Reading and writing skills are essential for school and they are the first things that your child will work on. They will start off with their phonics which are the sounds letters make, and then gradually progress on to blending and sounding out the words they spell. Writing is a little trickier as spellings vary. There are different rules and sounds letters make when combined. In this post we share tips from one of the best independent schools in Surrey on how you can help your child perfect their writing through the means of their spelling and grammar.
Learn the Rules
It’s fair to say that English isn’t the easiest of languages to learn. There are various rules to remember (some of which contradict one another) which can make spelling difficult for children. There are around 15 phonetics rules to explore which we recommend practising until your child has a firm grasp.
What you can also do is read regularly as it helps children familiarise the spellings of words. As a minimum, children should aim to read for at least 15-20 minutes a day and can read longer if they wish as it’s beneficial for all areas of their development.
Consider the Work They’re Doing at School
There’s a heavy emphasis on spelling at school. Children are given spellings to remember each week so that they can gradually improve. You can help your child by practising together and testing them to ensure that they are fully confident before their weekly spelling tests.
Look, Cover, Write, Check
This is an old technique many will have used to revise before. It essentially involves looking at a spelling, covering it up, writing it out and checking to see it’s been written correctly. It’s a great method for remembering spellings as it lets children be the judge and learn from their mistakes.
Puzzles like sudoku aren’t only for intermediate spellers. Anyone can play. For children not yet confident on their spellings, they can learn new words and their meanings which will help them with their grammar.
If your children are more interested in their video games, why not seek out online spelling games that help them with their SPAG. Thanks to technology there are a plethora of resources online.
Practice makes perfect and the more that they write, the better your child will become. To help, put together a few writing activities that you know they will enjoy. As an example, you can get them to write a letter to their favourite celebrity, youtuber or tv personality.
Encourage Your Child to Have a Go
Writing can be quite intimidating however, especially for children that aren’t yet confident with their spellings. Reassure them that it’s okay if they make mistakes and begin by getting them to write words as they sound. For this they will need to slowly pronounce each word and think of the sounds they hear. There’s not far wrong they can go, but if they do or get stuck, give your child a helping hand and teach them their correct spellings.
Break Words Down
You can also break words up so that they’re easier to read and remember. They can be broken down into prefixes, float words and suffixes.
Also, don’t be afraid to step in to correct your child. Mistakes are how we learn. Take notice of how your child forms their sentences, not only in their writing, but in their verbal communication. Correcting them can help them improve and use good grammar.
The techniques that you take away from this post will depend on how your child learns best, or their learning style as it’s called, which you can look into further by completing a short VARK survey.