Let’s talk about the Fine Art of Spelling



As a former First Grade teacher for more than 14 years, it’s safe to say I have quite the experience with children and their spelling difficulties and frankly, while I will tell you that building a solid foundation for student success in spelling can be an uphill task, it is not exactly a “no-brainer”.

 Here is a little something I created at a parent’s request. Spelling Patterns are not always easily identified in words.  This is especially true if you are not teaching these specific skills every day.  So, I frequently have parents ask for something to help them identify spelling patterns in words in order to help guide their child to use their spelling/reading strategies when working with them at home.

Take a peek at these super cute posters



Now, let’s talk spelling…


Language according to Wikipedia is the ability to acquire and use complex systems of communication, particularly the human ability to do so, and language is any specific example of such a system.

Each language, irrespective of how seemingly complex, has a pattern. The art of spelling in all languages is built around the patterns of each language…at least it should be.

Spelling in recent times has become a more of a memorization of letters for students. More troubling is the fact that instead of actually decoding words, students simply memorize these words and this usually results in difficulties when they encounter uncommon words. This act of memorizing can be quite a challenge for those students who learn differently, and for their parents and teachers,  too.

Over the years, words have had their meanings designed and redesigned throughout history. Take a look at this article by The Dyslexia Training Institute on Orthography ~ the way in which the words of a language are spelled,  which gives a helpful explanation of the history of words ~ etymology.  Also, check out www.etymonline.com  to find more explanations of what our words mean and how they sounded throughout history.

Learning and understanding the history of a word opens up the opportunity to give students or your own child a rich foundation for understanding how & why words are designed ~ this leads to understanding how a word is spelled and by extension, how a word is rightly pronounced.  Understanding the word origin of a word helps shape the way we say the word.  For example, the word “Sachet” could be mispronounced by some just as it is spelled, but understanding that “Sachet” has a French origin will help students understand why the “ch” will make the “sh” sound in this word.  Also, words that begin with “wr” typically will have refer to “twisting”, as in the words: wring, wrist, & wrap. Understanding word origin gives students the opportunity to make a connection with words and their meanings, which will lead to improved vocabulary understanding, thus improved reading & writing skills.  The history of words cannot be underestimated.

Here are some mini-lessons & activities that I use to help my dyslexic students approach spelling words more successfully.  You can experience the same progress I have made with my students by using these same strategies daily.

First, we take a fresh look our spelling words…

spelling patterns pic

… and we discover the pattern(s) in the words.  I’ve mixed some patterns in the words above for the purpose of this post; however, weekly spelling lists should focus on one, maybe two patterns.

to discover the patterns in the word “stay” we:

~unblend the sounds


~Then I give students some time to discover there are 3 sounds & 4 letters in the word ‘stay’

~ we connect the sounds to the letters in the word

sound letter connection

~now we can see what patterns are spelling what sounds in each word.  In the word ‘stay’  we find the ay pattern spells the final long ‘a’ sound.

Here are the un-blended words and sound-letter connections for the other words listed above:

all words unblending

The Sound Pattern Posters were designed to help with this strategy.

We also use these Application Pages to apply focus on sound/pattern strategies:

Take a peek at all the newly updated editable pages here:

Each application page focuses on a pattern: -ck, -tch, etc.

…or spelling rule: k or c in initial/medial position, for example.

A Teacher Guide is included with each application page, which allows each of the Application Pages to serve as a small or whole group mini-lesson.

As my students are learning to apply these important spelling strategies, I have these posters hanging in my classroom as a visual reminder of “What Do Good Spellers Do?”

What do Good Spellers Do

These helpful posters

identify step by step

the process I explained today for successful spelling.

Hanging these posters adds the important VISUAL learning modality for your students in becoming a good speller.

Feel free to share this post with friends or family that may benefit from these helpful resources and info.

 Please leave your comments below. As always, I enjoy reading your comments and feedback on what struggles you are seeing with your students & what strategies you are using to help.

Have a great week!!

File_000 (2)



  1. Pingback: Spelling Really IS Scientific!! | Turning Around Dyslexia

  2. YES! I LOVE the posters! My kindergartner can use this to visualize his spelling tests now! Thanks!

  3. Super cute printables. I bet you’ll make some teachers and homeschool mommas happy with all the hard work you put into them.

Comments are closed.