Ways to Practice Spelling
by Michele McCoy
From the Four Blocks/Building Blocks Mailrings
|1. Paint with water -
Dip a Q-tip in water and practice spelling the words on a chalkboard.
The words will disappear like magic,
leaving the chalkboard clean!
2. Shaving Cream Practice - An
easy way to clean those dirty work tables
clean is to let the children finger
paint on the table tops.
Have the students practice their spelling
in the shaving cream.
3. Scratch n' Sniff
- Use a new sensation to teach the alphabet or spelling words.
Write letters with glue on paper, then
sprinkle with Jell-O.
Makes a super scratch n' Sniff when
tracing over the letters.
Machine Tape Spelling - Students get tired of writing
their spelling words the same way every time.
Try having the students practice their words on
adding machine tape.
5. Fishing for
Words - On 3" x 5" cards print the students spelling
words, fold in half, and fasten each with a
Place the cards in a large fish bowl. Using a toy
fishing pole or a long stick, place a magnet on the string.
The students go fishing for a spelling word to
6. Finger Paint
Bags - Freezer strength zip lock bags and fingerprint make
great writing slates.
Place a dab of finger paint (tempera paint can
work, although, not as well.
Hey, look! A use for all that semi-dried up
paint!) in the zip-lock bag, tape the bag closed for extra strength.
The student then lays the bag flat on the table
and writes the word on the bag with a finger.
The word will disappear like magic.
7. Record a Word
- Have students use a tape recorder to practice their spelling words.
8. Disappearing Act -
Help your students perform a real disappearing act.
Children write their spelling words with chalk on
black construction paper.
Then you can spray and watch their words disappear
9. Flannel Board Practice
- Students use a flannel board and flannel board letters to practice
their spelling words
Spelling - Place the wooden letter squares from an old
Scrabble game on the Scrabble rail.
Students can use the squares to spell the weekly
words or to write a sentence of words. Incorporate
math practice by having them add the
printed on the squares to find the week's "most
11. Word Cubes
- Write letters on small wooden blocks and have the students arrange
them and to spell their
Magic - Try a little magic to teach spelling words!
Have students write words on
white construction paper with white crayon.
Then have them paint over
the paper with watered down tempera paint or watercolors.
Words appear like magic!
13. Partner Word Step
- On large piece of butcher paper print the letters of the alphabet.
Have two partners pair up together to
play this game.
Have one student read the word aloud.
The other child must step on the
letters to spell the word.
14. Read and Grow
- Encourage flash card practice with this growing flower.
Cut a large, colored, construction
paper flower with a yellow circle glued to its center.
Use an X-acto knife to make two
parallel slits in the center of the flower.
Cut green tag board strips the width
of the slits, and insert the strip though the flower from the back.
Write the spelling words on the stem
for the children to practice.
15. Egg Spellers
- The teacher writes the weekly spelling words on small pieces of paper
and places them
inside plastic eggs.
(Now you know what to do with all
those plastic Easter eggs after your kids are bored with them.)
Students pick the eggs from an Easter
The students then must write that
16. Spelling Keys
- The teacher writes the words for the week on construction paper keys.
The keys are placed on a
shower curtain ring.
The students can use keys as
flash cards to help them practice the weekly spelling words.
On Friday, after the
spelling test they can tear off the keys that they learned to spell.
The words that they missed
remain on the ring, this allows the student to continue to practice the
they need help on.
If the student can spell
these words on the review test they may then tear off the keys to take
17. Take the
Pepsi Challenge - For a motivational technique, "Take the
Each student has a Pepsi
When Friday's spelling test
is returned, he writes words he misses on a card and places it in his
When we have our review
test, students are re-tested on the same words.
Anyone who has a perfect
score on all the unit tests and keeps his cup empty wins a Pepsi!
Give a Pepsi also for
perfect scores on review tests.
Puzzles - Write the spelling words on different colors of
Cut the words apart in a
variety of ways.
The students then put the
puzzle back together to form the spelling words.
19. Q-Tip Eraser
- Write the spelling words on the chalkboard.
The students then erase the
words by tracing over them again and again with a Q-tip until the words
20. Block Puzzles
- The teacher strings together wooden block beads.
Write the spelling words on the top of
the cubes, fill in the other sides with other letters.
Attach a tag to the end of the string
of blocks and write the spelling words on it.
The student turns the blocks to
reproduce the spelling word.
Bingo - The teacher gives a blank bingo card for a fun
activity to take the place of your
As the teacher reads each
word, students write it in a space of their choice.
After giving all the words,
I call words randomly until someone calls, "BINGO!"
The winner must say the
correctly spelled words that gave him the win.
22. Spelling Dice
- The teacher writes the weekly spelling words on dice made from
inverted milk cartons.
The student rolls the dice
and whatever the dice lands on they write 5 times.
23. Musical Words
- A word skill game that is played like musical chairs.
The teacher places the spelling words
on small pieces of paper in a large box or bag.
The children sit in a circle, and
start passing the box around while music plays.
Whoever has the container when the
music stops must pick out the paper and read the word.
If he can't, he is out.
Continue to play until there is only
one person left.
Show Off - The teacher makes a transparency of regular
The students practice
writing their spelling words on the
The students then show off
their work on the overhead projector for all to see.
Chalkboards - Have the students practice writing their
spelling words on small chalkboards.
They love it!
26. Tissue Paper Tracing
- The teacher writes the weekly spelling words on a large piece of
The students then place
tissue paper over the words and trace over them with crayon.
27. Wooden Flash
cards - Try using pieces of wood as flash cards.
The students enjoy the
Paper Chalkboards - The teacher needs to make 5" x 7"
cardboard pieces, cover half the
cardboard with the special chalkboard
(You can also do this with
Then write the spelling word
on the other half.
The students look at the
word and then copy it on the chalkboard side.
Cookie Sheet - The teacher arranges assorted magnet
letters on a cookie sheet.
Students use the letters to
form the weekly spelling words.
Posters - The teacher makes a transparency of the weekly
The list is then shown on
A piece of butcher paper is
taped to the wall.
The student then traces the
spelling words onto the butcher paper.
31. Hold It -
Young children often find it difficult to hold a handful of cards while
playing "Go Fish!"
These card holders are
really simple to make and really do the job!
Place two plastic lids (Cool
Whip lids work great!), flat sides together.
Place a button in the center
on each side, and sew the entire unit together with strong string or
Children slip cards between
the two lids and hold the card holder.
The game is played just like
"Go Fish!" by using a pair of cards for each spelling word.
Fun - Have the students write their spelling words ten
times each on the typewriter.
(Or try it on your classroom
If you're brave you can use
your graphics software! Kid Pix is perfect for this.)
33. Paint Your
Words - Have the students use small paint brushes to paint
their words 5 times each.
34. Soft Flash
cards - Use wall paper scraps to make unusual flash cards
to practice the words.
35. Carbon Paper
Practice - Have the students use carbon paper (yes,
remember that stuff?) to help them
write their words.
I got some old NCR scraps
from a printer that worked great and was a lot less messy.
The best part: it was free!
36. Close pin
Spelling - The teacher cuts out articles of clothing, from
The spelling words are then
written on the articles of clothing.
The students then reproduce
the spelling words by hanging them on the clothes line with clothespins
have the letters written on them.
37. Salt Box
Spelling - The teacher pours salt in the lid of a box
The student then practices
the words in the salt.
Spelling - Students use cereal to reproduce their spelling
words. Don't forget to have a snack with
the words you make.
Practice - Try using instant pudding as a finger paint to
practice spelling words.
40. Palm Reading
- Motivate your students with palm reading.
Write a spelling word with
watercolor marker, (you might want to make sure that this is all right
parents first.) on the palm of each student.
Have the students try to
spell each other's words.
The students can check their
spelling by reading each other's palms.
41. Pyramid Power
- Give your students a weekly spelling assignment with a different
Have students write their
words in order of difficulty.
They write their easiest
word once at the top of the paper near the middle, the next easiest
twice, and so on.
Students will have a pyramid shape when
they are finished.
Slates - Portable slates make a great spelling game.
Plastic coffee can lids and
1 pound margarine tub lids are used as slates.
The teacher calls out a
spelling word and the students write answers with crayons, hold up
their slates to be
checked, then wipe them off
43. Sandy Words
- Have students write their spelling words in glue, sprinkle sand over
The students then trace over
the words with their fingers for practice.
They make terrific flash
44. Rainbow Words
- Have the students practice words with felt pens, alternate colors for
a rainbow look.
45. Put It In Print
- Have the students cut out the letters from a newspaper to spell the
weekly spelling words.
46. Round About
Flash Cards - Have students decorate a paper pate.
Cut a slice out of the paper
plate so it looks like a slice of pie cut out of the plate.
Brad around piece of paper
to the back.
Then write the weekly spelling
words in the window.
The students turn the wheel
and practice saying the word.
47. Spell It
With Beans - The students use lima beans to spell the
weekly spelling words.
The students can also glue
the beans in place for a 3-D flash card.
Squares - Students practice their words on graphing paper.
The students use 1 box for
Have the students figure out
which spelling word is in the shortest, longest, etc.
Chains - Rainbow chains are a great way of keeping track
of the words a student knows.
The student writes the words
he successfully spelled on Friday's final test on a construction paper
The children love to see
their chains grow!
Practice -Students write their words on sheets of
The students can really feel
51. Pipe Cleaners
- Children use these to form their spelling words.
- Same as above.
53. Word Search -
They can pick 10 of their stumper (high frequency) words to make up a
Collage - They
design a collage using all of their words using markers, colored
56. Design a Word
- They pick one word and bubble letter it and design it.
Letters - They find the letters in a magazine and glue
them onto construction paper.
- Paint their words.
- I have cookie cutters that are letters of the alphabet.
The kids also like to form
the dough itself into letters.
Letters - I bought at a dollar store.
61. Twist-Tie Spelling
- Use the twist-ties from the store to form letters to spell the words.