5 Steps to Mastering Spelling Words

Enrichment Therapies

December 19, 2016

5 Steps to Mastering Spelling Words

By Haley Hall, B.A. Learning Specialist & LEAP Instructor

Does your child have difficulty with spelling? Is it a struggle getting your child to practice their weekly spelling words? If so, I have a great strategy to help your child master those difficult words. Here at Enrichment Therapies we often use the strategy of visualizing, or “making a movie in your head,” for several different learning areas. In this post, I’ll teach you how to use the strategy of visualizing with spelling words.

For this example, I’m going to use the word play.

  1. Show the child the word written in lowercase letters and in black ink. This is an important step because it’s how the child will most commonly recognize the word! Tell the child to picture the word in their head. Once they’ve got it, you can take the card away.
  2. Tell the child to use their finger to write the word in the air. They would write p-l-a-y.
  3. Ask the child some questions about the word. For example, “What was the first letter? What comes after the ‘l’? What’s the last letter? What’s the word?” If he/she isn’t able to answer these questions accurately, go back to step 1 and have them picture the word again. Remind them to use the picture in their head of the word to help them answer your questions.
  4. Have the child verbally spell the word backward. They would say, “y-a-l-p.”
  5. Ask your child to write the word forwards on a piece of paper. They would write p-l-a-y.

Use this strategy for any words that your child is having difficulty spelling and I guarantee they’ll have it mastered in no time! For a video example of this strategy, check out my therapy talk here. If you’re looking for a good list of words for your child to learn to spell, check out Fry’s list of the top 1,000 most common words. You can find the list here. I hope this strategy helps make spelling more fun and successful for your family!

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.


740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317



5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131



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