling.
If you are interested in FREE Spelling printables for homework or classwork practice, click the image below.
This post originally appeared on The Butterfly Teacher site. To see more details and ideas on spelling, visit the original post HERE.