Improve Spelling Skills

Looking for a way to increase your child’s spelling ability and improve spelling scores?  Here is a simple strategy used in Syllable Savvy that can be used for all students: average spellers, or those above or below average.

This method can be used to imprint the correct spelling of a particularly troublesome word.  Or it can be used with your students’ entire spelling list.

Here’s how it works

First, take a paper and fold it in thirds the long way, making three columns.

In the first column (left) write the spelling word the way it sounds. You can go all out and learn all the dictionary phonetic markings, or make it simple.  The idea is that students will see the word written the way they hear it.

In the middle column, write the word the way it is normally written.

Finally, in the third (right) column, write the word in syllables.  At the end of each syllable, write the number of letters in that syllable. I usually write that as a superscript. It can also be written above the syllable.

Here is an example:

  • 1st column:  ug nol ij mint
  • 2nd column:  acknowledgment
  • 3rd column:  ac-2   know-4  ledg-4  ment-4

Here’s how the student will study the words:

  1. Fold the worksheet so only the first column is seen.  The student writes the word on a seperate sheet of paper.
  2. The student then unfolds the worksheet and self-corrects the word.  They write the number of letters they correctly wrote for each syllable.  If the entire word is correct, they place a star on the line.<br>

Why this method works

This method improves spelling scores by focusing the students’ attention on each letter.  Studying the syllables reinforces common spelling patterns.  In a word like “acknowledgment” the student might incorrectly write “acknowledgement” day after day and not notice their error.  They then get it wrong on the spelling test, after studying it incorrectly all along.

Why do we have the three columns?  The phonetic column allows the student to work independently.  A second person is not needed to read the list to them in order for them to practice their words without seeing them simultaneously.  There are other effective methods for helping the student to study the words independently.

This is the Syllable Savvy Spelling strategy. Watch spelling scores improve as complex and difficult words are mastered with this simple strategy.


For more ideas on how to use the Syllable Savvy Spelling method, visit Kid Friendly Homeschool Curriculum.

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