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How to help your child with spelling

Spelling is an important part of the writing process and, as a school, we place a strong emphasis on children developing the skills  and knowledge required to be able to spell correctly. Each year group has a number of words the children are expected to be able to spell. These can be found on the curriculum page.

Writing and spelling

Some children find it hard to remember what they want to write when they also have to think about how to spell the words. Encourage your child to get on with the writing and go back to check the spellings later. Spelling is important but far more important are the ideas your child has. Sometimes it helps to write down the first letters of the word and draw a small line after the letters. Your child can then go back and complete the word later. Computer spell-checks are also useful, but allow your child to keep on writing and correct the spelling later rather than try and sort out each word as they write. There are times when your child knows that a word is not spelt correctly. To show that they recognise that the word does not look correct, they could use a pencil or highlighter pen to mark the words that they want to check.

Learning how to spell words

Below are some ideas that you can explore with your child:

  • Use word families you already know such as night, fight, bright in order to spell light.
  • Notice beginnings and endings around the same word. For example: helper, helpful, unhelpful, helpless, helping are all based on the word ‘help’.
  • Look for words within words such as: cupboard (cup-board), handbag (hand-bag), raspberry (rasp-berry), seaside (sea-side), seashell (sea-shell), football (foot-ball).
  • Say longer words in syllables before you write them: Saturday (sat-ur-day), lemonade (lem-on-ade), hospital (hosp-i-tal), management (man-age-ment),  environment (en-vi-ron-ment).

Choosing words from your own writing

It is important to practise only a few words at a time. Five or six are quite enough, maybe even less. Choose some words from your child’s own writing, then make sure you have the correct spelling. The look-say-cover-write-check strategy is a useful tool to use.


To practise particular words, follow this look-say-cover-write-check strategy:

  • Copy the word from a correct model.
  • Look at it and say it.
  • Cover it up so you can’t see it.
  • Try to write it.
  • Check whether you got it right.
  • If not, look at the correct model again and say the word.
  • Look closely at the ‘tricky’ bits that need more practice. How can you remember them?
  • Cover the word.
  • Write it again.
  • Check.
  • Keep practising until you have spelt the word correctly three times.

When you look at the word and say it, you can also trace over the word with your finger and say the name of each letter as you trace it. This is a  multi-sensory approach: you use your eyes, ears and handwriting to fix the word in your memory.  

Working with a spelling partner

Working with a partner can be very helpful. You can check in pairs whether you have learnt to spell the words. When you think you have learnt them, take turns to dictate the list to each other and check how many are correct.

Keeping a record

It can help motivate your child if they can see the progress they are making with their spelling.  Keep a record of the words being learnt and celebrate when each word is mastered. Don’t forget that to ensure these spellings get rooted in your child’s long term memory, they need to come back to them a few days and weeks later to ensure they are secure. 

A record sheet like the one below might be helpful.

Spelling Record Sheet
Words to learn Practising Learnt Remembered

Why not try some of these spelling games and activities:

Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Responsible Citizens