Top Tips and Apps to improve spelling
Spelling is not a reflection of a child’s intelligence, but it is an important skill that children need to master in order to progress in their writing, and as their vocabulary broadens. Poor spelling is a barrier for students as it can mean a student’s writing is hard for a teacher or parent to read and it can affect a child’s choice of written words as, rather than choosing more advanced words which reflect their oral ability, they can tend to make more basic word choices that they are more likely to be able to spell accurately. Poor spelling can also be a sign of an learning difficulty like dyslexia.
Spelling is something that needs to be taught and is something that needs to be continually put into practise through real-life written contexts. Whilst apps may not be the answer to a whole school spelling scheme (although some schemes do offer an app component), they offer a super and interactive way to practise spelling words and can offer a great way to supplement spelling at home too.
Here are our top tips for using apps to support your spellers:
1) Make it fun, using games: Apps are very well-placed to provide an interactive spelling experience and are a really fun way to supplement and support spelling lessons in class. Which not try that old spelling favourite – Hangman? With the Spelling Hangman interactive app, it’s easy to play, fun and bang up-to-date!
2) Writing and Reading go Hand-in-Hand: Often time children can ‘learn for the test’ but then forget how to spell the words out of context or not use them in their everyday writing. It’s important that children also have a firm understanding of the meaning of the spelling words that they learn. What use is a word they can spell if they have no idea how to use it to enhance their writing?! Students of all ages find using interactive dictionary apps useful for word definitions. Try the Dictionary.com app with its built-in thesaurus.
3) Mnemonics or memory clues: Many children, for myriad reasons, find it easier to learn spelling with an easily to remember acronym a memorable phrase in which the words with the same acronym as the material. This is a great way to learn tricky, high-frequency words as it’s a way to really embed the word in their memory. My favourite is: Big Elephants Can’t Always Use Small Exits (BECAUSE!). Visual clue apps are another good way to associate an image with a sound or phoneme, like the Zaprendo Sounds English Phonics App, which received one of our highest ever ratings. It’s a great reading app but also cements spelling too, through lovely visuals.
4) Differentiate your Spellings: Some children, even those in higher grades or classes, need to go back to basics when is comes to learning their high frequency words. Jumping ahead too soon, before children have grasped the basic words for their age group, means they could have spelling gaps. Apps which allow for creation of spelling lists, like Squeebles Spelling are really useful here and can help you differentiate for your class or home.
5) Look out for tell-tale signs of Dyslexia: This is an visual and auditory consideration which affects up to 10% of the population. It has no reflection on intelligence; in fact many dyslexics are above average intelligence. Dyslexics typically have poor short-term memory, find it hard to retain or remember even high frequency words and can often reverse letter, numbers and omit vowels. The Nessy Hairy Phonics apps are specifically designed for dyslexic children and help with reading, writing and spelling.