During my time as a primary school teacher, I distinctly remember being given weekly spelling lists and thinking of the coming challenge that would be to get my pupils to learn their spellings.
After all, every child is unique – and so is their learning style. A strategy that works for one child may not necessarily work for another!
With this in mind, here are 10 super spelling strategies for KS2 that will not only help your pupils to learn their spellings, but most importantly, to feel confident in the classroom.
10 spelling strategies to suit KS2
1. Look, say, cover, write, check
Even if you’ve not used this strategy yourself, you’ve probably heard of it! It’s one of the most common methods that schools use to practise spelling because it’s a multi-sensory approach that involves sight, sound and touch.
Research shows that the more senses a child involves in their learning, the better the outcome!
Let’s have a look at how it works.
- Start with a list of words that you want your child to spell (make sure to give them some easier ones, as well as some that are more challenging – we want them to enjoy spelling, not fear it!)
- Look at the word carefully. Pay attention to not just the letters and their order, but also the shape they make on the page.
- Say it aloud. Say the word as you would normally say it, and then enunciate any silent letters (e.g. ‘Wed-nes-day’).
- Use a piece of paper or your hand to cover the word.
- Using your memory, write the word down!
- Check your answer letter by letter. If you’ve made a mistake don’t worry! Write it out again correctly – you’ll get it next time!
2. Spotting patterns
There are often rules that can help children to learn more challenging spellings, reducing stress when it comes to those tricky words!
For example, a great rule to remember is ‘I before E except after C’.
Hearing the spelling out loud in a sentence can be a useful reminder of how to spell it!
For this technique, a sentence is read out that includes the spelling word; the child has to write down either one specific word or the whole sentence. This is the method used to test spelling knowledge in both the KS1 and KS2 SATs, so it’s well worth using it in the classroom.
Making spelling fun is the best way to learn. Speaking of which, let me introduce you to DoodleSpell!
DoodleSpell is the ultimate personalised learning app that’s revolutionising the way children learn.
Rather than simply teaching children to memorise words, DoodleSpell helps them to understand the meaning of words and teaches fundamental strategies such as chunking, rhyming and patterns, building a solid foundation of understanding for them to develop in school.
What’s more, it’s packed with thousands of interactive, engaging activities and has virtual badges and rewards that can be unlocked, ensuring that spelling practice is always fresh and exciting!
If you don’t believe us, you can try it yourself… for free!
5. Listen and spell
Sometimes just keeping it simple is enough!
Read a word out loud to your child and let them write it down. It may not seem like a particularly exciting technique, but it works super well for children who are auditory learners!
There are two ways to go about it:
- Say the whole word out loud and get your child to write this down
- Spell the word out letter by letter with your child writing down each letter as you say it
You could even let your child record themselves saying a word! They can then play the recording back and write the word down.
Mnemonics or ‘memory aids’ are useful for spellings that can’t be sounded out or don’t follow a spelling rule (we sometimes call these ‘tricky words’).
The most common mnemonics are acrostic ones where you make up a sentence for each letter of the word. Here are a few of our favourite examples:
- ‘Big elephants can’t always use small elevators’ = ‘because’
- ‘Silly ant in dresses’ = ‘said’
Sometimes the physical act of writing a word down can help children with to learn their spellings. After all, it’s not just your brain that remembers things: muscle memory is just as effective!
Try getting your child to write a word down (in their best handwriting of course) on a piece of paper. Then, using tracing paper, ask them to trace the words they’ve written.
This is a terrific tactic for children who are kinaesthetic learners who learn best when doing something practical.
8. Beat the clock
If your child is competitive, what better way to get them excited about learning than challenging them to spell against the clock?
It’s as simple as it sounds. Read out a word (or a few!) and get your child to either spell it aloud or write it down. See how fast they can do it! Then, repeat this activity each day to see if they can beat their time!
9. Word puzzles
Who doesn’t love a game? Crosswords, word searches, anagrams and Hangman are all great ways to make learning spellings a little bit different… and a little bit of fun too!
In DoodleSpell, you can add your own spelling lists into the app to transform them into fun sets of exercises. Plus, it’s filled with thousands of interactive exercises that continually adapt to each child’s level, making it the perfect way to liven up their learning and boost their spelling skills!
10. Line up!
This is a great activity for the classroom, especially if there are any words that the class are struggling to grasp.
- Write a single letter from the word onto individual boards or pieces of paper
- Give each child a board/paper
- Get them to stand in a line
- Say the word and let the class rejiggle the line until they’ve spelt the word correctly!
And there we have it: 10 awesome KS2 spelling strategies that are easy to implement and can be used to boost your pupils’ skills in a fun and engaging way!
If you’re looking for more ways to enhance your pupils’ spelling, be sure to give DoodleSpell a try.
Created by our team of teachers, it’s fully aligned to the curriculum and covers all words outlined by the government standards, making it the perfect way to liven up your spelling tests. Give it a go!