Monday, December 6, 2010

Making Spelling Fun

Kat has been having trouble with her spelling this year. She reads well, but when it comes time to spell words on her own, she finds it difficult. I'm sure many parents of young children can relate. When we try to have her review her spelling words as a list, then quiz her, she often has a meltdown out of frustration.

Last week, Shane was sorting some things in the basement and found our old Upwords game. He and Kat played a couple of games, then put it away. Thursday afternoon, though, when Kat brought home her spelling pre-test and had a score of just 30%, I thought bringing out the Upwords game might be a fun tool to help her learn.

First we gathered all the letters she would need for all the words on her spelling list. There were about a dozen. From those, we first gave her just the letters she needed to spell the specific word in question (i.e., for the word BRIDGE, we gave her only the letters B, D, E, G, I, R. Once she mastered her list that way, we gave her all the entire dozen and had her select the ones she needed for each word. Finally, we gave her all the tiles in the game and let her spell from those. By the end of the "game", her score had improved to 70%. With no fits thrown, either on Kat's part or ours.

This morning, without any review, she spelled 80% of the words correctly. On her actual test at school Friday, she again got 7 of 10 correct. Good enough, I think, since we only spent one night practicing.

I'm going to try the "game" again this week, but will try to play at spelling a little each day instead of cramming the night before the test.

In addition to Upwords (do they even sell that game anymore?), this would work with any type of spelling game, such as Scrabble or Boggle. Santa will be bringing the new Scrabble Flash game this year, which can be played with others or solo. It will also be a big spelling helper, I think.


slugmama said...

That was a great idea!
We adore Boggle here and I think playing it with the kids thru the years has made them much better spellers. Heck, #2 son was a finalist in his grade school's National Spelling Bee one yr. so playing word games with kids MUST be a help. ;-)

You rock...

A.Marie said...

Hey There! I have never heard of that game but it sounds like it would be fun as well as educational! :)

McVal said...

That is brilliant! When my son was in elementary school and doing poorly at spelling, we gave him some incentives and a goal too. For every 100% (started at 75%) test he did in spelling, we took him to a movie that weekend. After that, he was getting them ALL right... We switched to the dollar theater real quick.

Lisa B. said...

We have upwords, scrabble and boggle. I love word games. ;)

Boy wonder is really having to study extra this year for spelling tests. I've found for him, just the old fashioned way of writing the words 5-10 times helps him a lot.

Melynda said...

Games have always been the "home schooling" way, before home schooling! I found this game at a thrift store for fifty cents. I love spelling games, and the granddaughter will have fun playing this one with me.

Annie Jones said...

Sluggy: Did you ever play Boggle (or maybe Scrabble) Word Cubes, the one with whole words on them instead of letters? There weren't any dirty words in the bunch, but somehow every sentence came out sounding naughty anyway. Or maybe it had more to do with the players. Hmm...

A.Marie: I am not sure if they are still making it or not. I think it's more fun than regular Scrabble.

McVal: I think today's equivalent might be a Redbox rental. :)

Lisa B: You (and hopefully others) will be interested in this: as a result of this post, I was contacted about reviewing a computer program to help kids with spelling. And then, giving one away to a reader! I'm going to try to install and review it this week and post the giveaway shortly thereafter.

Melynda: 50¢ is a great bargain for this game!