Spelling difficulty for my 6yr old child

21 replies, Page 1

m 2009-09-14 12:25:56


Hi, my daughte is 6 yrs old. She is in 1st std. She finds it difficult to learn spellings.But she is comfortable with orals and mathematics. How can i help her with spelling learning. Please suggest.

aanchal 2009-09-14 16:51:47


u can start teaching her the concept of alphabet-sound association (phonetics). the best way to start is with sandpaper-letters, where the child traces on the letters, the adult says the letter, child repeats it, adult makes the sound of the letter, child repeats it.(refrain from vowels in the beginning as the vowels have too many sounds and can confuse a child who has just begun)

the next step is to teach CVC words(consonant-vowel-consonant)like cat, bat, man, gun. these words focus on the sounds and are mostly day-to-day words.

third step should be to make a list of 1alphabet : 4 familar words(with pictures). so for each alphabet you will have 4 words that start from it. words should be familar to the child. here we do not focus on learning spellings, but on the idea that many words can start from the same letter...focus=sound

u should then teach her blends(br, bl, st etc), clusters (str, spr, thr etc) and the many words that start from them. (bl: blow, blink, blast, blue) focus more on the sounds of the joint letters..the next step would be units..example, -ake and the words that end with ake, like lake cake, sake rake.

then teach her long sounds, short sounds, soft sounds, hard sounds through plenty of examples.

going like this is exactly how spelling remediation is done..it should help.


sowmsya 2009-09-15 08:52:59


Aanchal has given  a comprehesive programme, great! Thats a great place to start...

does your daughter like to write?...

teaching the children to learn spellings and then write it correctly are 2 skills...

If  it is to learn to spell...then you can make the learning part fun....make little sing song patterns that she can learn and memorise....it works for my daughter...

like ..adding a  tune to 'bear'..etc...

while getting them to write the spelling correctly is a motor skill...and if she has difficulty in this, she will need some motor activities....



mango_mama 2009-09-15 09:00:34


Aanchal and Sowmya have hit the phonics bit so well. I agree. Phonics is very important base.

Once you have the phonics thing going, there are some cool books on spellings that kids find fun to do. They show pictures and you have to spell the words. They give some letters and you have to fill in the rest. There are some workbooks that you can use whiteboard markers and erase and this way keep them for the next child as well. ;-)

Look for websites that have spellings for first graders. They might find them fun.

Also, once they have the phonics base, the change will be very fast.

Good luck!



m 2009-09-15 10:14:52


Thank u so much for your suggestions




JC 2009-10-23 18:31:53


 Reading will help her improve spellings too as they look a words over and gain. Also give her group/family words like 'ieve', 'ami','ade'. Start with rhyming words that will give a nice start and good flow of learning. Then give random word dictation.

She is in 1st grade, and its too early for kids to do excellent in spelling. They have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to studies. Spelling might not be her strength.

Also pay attention to the way she speaks as kids start to spell accordingly. My son some times skips ending sound in speech and we are very aware of it so when it comes to spelling guess what part of the word is spelled wrong. This is rare and for few words only, even though he does good in spelling tests his class work can miss couple of ending letters.

Other things can influence spelling skill. Hope you find this info. useful.


m 2009-10-26 12:13:31


Thank u so much


NandaKishore 2009-10-26 15:29:47


Excellent suggestions from all. Aanchal, why not write a blog on this topic.


aanchal 2009-10-26 16:59:18


hi nandakishore,

thanks for the nice suggestion..i will surely work on it,,it has been there on my mind for a long time but have been too preoccupied to do anything about it..but since i am not practising these days, i have a lot of time on my hand..yr suggestion encouraged a lot..thanks again..


Ann10 2010-06-30 18:00:44


Is it good to send a child for phonetic classes, I think they would get exposed to correct pronunciation.

I stay in Thane (central mumbai)



iamchetana 2010-06-30 21:56:20


Hi I am a special educator and work with children who have deficits in reading, writing and spelling. More often that not I see that only a phonics instruction gets children to read very well but the spellings do not fall in place after a certain time unless yu teach the entire range of phonics. I sugest that paralelly you pursue a Sight word program as well. You can use Dolch Words Lists from the internet, Dolch word stories from the Lady bird series.. many are available ont he internet also. These will help the child gain control over a lot of her reading and spelling.

However I suggest that if the child is maing errors like the fllowing

Complete phonetic spelling,Bizzarre spelling,Mixes up letters etc even after you havve attempted to teach using a spelling program then its better to get the child assessed for pelling difficulties. Many a time perceptual deficits in sequencing may be attributing to the problem and remedials for a few months will help the child cope up.








roses 2010-07-01 03:09:57


Hi M,

It is interesting to note that we get so caught up in our child's education as early as a 6 year old. I recall (and so does my mother) I was pathetic in spellings at that age and only because she wanted me admitted to a very snotty school we stayed up all night working on : Knight and night ...which I am sure was potatoes and potatoes to me :-)!

I can understand why you are keen that she gets them right but I would not stress myself out if she did not. Just to complete my story...I obviously did get admitted depite my awful spellings and hated that school which no longer exits...but moved on to get admission to yet another school of good repute (Loretto).  I was a slacker in my initial years of school , not because I was lazy but because I probably was too little to understand some of the concepts and the ICSE system only compunded the problem. It is only later I began to excel (class 4) onwards and those friends of mine who did so well early in life faded into oblivion fairly early. 

To cut a long story short, in studies I have noticed it is more of a case if 'slow and steady' wins the race rather than excessive pressure and early burn out.

Just some insight that I hope will help.



Gpr 2010-07-01 13:55:55


 gr8 advice gang.. thanks a ton.. all my doubts were cleared in one go!!


Ann10 2010-07-01 18:29:10


It is getting extremely difficult for me to answer my daughter's Qs like why different pronunciation for CAT and CITY.

I feel if I'm unable to anwser her queries slowly she her inquisitiveness will disappear. Her enthusiasm in learning and experience of learning is fun will diminish. Hence I was thinking of coaching her in phonetic so that she can start it right.



aanchal 2010-07-01 19:05:11


it becomes easy to explain the two sounds(called soft and hard sounds) of c, g, ch, th by making a chart. u can make a list of words of her level for each letter and put them into two separate columns. stick the chart near her study table. refer to the columns when there is confusion. she will slowly memorise which sound to use. (draw pictures of the objects too, if possible..it enhances retention)

also, tell the child that there is perhaps no logical explanation for why 's' for city and 'k' for cat. i generally tell kids "english is a very funny language.we need to work hard to understand it!"' while dealing with phonetics. this gives a soothing message to kids that its not their fault that they cant understand the confusing concepts. this takes the blame away from them and gives them enough confidence to put more effort in learning.


Ann10 2010-07-02 15:06:21


You seem to make it really easy for me to work on phonetics with my daughter. Well, have you heard of IPA Memory Techniques they have a course called UK Learning Box it a phonics course for children.

They have a centre in Children's Nook Pre-school in Thane. I had been for the orientation which was really impressive. Ample number of charts, nursery rhymes to relate to the alphabet or word taken in the class session. Also, the course material is also good.

Hence I was thinking of getting her into this course.

Do let me know your views on this.



Gpr 2010-07-02 15:56:19


have no idea what dolch words are. n how do use them in the least possible time and minimum effort.. am not able to devote much time on the CBSC cirriculam itself and any other teaching is so much more difficult.. Plz help


aanchal 2010-07-02 16:28:45


i have not done the course, so i cant say anything..but if u find it good, go for it :)


Sithahari 2010-07-05 22:51:08


I have a daughter who is now 6 years and I also face the same problem - to get her spellings correct. Instead of learning the spellings, I try to pronounce it and get the phonetic so that it is easy for her to identiy and spell out. With some letters, t is confusing like whether to use "C" or "K" which sounds same.  As mentioned in one of the comments above, "English is a funny language and need to work hard to understand it better".  To improve, I encourage her to read story books and big words in the newspaper or while playing in computers encourage her typing words to learn spellings.



Srihamsa 2010-07-06 20:00:09


 A few random thoughts on spellings:


1. Sooner rather than later, we are likely to have mechanisms that can completely take care of this illogical spelling issue of the English language. It might be worth remembering that Microsoft, initially, has simply US and UK English spell-checks. Now the spell-check in MS Word, for instance, includes English (Jamaica) and English (Trinidad), English (Zimbabwe)...such differentiation. Our children will be writing with keyboards or touch-screens or whatever evolves from them and there will be less and less chance of making spelling mistakes. Technology will take care of it.

2. Language is not mastered consciously; a child acquires language skills in only one way – whether inside or outside the classroom. Else, grammar experts would be writing literature. Which is hardly the case.

3. A child is genetically endowed with a language system called UGD (Universal Grammar Device). Language acquisition is the unfolding of this innate system.    4. Language is not just the four skills - LSRW (listening, speaking, reading and writing) - but the inner competence required to perform these four skills. Acquisition becomes smooth when the linguistic experience is real, need-based and meaningful to the child   Focus on what the child thinks about language. Test out with simple questions. Get them to appreciate contextual vocabulary. (why is "she is a PROUD girl" a negative statement but "I am PROUD of you" a positive statement? why does the word PROUD differ in meaning in the two statements? etc).   Above all, learn to appreciate mistakes in spellings! That means their brains are working! Correction is easy, if conformation to a particular spelling is necessary for examination purposes.   Mastering a language is not about phonetics, spellings, etc. It is about finetuning abilities to create discourses - speeches, poems, prose, drama, reports, etc.   I used to teach students for IGCSE (University of Cambridge) exams. They have made it clear that spellings are NOT to be considered in the marking scheme. Spelling mistakes are fine! Am sure it is a matter of time Indian boards will follow, as we normally do.   Take your child beyond stupid grammar rules and spellings. All the best.      



semmi 2012-05-28 23:21:00



its perfect!!!!!!!!!



semmi 2012-05-28 23:21:30


 its perfecr!!11




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